Edmonton, Alberta

The Westin Edmonton

Thursday, May 4, 2017, 9:00 am - 4:30 pm Hotel information
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Continuing Professional Development

  • CPD for Members of the Law Society of Upper Canada: 6 Substantive Hours; 0 Professionalism Hours.
  • This program has been approved by the Law Society of British Columbia for 6 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • This program has been approved by the Law Society of Saskatchewan for 6 Continuing Professional Development credit hours.
  • This program has been approved by the Law Society of New Brunswick for 5 Continuing Professional Development hours.

Medical reports may contain information that is highly personal and sensitive in nature. As a result, a request for medical information from an employee in the workplace raises a host of privacy and human rights concerns. Nevertheless, employers and unions are often required to handle private employee health information in order to facilitate accommodation, sick leave and/or disability benefits. Hence, when dealing with medical health records, it is crucial for workplace parties to strike an appropriate balance between obtaining the requisite medical information and respecting employee privacy.

Working through interactive exercises and realistic scenarios with the guidance of experienced counsel and medical experts, participants will gain the skills and knowledge to:

  • Craft effective requests for medical information that comply with human rights and privacy law
  • Understand health records and respond appropriately to vague or deficient medical reports
  • Identify when medical information from a specialist, psychologist or psychiatrist is required for the purposes of sick leave, accommodation or disability benefits
  • Comply with federal and provincial privacy legislation and protect confidential medical information in the workplace
  • Avoid wasted time litigating over the collection, storage and disclosure of medical information
  • Use medical evidence effectively in the grievance and arbitration process


Kelly Williams-Whitt

Arbitrator/Mediator and Associate Professor, Faculty of Management
University of Lethbridge
Karen Scott

Union Counsel
Seveny Scott
Dr. Keith McNicol

Medical Consultant, Workplace Health & Safety Services North and Edmonton Zones
Alberta Health Services
Anna Maria Moscardelli

Employer Counsel
Neuman Thompson


8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.


9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.


9:15 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

 PART 1:  Overview of the Relevant Legislation

  • Federal and provincial protection of employee health information
  • Provincial workers compensation legislation regarding employee medical information

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

 PART 2:  Table Group Discussion of Scenario 1

10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

 REVIEW AND DISCUSSION  Scenario 1 – Requesting Necessary Medical Information

  • What is the scope of medical information that an employer may require for short and long term absences from the workplace?
  • Requesting medical information necessary to facilitate accommodation in the workplace
  • Seeking medical information from employees about psychiatric or psychological disabilities
  • Requiring medical certification of fitness for work

10:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.


11:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

 PART 3:  Table Group Discussion of Scenario 2

11:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

 REVIEW AND DISCUSSION  Scenario 2 – Asking the Right Questions and Understanding Health Records

  • What is the most effective way for unions and employers to request information from physicians?
  • Identifying the types of questions that are most likely to prompt physicians to provide useful information for workplace parties
  • Considering whether standardized forms are an effective means of requesting medical information and what questions are appropriate to include in a standardized request form
  • Responding to vague doctors' notes
  • Tips and strategies for dealing with conflicting medical evidence and opinion

11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

 PART 4:  Table Group Discussion of Scenario 3

12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.


1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

 REVIEW AND DISCUSSION  Scenario 3 – Consulting with Health Professionals and Specialists

  • When do you need information from a specialist?
  • What guidelines and/or professional rules must physicians follow in providing information?
  • Requesting an independent medical examination

2:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

 PART 5:  Table Group Discussion of Scenario 4

2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.


2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

 REVIEW AND DISCUSSION  Scenario 4 – Handling Employee Medical Information and Protecting Privacy

  • Which company personnel are entitled to access?
  • Review of legal obligations for employers and unions when handling employee medical information
  • Tips and best practices for protecting confidential medical information in the workplace
  • Understanding when an employee or other affected party has the right to view medical information in the possession of an employer, insurer or union
  • Appreciating the rules limiting disclosure of medical information to third-parties
  • Review of damage awards for improper disclosure of medical information
  • Are employer's free to share the employee's information with the employee's union to facilitate accommodation?
  • What should employers to do protect confidentiality of the information in their possession?

3:15 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

 PART 6:  Using Medical Evidence at Arbitration

  • Characteristics of persuasive medical evidence at arbitration
  • What information must OHS/grievor/union disclose during arbitration?
  • When must a physician attend an arbitration hearing and who bears the cost?
  • When will an arbitrator order a grievor to submit to an independent medical exam?

4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

 CONCLUSION:  Final Remarks & Questions