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We spoke to Stephen Shore, partner at Ogletree Deakins International, LLP, who explained to us the nuances of asking for a doctor’s note – and why the recent legal changes have changed the current system.

“This is a big conundrum for employers now, in light of Ontario’s Bill 148 changes, which prohibit an employer from asking for a doctor’s note in particular reference to personal emergency leave.

“The new provisions of the Employment Standards Act allow an employee to exercise his or her right to take personal emergency leave – for which an employer cannot ask for a doctor’s note. The statute says that an employer can ask for evidence reasonable in the circumstance to support the personal emergency leave claim, but in circumstances where the employee is sick they are prohibited from asking for the only piece of reasonable evidence of that illness.

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“This, however, does not prohibit an employer from asking for doctors’ notes from employees in other circumstances, particularly to comply with their obligations under the Human Rights Code. So, if there is a reason for which an employer requires medical information about an employee, in order to consider accommodation decisions, it is still permissible and indeed even required that an employer seek out this information.”
Source: hrmonline.ca

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