In 2013, 243 workers died of workplace injuries and occupational diseases in Ontario.Tens of thousands more are injured yearly on the job.Employers may not know the extent to which they have similarly legally entrenched obligations when it comes to accommodating an employee’s RTW for a non-work related medical condition or injury.Ignorance of the condition (don’t ask don’t tell) does not relieve the employer of their duty to accommodate any disabilities covered under protected grounds by the Ontario Human Rights Code, which is quite broad in its description of mental and physical disabilities: What is disability? Accommodation of mental illness Similarly the new voluntary standard: the “Psychological health and safety in the workplace – Prevention, promotion, and guidance to staged implementation” expands employer obligations for risk assessments and accommodations regarding mental health issues such as depression.For an excellent overview of RTW employer obligations, see the First Reference Post A new return-to-work approach: WSIB work reintegration policies.
The article set out below is a summary of information presented by Professor Lynk at his presentation given to the Public Service Alliance of Canada in September, 1999.
So your employee is off work again for the third time this year, you have no idea when they are coming back and their physician’s note is a vague cipher.
It is not a work injury, so you know you don’t have to worry about WSIB, but it is a staffing issue for your organization and a serious concern. WSIB return to work obligations vs the Ontario Human Rights Code duty to accommodate Employers know that they have an obligation to participate in Early and Safe Return to Work (RTW) process with all work-related claims and are obligated to re-employ an injured employee to the pre-injury job, or to the pre-injury job with accommodation and failing that to provide other suitable employment options, also with accommodation as needed.
Do any of your employees also work for another company?
If so, things could get complicated if your worker is ever involved in a workplace accident.
The footnotes from Professor Lynk's article have been removed from this publication. The Employer's Duty to Accommodate The essence of the duty is simple to state: Employers in Canada are required to make every reasonable effort, short of an undue hardship, to find an accommodation for an employee with a disability.