Ontario to (once again) Ban Employers from Requiring Doctor’s Note for Sick Days

HEL Blog post
Published On: April 29, 2024Categories: Employer Alerts, Ontario

In a blast from the past, the Ford government announced that it has changed its mind and will be re-introducing a ban on employers requiring employees to obtain a doctor’s note to justify sick days off. Ford had canceled a similar rule introduced by the previous Wynne Liberal government back in 2018. The primary reason given is that the volume of patients seeking sick notes from doctors is distracting GPs from more important tasks. This is part of broader discussions in which Canadian governments are seeking to lighten the administrative burden on GPs in a bid to both retain them and attract more new doctors to family practise. But given the fact that many employees have no GP and all Canadians face challenges getting an appointment with their GP, systematically requiring sick notes from doctors has been impractical for many years now.

Details of this change will follow in coming days. The government has announced that the amendments will still allow some options, such as requiring employees to sign a formal certificate of illness, will remain open for employers to verify an employee was truly sick. The amendment will likely only apply to short term temporary illness or injury and not prevent employers from seeking more detailed medical information when accommodating employees who are absent for longer or multiple periods.

We will keep you posted as more details are announced.

If you have any questions or would like any assistance regarding this topic, you can contact us at:

Geoffrey Howard:            ghoward@howardlaw.ca

604 424-9686

Sebastian Chern:              schern@howardlaw.ca

604 424-9688