It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has turned our world upside-down.
If you are experiencing issues balancing work and family care obligations, or if stress, timing, or other factors associated with overtime demands are significantly impacting your mental or physical health, it may be necessary to request flexibility from your Employer or a more formal accommodation.
The Ontario Human Rights Code gives you the right to be accommodated at work, short of undue hardship to your Employer, based on your Code-protected needs. It would be inequitable for your Employer to exclude you because of any differences you have from most of your colleagues.
And not only is AMAPCEO is committed to ensuring that every workplace is equitable for all, the union can provide you with individual assistance in seeking an accommodation from your Employer that allows you to be treated fairly at work.
This assistance is an important advantage of being a unionized professional.
How to request a workplace accommodation related to disability
We recommend you seek the assistance of an AMAPCEO Workplace Representative. Their guidance will be helpful with your request.
Request written documentation from a qualified medical practitioner. This description should include your limitations and restrictions in performing the essential duties of your job, but not the specific diagnosis of your disability.
Submit this documentation to your manager.
Your manager or an Employer representative will ask you to consent for the disclosure of confidential health information. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, you have a right to withhold your consent; however, your manager may not have enough information to provide you with a workplace accommodation.
Once you have requested an accommodation, your manager will give you a Request for Employee Health Information Form/Questionnaire (HIF/HIQ). This form is designed to help your manager understand your work restrictions and limitations and establishes the foundation of your request. We recommend asking your Workplace Representative for help with this.
Ask your doctor to complete the HIF/HIQ and return the forms to you. As a rule, your doctor and your Employer should never interact directly.
Submit your completed HIF/HIQ to the Disability Accommodation Specialist indicated.
Meet with your manager, who will also likely bring along a Disability Accommodation Specialist. Together, you will jointly develop a workplace accommodation agreement. The final agreement may not be exactly what you were seeking, but it should accommodate your disability-related restrictions and limitations. You have the right to have a Workplace Representative join you for any meeting with your manager related to a workplace accommodation.
Payments for medical certificates, forms, and questionnaires
Some medical practitioners will charge a fee to complete a medical certificate, form, or questionnaire. These fees should be paid by your Employer as they require this information.
Typically, a doctor’s office can directly invoice your Employer for these costs; however, you may need to pay the fee at your doctor’s office and then submit a request to be reimbursed to your manager.
Returning to work after time off due to illness or injury
If you have taken time off work due to illness or injury (most likely under the Short-Term Sickness Plan or the Long-Term Income Protection Plan), your medical practitioner may recommend a gradual return to work based on your medical needs, the severity of your condition, and the complexity of your work.
This is to ease yourself back into working while preventing further illness or injury.
This process is similar to developing a workplace accommodation agreement for a disability with your manager. Please seek the assistance of an AMAPCEO Workplace Representative.
Workplace Representatives are trained union members who have volunteered to confidentially assist members like you in the workplace. They should be your first point of contact in seeking information and representation with an issue at work.
Your Workplace Representative may ask you to use the union’s secure web-based system, RADAR, to provide details about your situation. RADAR will help you and your Workplace Representative keep track of things without the privacy concerns that could come from using the Employer’s email system.