Consent for Medical Information

Many of you will have to provide the University with medical documentation to substantiate a Sick Leave or Long Term Disability (LTD), a Return to Work (RTW), or a workplace accommodation at some point in your career.

The processes around medical leaves and medically substantiated accommodations are handled by the Return to Work and Accommodation Office (part of Human Resources). Currently, Sydney Downey is tasked with managing these for QUFA members. All medical forms and information should be sent directly to her to preserve your privacy. These documents will be filed separately from your Official File and from your general Human Resources file. Each of these files is protected by different kinds of confidentiality and privacy rules. Sydney Downey’s office then provides only as much information as is necessary to inform your unit head or dean about your ability to perform work or that you must be away from work.

A consent form, giving your employer rights to ask for medical information, is a normal part of the process. The form currently used by Queen’s is too general and would likely not stand up to legal scrutiny. I regularly advise Members about how to modify it.

So, for example, consent to release information should be directed to specifics and not generalities. Rather than consenting to “any physician or health professional,” I would provide the actual name(s). Rather than agreeing to a list of potential reasons for the consent, I would cross out the inappropriate reasons and scribble in the appropriate reason(s) if it is not already there. While I would allow discussion amongst the University’s Professional Advisors (Labour & Employee Relations advisors/Faculty Relations advisors, external legal advisors, and/or Occupational Health Consultants), I would not want to allow discussion with insurers or government until and unless I knew that were necessary. I would also stipulate that information be exchanged in writing, and that it either go through me or that I be copied on all correspondence.

If you modify anything on the consent form, crossing out or adding in, do not forget to initial your changes to make sure it is clear that the modifications are yours.

Next Corner I will discuss the sort of medical information the employer is seeking in these sorts of situations.

This is unfamiliar territory that is often difficult to navigate, so please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Ramneek Pooni, Grievance Officer