Patient requests for work accommodations: information for providers

September 09, 2020

Shared by the OCFP

Updated September 9, 2020

A patient is asking for a work accommodation. What do I do? 

Information from government sources is very general in terms of who’s high risk for severe illness from COVID, so we have tried to pull together advice from various specialty groups to help you. As a family doctor, you will use your clinical judgement and knowledge of your patient in the advice you give as it relates to any potential requirements for that individual to be exempt from being at work in person, or to work remotely. 

**Please note** It is not up to you as a family doctor to determine the necessary accommodation. It is up to the employer based on the Human Rights Code to make the accommodation for their employee. 

The recommendations that follow are unavoidably based on expert opinion and extrapolation from the morbidity and mortality data we have thus far from the COVID epidemic. 

In general, writing doctor’s notes: 
As referenced above, your role in these circumstances is to provide information in support of a third-party process (e.g., work accommodation form), not to determine the outcome of the process (CPSO). In short, accommodation is the responsibility of the employer. 

There are conditions with high enough risk of severe COVID to warrant workplace accommodation, beyond routine precautions (mask wearing, physical distancing, hand washing). 

Summary statements from various medical societies which have reviewed the evidence are noted in the complete memo document below.

This Memo addresses:

  • Patient request for “off work” notes or workplace accommodations;
    • In general, writing doctor’s notes
    • Summary statements from medical societies for evidence
      • Pregnancy
      • Asthma
      • COPD
      • Diabetes
      • Cardiovascular disease
      • Cancer
      • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
      • Patients on immunosuppressants

Click here for the complete memo document on patient requests for work accommodations (PDF)


Return to: COVID-19 Resources: Providing Comprehensive Care during COVID-19