Contact with employee on medical leave

Don't rely too much on third-party insurer
By Meghan McCreary
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 07/06/2016

Question: If an employer has a third-party provider of short and long-term disability benefits, does it have any legal obligations or right to contact the employee once the employee is on leave, or should everything go through the third-party insurer?

Answer: Just because an employee is on a medical leave and receiving disability benefits does not mean that the employer is barred from contacting the employee or has no obligations in respect of the employee. On the contrary, the duty to accommodate an employee continues to exist while an employee is on medical leave, even if the employee is receiving disability benefits from an outside insurer. As a result, in order to meet its duty to accommodate, an employer may need to contact an employee who is on leave in order to obtain information respecting the employee's ability to return to work and any accommodations that are reasonably possible.