To provide employees of the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) who incur a personal or work-related illness or injury the support and assistance to return to suitable employmentTo ensure early and active management of each case
Applies to all CSC employees
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Assistant Commissioner, Human Resource Management, in consultation with the Regional Deputy Commissioners, will:
ensure the development of the policy and accountability framework surrounding injury and illness
provide for national direction of CSC's Return to Work (RTW) Program
provide for expert advice regarding workers' compensation claims.
The Regional Deputy Commissioner will support and administer the RTW Program in his/her region.
promote and inform employees about CSC's RTW Program
engage in timely return to work planning by:
actively identifying and reviewing reasonable return to work/accommodation solutions to assist the employee in a safe and suitable return to productive employment
if no suitable modified work can be found, actively reviewing and searching for reasonable opportunities as appropriate to assist the employee in returning to work in their job or a job suited to his/her functional limitations
regularly reviewing the progress of each employee in the RTW Program
maintain regular appropriate contact with employees who are absent from work, to coordinate their return to work
familiarize themselves and adhere to applicable federal legislation and Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat policies and directives.
The injured or ill employee will:
be an active participant in all medical and vocational rehabilitation activities designed to facilitate return to employment
cooperate with the treating agencies and the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) or relevant disability insurance carrier, as well as with the supervisor, to discuss one's return to work
promptly provide necessary medical documentation to support absence from work and/or to clarify relevant limitations or restrictions needed for return to work planning
make return to work/accommodation needs known and actively participate in discussions for the identification of suitable modified work
maintain regular contact with his/her supervisor throughout the recovery process and during the development and implementation of the return to work plan.
The National Advisor, OHS and RTW Programs (RTW stream), will:
develop, implement and maintain standard procedures and related guidelines for the RTW Program
manage the Regional OHS and RTW Advisors (RTW stream) to ensure the requirements of the Program (i.e. training, monitoring, advice and program development) are met
provide advice and guidance to Regional OHS and RTW Advisors (RTW stream) regarding complex cases
consult with central agencies, insurers, federal/provincial regulatory bodies and other levels of government on various aspects and issues pertaining to the RTW Program
provide interpretation and explanation of legislation and central agencies' policies, programs and initiatives related to disability management (e.g. Government Employees' Compensation Act, disability insurance, Canadian Human Rights Act and duty to accommodate, etc.) to senior management, stakeholders and managers
support consultative and collaborative relationships between CSC management and employees, employee representatives and other relevant stakeholders on the various aspects and issues pertaining to the RTW Program.
The Regional OHS and RTW Advisor (RTW stream) will:
support the development, implementation and delivery of CSC's RTW Program by monitoring and reporting on the effectiveness of the regional program and its compliance with the applicable legislation and policies, and by providing recommendations for improvement
provide advice and guidance to regional senior management and other Human Resource Management employees on the RTW Program and disability management issues, as well as related legislation and policies (e.g. WCBs and disability insurance).
The site Labour Relations Advisors (or delegate where appropriate) will provide general advice and support to management and staff regarding CSC's RTW Program while promoting safe and suitable return to work.
The Local Joint RTW Committee will review all cases at the local level, and provide advice to the supervisor of the injured or ill employee on strategies to maintain communication and approaches to ensure a safe and suitable return to work. (See Annex D.)
The Regional Joint RTW Committee will oversee and provide advice on the cases of employees absent from work more than six months. (See Annex D.)
The National Joint RTW Advisory Committee will:
be the principal forum for joint labour-management consultation on RTW Program issues
provide corporate leadership and strategic direction to CSC regions and National Headquarters (see Annex D).
Co-workers will act professionally and respectfully towards individuals returning to work.
Confidentiality of Information and Return to Work Services
CSC will protect the confidentiality of employee medical and personal information in compliance with the Privacy Act. Return to work services will be provided on a confidential basis and without prejudice to job security.
The RTW Program personnel and key return to work stakeholders with a legitimate need to know any personal information received will take reasonable steps to maintain the confidentiality of any private and sensitive information.
PROCEDURES - ACCIDENT/ILLNESS REPORTING
Work-Related Injury or Illness
With respect to accident reporting, the injured or ill employee, or any other employee if the injury prevents the injured or ill worker from doing so, will immediately report all work-related injuries or illnesses to the employer (i.e. the immediate supervisor or, in the supervisor's absence, another supervisor).
A supervisor will ensure that the injured or ill worker receives first aid and/or medical attention. (For additional information, refer to GL 254-1 - Occupational Health and Safety Program.) If the worker requires medical treatment, the employer will arrange appropriate transportation to a health care facility.
Depending on the nature of the injury/illness, the supervisor will discuss the injury/illness with the employee to determine whether there is an immediate accommodation that can be arranged to assist the employee with remaining at work.
The supervisor will ensure that the WCB report of accident is properly and completely filled out and forwarded to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) Labour Program's Injury Compensation Unit within three days of occurrence or of learning of the work-related illness or injury in accordance with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Policy on Workers' Compensation. (Annex B includes a list of all WCB forms used by CSC to report work-related accidents and illnesses).
The supervisor will contact a member of the Critical Incident Stress Management Team, if appropriate.
If a prolonged absence is anticipated, the supervisor will review the employee's leave record and inform the employee if he/she has sufficient sick leave to cover the absence. If there is insufficient sick leave, the supervisor will immediately advise the employee of alternative solutions and encourage him/her to apply for benefits and services such as disability insurance or employment insurance sickness benefits.
Non-Work-Related Injury or Illness
The employee will keep his/her supervisor informed of the status of any absence resulting from a non-work-related injury or illness.
The supervisor will discuss the absence with the employee:
to determine the expected duration of absence
to determine whether any work accommodation options exist to enable the employee to return to work and to generally discuss the RTW Program and requirements for medical limitations and/or restrictions
to ascertain the general well-being of the employee and whether any supports such as the Employee Assistance Program or other services from CSC are needed
to establish a regular contact schedule so that the employee and supervisor can maintain open lines of communication.
If a prolonged absence is anticipated, the supervisor will review the employee's leave record and inform the employee if he/she has sufficient sick leave to cover the absence. If there is insufficient sick leave, the supervisor will immediately advise the employee of alternative solutions and encourage him/her to apply for benefits such as disability insurance or employment insurance sickness benefits.
RETURN TO WORK PROCEDURES
Applies to Both Work-Related and Non-Work-Related Illness and Injury
maintain appropriate contact with the employee throughout his/her absence, in order to anticipate the return to work
determine in a timely manner, based on the medical information received, whether or not they have reasonable information about the employee's medical limitations for them to return to work in their substantive position, or to offer modified work as required
develop a return to work plan with the employee and other stakeholders as required
modify the work or workplace where necessary in a timely manner as outlined in the return to work plan.
maintain appropriate contact with the supervisor throughout the his/her absence, in order to anticipate the return to work
provide regular updates and information on their fitness to return to work and any applicable medical limitations or restriction to identify early and suitable return to work opportunities.
Process for Obtaining and Using Medical Information
Supervisors must ensure that medical information on an employee's fitness to work and related limitations/restrictions is kept private and confidential and shared, on a need-to-know basis, only with those involved in return to work planning.
When an injured or ill employee provides medical information to remain in the workplace or return to work, supervisors must determine whether or not they have sufficient information about the employee's medical limitations to plan the return to work and identify necessary accommodations.
When a supervisor determines that he/she cannot reasonably accommodate or return an employee to work based on the medical information received from the employee and that clarification or additional information is required, the supervisor will:
consider the least intrusive method of obtaining the needed medical information
explain to the employee why a clarification and/or additional medical information is required
provide the employee with a customized letter for his/her treating practitioner that outlines the information required by the employer. A medical consent signed by the employee is not required in this circumstance unless the employee requests that the employer communicate in writing directly with his/her treating practitioner
pay for the requested assessment or additional information if it is not covered by an insurance plan.
Supervisors can ask their employees to provide medical information such as:
prognosis (not diagnosis)
expected return to work date
details of any limitations or need for accommodation for staying at work or returning to work
duration of required medical limitations and/or restrictions and whether they are temporary or permanent.
In situations where a disability insurance carrier or WCB is involved, the supervisor should consult with the disability insurance or the WCB case manager to obtain the employee's medical limitations/restrictions information needed for return to work purposes.
Where there remains a serious and reasonable concern about an employee's fitness to carry out modified or substantive duties and other sources for obtaining or clarifying medical limitations have been considered and exhausted, the supervisor may explore referrals for an independent medical examination. The supervisor will fully disclose to the employee concerned the basis for requesting independent medical exams (to be used only in exceptional and clear circumstances). The budget manager is responsible for the cost of the independent medical exam.
The employer's obligation to continue seeking modified work or an accommodation may end upon the employee's failure to comply with a reasonable request for medical information (which may constitute a breach of his/her obligation to participate in the return to work process). Each circumstance must be evaluated on a case by case basis weighing all relevant factors. The Regional OHS and RTW Advisor (RTW stream) and/or Labour Relations Advisor may be consulted on such cases.
Fees for medical certificates provided by employees to support their leave request are not reimbursed by the employer.
Return to Work Goals
All supervisors are to make reasonable efforts to explore the following sequence of return to work possibilities:
maintain injured or ill employee at work if the medical limitations allow this possibility
return the employee to his/her substantive position with or without accommodation
offer the employee a suitable alternative job with or without accommodation at his/her primary work location
offer the employee a suitable alternative job with or without accommodation at an alternative location
combine any of the above, depending on the circumstances or consider other creative solutions.
The supervisor is responsible for managing the employee's absence and regularly reviewing the potential for return to work.
When an employee has permanent medical limitations, the supervisor must explore all possibilities of reasonable accommodations. This includes allowing the employee to be permanently accommodated in his/her substantive position so that he/she can perform the essential duties of the position, if safe and suitable. If permanent solutions are not immediately available, the supervisor should consider temporary placements.
Developing the Individualized Return to Work Plan
The supervisor will review all medical information regarding temporary or permanent physical or mental limitations at the earliest possible date in order to identify suitable duties for return to work planning.
The supervisor will make every reasonable effort to identify and provide modified work that enables an injured or ill employee to remain at work or return to work performing appropriate duties in consideration of functional capacities.
If the supervisor is unable to identify modified duties that accommodate the employee's medical restrictions and/or limitations, a regular review of the availability of suitable duties must be undertaken to assist the employee with returning to suitable work or his/her substantive position as soon as reasonably possible. The ongoing search for suitable options must be documented.
The individualized return to work plan must:
be developed in collaboration with the employee and the union representative (where applicable)
match job duties with the employee's functional abilities
be safe for the injured/ill employee and co-workers
be in writing. The Return to Work Plan - Accommodation Plan (CSC/SCC 1390-1E) will be used when one is not provided by the appropriate insurer or treating practitioner.
The individualized return to work plan will include the following information as applicable:
return to work goals
essential job duties/tasks
restrictions and/or limitations
description of any modification to be undertaken to accommodate the employee's restrictions/limitations
comments, instructions or extra details.
All parties involved in the return to work process must sign the return to work plan, showing their agreement with, commitment to, and support for the plan.
For disability insurance and WCB cases, the preparation of the return to work plan will include consultation with the insurers.
Monitoring, Evaluating and Updating the Return to Work Plan
Supervisors will monitor the progress of the return to work plan on a weekly basis to ensure that the identified goal of the plan is achieved. The Return to Work Journal (CSC/SCC 1390-2) can be used to monitor the progress.
The supervisor will re-evaluate the return to work plan and accommodation plan with the employee, as necessary, to ensure the objectives are appropriate.
The supervisor must immediately address any new issues brought forth by the employee regarding the duties or changes to medical limitations and make adjustments to the plan as needed.
To assess the effectiveness of these guidelines, the RTW Program will review statistical summaries of return to work activities, from various available resources, to ensure that managers and sites are returning CSC employees to work when possible.
National Joint CSC and the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN) RTW Committee
Terms of reference examples can be found on the InfoNet at the RTW Program page under Workplace Wellness and Employee Wellbeing.
Government Employees' Compensation Act
Workers' Compensation Boards (WCBs)
All federal government employees, with some exceptions, are covered for workplace accidents causing injury and illness under the Government Employees' Compensation Act. This Act gives the authority to provincial WCBs to adjudicate claims and provide rehabilitation and other services as well as wage-loss benefits.
CSC is responsible for its workers' compensation claims costs, which include lost wages, medical health care, vocational rehabilitation and pensions. As well, an administration fee of 31.57% is added to these costs.
WCBs provide loss of earnings benefits to qualifying employees once the injury-on-duty leave ceases and the employee requires further recovery time. The rate of wage-loss benefits varies across provinces. For more information on rates, consult your respective provincial WCB.
The Labour Program is responsible for claims that involve federal government employees. For information about rights and responsibilities, go to their website.
Workers' Compensation Board Claims and Appeals
The supervisor, or his/her designate, will review all submissions to the ESDC Labour Program. The particular circumstances and documentation surrounding the injury or illness will be reviewed to ensure accuracy of information. The review should not delay the forwarding of the accident report to ESDC Labour Program later then the three days stipulated in the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Workers' Compensation Policy.
If an objection to entitlement is launched, the supervisor will inform the employee and the WCB in writing of the reasons for the challenge. As well, he/she will process the appeal and represent the employer throughout the appeal process.
Pursuant to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Injury-on-Duty Leave Policy, as well as applicable collective agreements, employees are entitled to injury-on-duty leave with full pay for a reasonable period, as determined by the appropriate manager with delegated authority, provided that the claim has been allowed by the WCB, and that initial and ongoing entitlement is confirmed in writing by the WCB.
Once WCB has allowed a claim and injury-on-duty leave is subsequently approved, all sick leave, annual leave, compensatory leave or lieu hours taken pending injury-on-duty-leave approval are to be reinstated. If a claim is allowed by the WCB, any injury-on-duty leave approved begins the day after the accident date. Hours lost on the day of injury should be recorded as leave with pay for other reasons.
The Instrument of Delegation of Authorities in the Area of Human Resource Management specifies the authorities for granting injury-on-duty leave up to 60 working days, up to 130 working days and over 130 working days. A review of the case should occur prior to all specified milestones and a decision made to continue granting the leave or to transfer the employee to WCB direct pay as appropriate.
For Correctional Officers on injury-on-duty leave, refer to CSC's Labour Relations Bulletin 2014-04.
Casual employees are not entitled to injury-on-duty leave. Injured or ill casual employees go on unpaid sick leave until the WCB allows the claim then they receive WCB direct pay.
If it is clear that an employee will not be able to return to employment within the foreseeable future, leave without pay issues should be resolved in accordance with Appendix B - Leave Without Pay of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Directive on Leave and Special Working Arrangements.
DISABILITY INSURANCE PLANS
Disability Insurance Plans
Disability insurance ensures benefit payments to employees through funds deposited on behalf of the employee by the Treasury Board. The cost of premiums is determined at the end of each fiscal year and is directly related to claim expenses.
Disability insurance carriers provide the income replacement required when an employee is totally disabled and unable to work due to a non-occupational injury or illness.
Sun Life administers the plan covering employees in the Public Service who are included in collective bargaining and who are members of the plan.
Industrial Alliance administers the Public Service Management Insurance Plan (PSMIP) and provides for income protection arrangements for public service employees excluded from the collective bargaining process.
Leave Without Pay for Reasons of Illness
The termination of a leave without pay for reasons of illness should be decided within two years of its commencement unless there is a compelling argument that an exception is warranted by the unique circumstances of the case. Where the employee will not be able to return to employment within the foreseeable future, management is expected to grant leave without pay for a period sufficient for the employee to make the necessary adjustments and preparation for separation from CSC for medical reasons. For additional information, refer to Appendix B - Leave Without Pay of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Directive on Leave and Special Working Arrangements.
More information on the priority appointment process for employees with disabilities is available on the PSC website or by contacting your Staffing Advisor or your Regional OHS and RTW Advisor (RTW stream).
When a supervisor identifies an employee who may benefit from a PSC priority entitlement as a result of disability, he/she should immediately consult his/her Staffing Advisor to ensure that timelines under the Public Service Employment Act and Public Service Employment Regulations are met and that the employee can fully benefit from this entitlement.
Despite an employee having a priority entitlement and being referred to the PSC, the supervisor continues to have a duty to accommodate the employee and to make reasonable efforts to return the employee to work at CSC, taking into account the employee's medical restrictions.
In some circumstances, the employee may not be entitled to a priority status under the Public Service Employment Act despite not being able to return to his/her substantive position. Given the employer's duty to accommodate the employee under the Canadian Human Rights Act, these cases should nevertheless be viewed as internal priorities and considered for potential placements at CSC, taking into account the employee's medical restrictions. Corporate Staffing Section offers a guidance document for HR Advisors on this topic.
CANADIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACT - DUTY TO ACCOMMODATE
Physical and mental disabilities are prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA). The duty to accommodate is a fundamental legal principle derived from the CHRA.
The CHRA guarantees equal access to employment opportunities to any person with a disability, whether such disability is work or non-work-related. Pursuant to the CHRA, if a person with a disability requires accommodation to perform the essential duties of a job, the employer must make reasonable efforts to accommodate the specific needs of the employee up to the point of undue hardship. An employee's accommodation requirements may be temporary or permanent.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission may consider the point of undue hardship reached when all reasonable means of accommodation are exhausted and only unreasonable or impracticable options remain. The threshold of undue hardship is high and the burden of objectively proving it has been reached rests with the employer. The point of undue hardship varies for each employer and in each situation. In general, there is no clear cut line in finding the point of undue hardship as there is a reasonable amount of hardship that can be expected in meeting the duty to accommodate.
Supervisors should consider duty to accommodate situations on a case by case basis as each employee is unique with needs and requirements that usually differ from those of any other employee. Employees are entitled to reasonable accommodation, to the point of undue hardship, not necessarily a perfect accommodation or the preferred one. A reasonable accommodation is meaningful and respects the employee's abilities and medically verified limitations while contributing to CSC's business plan and the worksite operational plan.
Failure to accommodate employees, when possible, may result in fines and/or an award of damages from a grievance adjudicator, the Human Rights Tribunal and/or the WCB.
Additional information about the duty to accommodate can be obtained from the Discrimination Prevention Branch of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, by referring to CSC's Guidelines on Workplace Accommodations or by speaking with your Regional Human Resource Advisor (Duty to Accommodate) or Regional OHS and RTW Advisor (RTW stream).