CAUT Policy Statement
All academic staff members have privacy rights in their medical and personnel information. Personnel information includes, but is not limited to, private information. Post-secondary institutions must comply with privacy laws and principles in protecting those rights.
All information collected, used, or disclosed by post-secondary institutions should be safeguarded by appropriate language in collective agreements, including a protocol for the collection, storage, and protection of personnel and medical information. Post-secondary institutions should release personnel and medical information only as required by applicable legislation or collective agreement articles, or with the prior written consent of the academic staff member. Any release of aggregated data must protect the privacy of individuals.
When the administration of a collective agreement requires a verification of a health condition for purposes of sick leave, long-term disability or other policies, employers shall rely on the opinion of the employee’s health professional. The health professional, in turn, shall restrict the opinion to whether the health status of the employee is such that the employee is unable to return to work, and if so, for what anticipated duration and/or under what conditions.
In cases where an accommodation is sought by an employee, medical and expert consultants shall similarly restrict their opinions to the need and appropriateness of the proposed accommodation. Employers shall not request nor shall health professionals provide the details of an individual health condition beyond that needed to ensure appropriate accommodation.
The employer shall ensure that any external health insurer or health services administrator shall comply with the standards set out in relevant privacy laws and principles.
The post-secondary institution shall, on request from academic staff members, disclose to them the contents of their personnel records and medical information.
Academic staff have the right to access and verify the accuracy of all personnel and medical information held in their file and to have inaccurate or inappropriate information amended or removed from their file.
Access to personnel and medical information should occur only when absolutely necessary and only by those who are authorized and need to know the information, and then be limited only to those parts of the file that are relevant to the issue at hand.
Personnel and medical information when it is no longer needed should be destroyed in a manner that protects the employee’s privacy.
Approved by the CAUT Council, November 2016.