Medical Accommodation and Return to Work Process for Faculty and Librarians

UVic is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse group of exceptionally talented faculty and staff and supporting them in ways that allow them to achieve their highest potential. The university is also committed to the principles and spirit of employment equity and the provisions of the BC Human Rights Code. Our medical leave, accommodation and Return to Work processes are part of the many ways the university strives to achieve these goals. Both the university and the faculty member or librarian share an interest in appropriately minimizing the adverse impact of a member's illness or disability on the member's work life and career progress. We also share a mutual responsibility to cooperate in these processes.

The accommodation process for illness or disability requires:

  • collaboration between the university and the member to achieve a reasonable outcome that takes into account the specific forms of support that will permit the member to best perform their duties
  • consultation with and involvement of the member in developing a plan that respects the dignity of the individual and promotes work life integration
  • taking into account relevant medical expertise and expertise regarding workplace accommodation

Rights and Responsibilities

Article 39 of the Collective Agreement for faculty and librarians sets out the rights and responsibilities of the University, the member and their academic leader in the accommodation and return to work process. Please review the Article thoroughly to understand eligibility requirements for Sick Leave and Long Term Disability entitlements; the impact of Sick Leave or other types of Leave; Leave after Normal Retirement Date; processes for medical accommodation and return to work; and processes to resolve disagreement, should it occur.

The responsibility to manage disability lies with the member and their supervisor, supported by the Work Life Consultant and your Faculty's Faculty Relations Consultant. The member may also seek the support of the Faculty Association. The Work Life Consultant dedicated to support faculty and librarians is Kelly Simpson (kellysimpson@uvic.ca/250-472-5228).

Many supports are available and will be developed to address the specific medical and functional needs of the member.

Medical information received by the Work Life Consultant is held as confidential. Leaders are only entitled to know information related to prognosis and functional ability, in order to support a healthy accommodation and return to work.

The University is obligated, by law, to provide reasonable accommodation to the point of undue hardship.

Additional key resources

Managing Complex Short Term Sick Leave (COVID-19)

For complex short term sick leaves please contact your assigned Work Life Consultant as soon as you are made aware of the situation.

A complex case will include cases where the employee is not able to return to work within 1 month, there are concerns about the absence, or the department is unable to temporarily accommodate, without assistance and/or when there are other workplace concerns. If you are unsure on how to manage a case at any time, contact your assigned Work Life Consultant.

The Work Life Consulting team manages the University's absence and disability program (short-term illness/injury, return to work and medical accommodations) along with coordinating health promotion initiatives for staff and faculty.

Process for Temporary COVID-19 Medical Accommodations

If you are concerned that you are medically vulnerable to COVID-19, even with the exercise of the safe work plan precautions on campus and your doctor indicates you cannot risk exposures that may occur on campus, or if your safety concern is related to a COVID-19 related mental health issue that meets the threshold for a DSM-5 medical disorder, you may be eligible for a medical accommodation. If a reasonable accommodation cannot be made, you may be entitled to sick leave.