Early & Safe Return to Work

Approved By: 
Ray Raslack, Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: 
Approved on: December 23, 2008

Revised on:
Intent: To establish procedures for an employee's early and safe return to work following a work related injury or illness. In order to ensure successful return the Office of Human Resources – Health and Safety will work closely with injured employees, their respective Union or Association, Health Care Professionals and immediate Supervisor to establish modified work duties when required.

Accommodation modification to pre-injury job duties, tasks or procedures to suit functional abilities, it may be temporary or permanent enabling the employee to perform essential elements of an existing position
Functional abilities a WSIB form completed by the worker's primary health care form provider

Modified work program a structured and organized plan to allow a safe and timely return to work

Suitable work any task that a worker has medical fitness and skills to perform that would not impact the health and safety of the worker, or others

Workplace or work the modification of equipment, work station, or
modification restructuring of a job to accommodate a worker which is geared to a return to regular duties

Applicable Legislation:

  • Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, S.O. 1997
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board's Operational Policies
  • Ontario Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990

All employees are responsible for fulfilling their responsibilities as stipulated in the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, Workplace Safety and Insurance Act and all associated regulations.
Lakehead University will endeavour to provide opportunity for an injured employee to return to work as soon as possible by offering suitable and available work under a Modified Work Program with the expectation that the pre-injury or pre-disability employment can be restored.

The injured worker shall inform his/her immediate supervisor of the related injury/illness as soon as possible. For non-emergent conditions, the injured worker shall complete an Accident Report Form in the Office of Human Resources (Health and Safety).

  • The employee will be provided a Functional Abilities Form (FAF) for completion by their health care provider. The employee shall return the completed FAF to Human Resources (Health and Safety) as soon as possible to initiate the modified work program, if required.
  • The employee and/or the employee's supervisor will contact Human Resources (Health and Safety) as soon as possible to discuss an appropriate return to work program, based upon the worker's completed FAF.
  • The employee's supervisor will endeavour to identify suitable and available work with assistance from the Office of Human Resources (Health and Safety), and his/her union or association, as applicable and/or required.
  • If suitable modified work is not available within the injured employee's department, an attempt shall be made to find work within the employee's union or association. If there is no suitable work available within the Union or Association, consideration shall be extended to Lakehead University as a whole.
  • The University shall utilize the mediation services of the WSIB as necessary to resolve return to work issues.

Duties of the Supervisors

  • The supervisor shall make contact with the injured or disabled employee and maintain that contact.
  • In co-operation with the employee, identify and arrange suitable employment that is compatible with the employee's functional abilities.
  • The employee's supervisor shall monitor the employee's progression on the modified work program, and shall report progress to the Office of Human Resources – Health & Safety.

Duties of Employee

  • Contact his/her supervisor as soon as possible after the injury or disability and maintain contact with the supervisor.
  • Return the WSIB Functional Abilities Form to the supervisor and/or the Human Resources Office (Health and Safety)
  • Co-operate with the employer in identifying suitable employment that is consistent with the worker's functional abilities

The policy shall be reviewed every three years, by the Human Resources Officer Health and Safety.