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Discover Canada's ONLY Comprehensive Resource For Solving Workplace Illness & Accommodation Issues.

"Illness and Absenteeism is an essential research tool for practitioners in this field. Dealing with illness and absenteeism has become the number one issue in the workplace. Illness and Absenteeism provides lawyers and H.R. practitioners with the information they need to make correct decisions in this very difficult area."

Peter A. Gall, Q.C, Founding partner of Gall Legge Grant Zwack LLP

There is no doubt that the law relating to illness, absenteeism and accommodation presents the greatest challenge to those working in labour relations and human resources.

It can be confusing and anxiety inducing. Far too often, a lack of understanding leads to unnecessary conflict and impasse, wasting huge amounts of time and money – the two resources that are critical to any organization.

Until now, the only option for navigating this important and complex area of the law was to rely on general employment and labour law texts which only barely skimmed the surface of the issues and then engage in time intensive and costly research in the hope of determining the answer on your own.

The problem with this approach is that issues which could have been dealt with quickly and inexpensively tend to drag on and escalate to the point where they cost an organization not only in financial terms but take a toll on the people involved as well.

That’s why we created Illness & Absenteeism, a comprehensive resource that distills the complex, obscure and sometimes confusing case law into a series of interrelated and easy to understand principles that are solid, that are supported by actual arbitration decisions and that will stand the test of time.

Illness & Absenteeism is a comprehensive yet straightforward and easy to use guide uniquely designed to give you the answers you need to deal with employee absenteeism issues quickly, efficiently and with minimal cost to your people and organization.  It's author, Denny Kells, a lawyer with 29 years’ of experience in labour and employment law, has been recognized by Lexpert as a leading practitioner and one of the top 500 lawyers in Canada.

What Makes Illness & Absenteeism Different?

Illness & Absenteeism gives you more than case names and summaries. It provides answers. While other resources discuss general principles and then require you to distil the answers on your own, Illness & Absenteeism provides a concise description of the legal principles related to nearly every aspect of the law and then backs those principles up with carefully selected extracts from past arbitration decisions. This helps you better understand the law and how it applies to your particular fact situation.

With Illness & Absenteeism, you will be able to:

Get the answers you need – fast.  With Illness & Absenteeism, there's no need to waste time with other less comprehensive resources or go out on your own to look for the answers. With its comprehensive and easy to follow format, Illness and Absenteeism gives you quick and easy access to the answers you need on nearly every aspect of the law. And with monthly online updates, you are always just a click away from having the very latest developments in the law right at your fingertips.

Give advice immediatelyIllness & Absenteeism allows lawyers, consultants and union representatives to provide immediate advice to clients or employees. They can rely on the principles to provide general advice even before they have a full understanding of the underlying facts in a particular case.

Save time and money. A single grievance can have an organizational cost that is in the thousands of dollars. So too can a consultation with a lawyer. On top of that, going to arbitration can cost many tens of thousands of dollars. Lost work days and paid sick leave can have a tremendous cost. With Illness & Absenteeism, you will often be able to avoid these costs by making better informed decisions, or by educating the other party as to the applicable law.

Minimize your human costs.  Employees are a valuable asset, and unnecessary confrontations or delays in obtaining medical information or facilitating their return to work can affect attitude and destroy motivation. The likelihood that an employee will be able to return to work decreases with the passing of each month.

Solve problems before they escalate.  Human resource staff and union representatives can use the principles and supporting commentary to problem solve before positions harden. “Seeing it in writing” can cause an adversary to reconsider its’ preconceived but erroneous view.

Facilitate collaboration and enhance relationships.  Illness and accommodation issues can cause friction between employee and management representatives making resolution difficult. With Illness & Absenteeism, the law is clearly laid out making it much much easier for the parties to understand their respective legal positions and work towards a solution.

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George Coupland, Director, Labour Relations and Human Resources Services, Manitoba Public School Boards

"Our organization is responsible for providing a full range of labour relations advice to 38 different employers who employ more than 31,000 staff and who deal with 12 different employee unions. We have utilized the manual since inception and have replaced our previous source publication. We have found the manual to be a very comprehensive resource document when dealing with any and all illness and accommodation issues that arise. The manual is updated on a regular basis with the leading and latest case law highlighted. The manual is very well organized into appropriate sections, and cross referenced, allowing one to quickly access case law as needed. We fully endorse the manual and in fact have recommended the manual to all Human Resource professionals within the sector."

How Does Illness & Absenteeism Work?

Using the Manual is as easy as reviewing the Overview and Summary of Principles at the beginning of the relevant chapter and then moving to the related pages to consider the case law and commentary associated with the principles that you have identified as relevant.  Follow that up with a review of new cases or developments that are set forth under those same numbered principles in the cumulative monthly Supplement located in the Members Area of the site and you'll be fully equipped with the answers you need to effectively and efficiently handle the issues at hand!

What Does Illness & Absenteeism Cover?

Illness & Absenteeism provides comprehensive coverage of all aspects of the law related to illness, absenteeism and accommodation.   The Manual contains more than 200 distinct principles and is organized into 17 chapters covering 864 pages of content.

Here’s just a small sample of some of the topics covered inside Illness & Absenteeism:

  • the admissibility of employee surveillance evidence on a province by province basis and the factors to consider in deciding whether to conduct surveillance [pp. 365 to 483].

  • assessing the credibility of witnesses who will testify [p. 507].

  • utilizing a "last-chance" agreement to resolve a pending arbitration [pp. 756].
  • employees' rights to medical privacy and the circumstances in which employers may intrude on those rights [p. 12].

  • the determination of what constitutes an "illness" sufficient to justify an employee's absence from work (including discussion of many specific medical conditions such as jet lag, depression, hangover, flu, fatigue, family stress, work-related stress, alcoholism, drug addiction, anxiety, environmental hypersensitivity, fibromyalgia and many, many more) [pp. 19-28].

  • assessing the conduct of an employee where it appears to be inconsistent with her claim of a particular medical condition [p. 29].

  • dealing with disclosure of medical information including: the circumstances in which an employer may require a medical certificate to support an employee's claim of illness. [p. 33, 101], the nature and scope of medical information which an employee may be compelled to disclose [p. 40], the extent to which an employer may communicate directly with the employee's physician to seek information [p. 47], the consequences of an employee's failure to consent to disclosure of medical information or withdrawal of a previously delivered consent [pp. 49 and 50], the evidentiary requirements that must be satisfied by an employee or employer in order to prove or disprove an illness sufficient to justify an absence from work [p. 65], the requirements that an employee (or employer) must meet in order to establish her fitness to return to work [p. 88], the effect that a collective agreement may have in limiting the scope of medical information required by an employer [p. 103],  the circumstances in which an employer may reject the sufficiency of an employee-tendered medical certificate [p. 160] along with an extensive checklist setting forth the factors to be reviewed when considering either a direction to provide medical information [p. 163] or a direction to submit to an employer-directed medical examination [p. 227].

  • the right of an employer to insist on a medical examination by an independent medical expert in preparation for arbitration [p. 233] and situations where an arbitrator may order than an employee be examined by an independent medical expert.

  • the admissibility of medical reports tendered at arbitration including discussion of the hearsay evidence rule and recognized exceptions (both statutory and otherwise) [pp. 344 and 357], issues regarding claims of privilege in relation to medical reports [p. 361] and introduction of hospital records [p. 362].

  • preparation for arbitration including assessing the existing medical evidence [p. 489], deciding whether to retain an independent medical consultant [p. 492], considering the need for a medical examination by the employer's consultant [p. 493], obtaining production of existing medical documentation [p. 494] and complying with statutory obligations for production of medical reports [p. 495].

  • the conduct of direct and cross-examinations of witnesses including evidentiary rules, cross-examination of "friendly" witnesses and effective direct and cross-examinations of expert medical witnesses [pp. 496-506].

  • the duty to accommodate including the prohibition against disability-related descrimination [p. 526], variations in the definition of "disability" under provincial and federal laws [p. 528], the circumstances where discrimination may be subject to a "justification defence" depending on the nature of the employee's duties [p. 532] and the tests applied by arbitrators or courts in determining whether a disability exists [pp. 542 to 560].

  • dealing with addictions and mental illness including: the extent to which an employer must accommodate such disabilities [p. 701], the impact those conditions may have on conduct that would otherwise be considered culpable [p. 707], the evidence required to establish an addiction or mental illness [p. 716] and circumstances where an employer may refuse to accomodate an employee on the basis that it would cause the employer undue hardship [p. 720].

  • differences in the discipline or termination of employees for culpable (i.e., blameworthy) absenteeism as opposed to innocent absenteeism [pp. 812 to 864].

  • and much, much more!

What Does Illness & Absenteeism Look Like?


The first 60 pages of the Manual, including its Table of Contents, appear below.  The full Manual features 864 pages of comprehensive content together with a table of cases and appendices.  A fully searchable electronic version of the Manual is always available in the Member's Area of the site so you can get answers any time no matter where you are!


The Illness & Absenteeism Supplement is a cumulative publication located in the Member's Area of the site.  It's updated monthly to include new cases and commentary that relate to the principles covered in the Manual so you always have the latest information at your fingertips.  And because the content in the supplement is numbered and organized in the same manner as the Manual, cross-referencing the two is fast and simple.

The Supplement also features a handy principle-based index that refers the reader directly to recent cases that discuss the identified principles.

A sample of the first 48 pages of the monthly Supplement, including the continuously updated index, appears below.

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Who is Illness & Absenteeism For?

Illness & Absenteeism is ideal for anyone involved in labour or employee relations including lawyers, union representatives, management and HR personnel.  It's simple enough for a layperson to understand and use but, at the same time, comprehensive and detailed enough that it makes the perfect resource for even the most advanced professional.

It's also applicable to both union and non-union situations.  Although most of the cases referred to in the Manual are labour arbitration decisions, Courts generally take the same approach to the issues in non-union settings.  This means that the vast majority of the principles are relevant whether an employee is unionized or not.

How Much Does It Cost?

The cost of the 864 page Manual is just $415 (or $340 if you choose electronic access only), an incredible value when you consider that the average cost of just one day of lost employee wages and benefits may be around $200 - $300, not to mention the thousands of dollars that can be spent trying to resolve even the most straightforward of issues.  Using Illness & Absenteeism to save just two days’ wages can pay for the entire cost of your subscription and, for anyone who deals with illness and accommodation on a regular basis, Illness & Absenteeism will pay for itself several times during the course of a year.

Both subscriptions include one year of access to the online Manual and the monthly updated Supplement.  The renewal rate thereafter is only $340 per year.

Full details of subscription options and pricing can be found here.

Our 100% Risk-Free Guarantee

Order right now with confidence knowing that your subscription is backed by our no hassle, money back guarantee.  We're absolutely sure that you'll love Illness & Absenteeism but if you ever decide that you're not 100% satisfied, we will refund your subscription price, no questions asked.

Adrian Frost, Past President, Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers ("CACE")

"Illness and Absenteeism provides a very user friendly resource to navigate through some of the toughest areas that labour and employment professionals must address on a regular basis. The format is clear and provides concise summaries of the principles before elaborating with more detailed content. The website allows the user to flip through the material with ease. An invaluable resource for anyone working through the complex issues related to employee illness and absenteeism in the workplace."

Get Instant Access Right Now!

Why wait until your next illness and accommodation issue arises and starts taking a financial and human resources toll on everyone involved?  Order Illness & Absenteeism right now and get the answers you need – fast!  Click the button below to complete your subscription and get instant access to the Illness & Absenteeism Manual, the Supplement and other great resources in the Members Area!

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If you have any questions, please text or call us toll free at 1-800-562-1745 or  send us an email here, and we will get back to you right away!