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Monitoring Implementation of Return to Work Processes

The first review of the AODA’s Employment Standards became public in 2019. In this review, the AODA Employment Standards Development Committee recommends changes to the existing Employment Standards. In addition, the Committee also identifies barriers that employment-seekers and workers with disabilities face, and recommends strategies to remove these barriers. This article will discuss the Committee’s recommendations for monitoring implementation of return to work processes.

Monitoring Implementation of Return to Work Processes

The Employment Standards require all public sector organizations, and private or non-profit organizations with fifty or more workers, to develop and document processes for writing return to work plans. Return to work plans provide support for workers who have been absent from work because of a disability and who need disability-related accommodations when they return to work. An employer should attach a worker’s return to work plan to their individual accommodation plan. A worker can have a return to work plan only if their illness or injury is not covered by the return to work process under a different law, such as the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

The Committee notes that employers know about many return to work processes under other legislation. On the contrary, employers are less familiar with the requirements for return to work processes under the Employment Standards. Therefore, the Committee recommends that the government should monitor how employers implement these processes. For example, the government should research and collect public feedback.

This research and feedback will allow the government to identify challenges preventing employers from implementing return to work processes. In addition, monitoring implementation of return to work processes will give the Committee more information at its next review. Then, the Committee can recommend changes to this requirement. Like return to work processes under other laws, the Employment Standards’ process must evolve and improve over time.