How Does An Employer In Canada Initiate An IME?

Brief Overview:

An Independent Medical Examination (IME) is a process initiated by an employer in Canada to obtain an unbiased medical opinion on an employee’s health condition. This examination helps employers make informed decisions regarding work accommodations, disability claims, and return-to-work plans.

To initiate an IME in Canada, the employer needs to follow these steps:

1. Determine the need: Employers should assess whether there is a genuine requirement for an IME based on factors such as conflicting medical opinions or doubt about the employee’s ability to perform essential job duties.

2. Choose a qualified examiner: Selecting a reputable and experienced healthcare professional who specializes in the relevant area of medicine ensures accurate assessments during the IME.

3. Notify the employee: The employer must inform the employee about their intention to request an IME, including details like date, time, location, and purpose of the examination. Clear communication is crucial to maintain transparency and avoid misunderstandings.

4. Provide relevant information: Furnish all pertinent documents related to the employee’s health condition or injury history to help guide the examiner during assessment accurately. These may include medical reports, diagnostic test results, functional abilities forms, etc.

5. Respect privacy laws: Ensure compliance with privacy legislation when sharing personal health information with third parties involved in conducting or reviewing IMEs while safeguarding sensitive data appropriately.


Q1: Can employees refuse to undergo an IME?
Employees generally cannot outrightly refuse without consequences such as disciplinary action or denial of benefits under certain circumstances if refusing without valid reasons can be justified legally.

Q2: Who pays for the cost of an IME?
In most cases, employers are responsible for covering expenses associated with obtaining independent medical opinions through IMEs unless otherwise specified by collective agreements or insurance policies.

Q3: Is it mandatory for employers to conduct an IME before making employment-related decisions?
No, it is not mandatory, but conducting an IME can provide objective evidence to support decision-making and minimize the risk of legal disputes.

Q4: Can employees bring someone to accompany them during the IME?
In most cases, employees have the right to be accompanied by a support person or representative during an IME. However, their role may be limited to providing emotional support rather than participating in medical discussions.

Q5: How long does an IME report take to complete?
The timeframe for completing an IME report varies based on factors such as complexity of the case and availability of medical records. Generally, reports are finalized within 2-3 weeks after the examination.

Q6: Can employers use information from previous IMEs for future claims or assessments?
Yes, employers can refer to previous IMEs if they remain relevant and recent enough. However, it is essential to consider any changes in the employee’s condition since the last examination.

Q7: What happens if there is a disagreement between the employer’s chosen examiner and another healthcare professional?
If there is a significant discrepancy between opinions from different examiners, further assessment or consultation with additional experts may be necessary before making final decisions regarding accommodation or disability claims.


Initiating an Independent Medical Examination (IME) in Canada involves careful consideration of various factors such as necessity, qualified examiners selection process, employee notification and privacy laws compliance.

Conducting thorough research about jurisdiction-specific regulations ensures that employers follow proper procedures while obtaining unbiased medical opinions for informed decision-making.

Reach out to RIDM for IME guidance.

We are a leading provider of defensible independent assessment and disability management services to employers, insurance companies, and the legal community across Canada.