How Should Vancouver Employers Handle Sensitive Information Obtained From Imes?

Quick Overview:Vancouver employers must handle sensitive information obtained from Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs) with utmost care and in compliance with privacy laws. This includes ensuring proper security measures, obtaining consent from employees, limiting access to authorized personnel only, and implementing strict data retention policies.


1. Obtain informed consent: Before conducting an IME or collecting any sensitive information, Vancouver employers should obtain written consent from the employee. This ensures that the employee is aware of the purpose and scope of the examination and agrees to share their medical information.

2. Limit access to authorized personnel: Sensitive information obtained from IMEs should only be accessible to individuals who have a legitimate need for it in relation to disability management or accommodation processes. Implementing strict access controls helps prevent unauthorized disclosure.

3. Ensure secure storage: Employers must store IME reports and other related documents securely to protect against loss, theft, or unauthorized access. Physical files should be locked away while digital files must be encrypted and stored on secure servers.

4. Train employees on confidentiality: All staff members involved in handling sensitive information obtained from IMEs should receive training on privacy laws, confidentiality obligations, and best practices for safeguarding personal data.

5. Implement data retention policies: It is essential for Vancouver employers to establish clear guidelines regarding how long they will retain IME records before securely disposing of them as per applicable legal requirements.


Q1: Can an employer disclose sensitive medical information obtained through an IME without employee consent?
A1: No, unless required by law or when there is a bona fide occupational requirement that necessitates such disclosure.

Q2: What are some examples of appropriate uses of sensitive medical information obtained through an IME?
A2: Examples include determining suitable accommodations for employees with disabilities or assessing eligibility for disability benefits under insurance plans.

Q3: Are there any specific privacy laws that govern handling sensitive medical information in Vancouver?
A3: Yes, the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) and the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) apply to the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information.

Q4: Can an employee request access to their IME records?
A4: Yes, employees have a right to access their personal information held by employers. However, certain exceptions may apply if it could harm another individual’s privacy or is subject to solicitor-client privilege.

Q5: What should employers do in case of a data breach involving sensitive medical information obtained from IMEs?
A5: Employers should promptly notify affected individuals, take steps to mitigate any potential harm resulting from the breach, and report the incident as required under applicable privacy laws.

Vancouver employers must handle sensitive information obtained from IMEs with great care. By obtaining consent, limiting access, ensuring secure storage, providing training on confidentiality obligations, and implementing data retention policies compliant with privacy laws such as PIPA and PIPEDA, employers can protect employee privacy rights while effectively managing disability-related matters.