What Distinguishes An Ime From A Regular Medical Exam In Ontario?

Quick Overview:
An Independent Medical Examination (IME) differs from a regular medical exam in Ontario in several ways. An IME is typically requested by an employer, insurance company, or legal entity to assess the extent of disability and determine appropriate compensation or benefits. Here are five key differences between an IME and a regular medical exam in Ontario:

1. Purpose: The purpose of an IME is to provide an unbiased assessment of the individual’s condition, often related to a workplace injury or disability claim. In contrast, a regular medical exam focuses on diagnosing and treating the patient’s health issues.

2. Examiner: An IME is conducted by an independent healthcare professional who has no prior relationship with the patient. On the other hand, a regular medical exam is usually performed by the patient’s primary care physician or specialist.

3. Scope: During an IME, comprehensive testing may be conducted beyond what would typically occur during a regular medical examination. This can include physical assessments, psychological evaluations, functional capacity evaluations, and more.

4. Documentation: The findings from an IME are documented in a detailed report that addresses specific questions posed by the referring party regarding impairment levels and work-related limitations. In contrast, records from a regular medical exam primarily serve as part of the individual’s personal health history.

5. Legal Considerations: An IME carries legal weight as it often plays a crucial role in determining eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits or resolving disputes related to disability claims through litigation processes like arbitration or mediation.


Q1: Who can request an Independent Medical Examination (IME)?
A1: Employers, insurance companies, lawyers representing either party involved in litigation proceedings can request an IME.

Q2: Can I choose my own examiner for an IME?
A2: No; the examiner must be impartial and selected independently by all parties involved to ensure objectivity.

Q3: How long does it take to schedule an IME in Ontario?
A3: The timeline for scheduling an IME can vary depending on the availability of both the examiner and the individual being assessed. It typically takes a few weeks to a couple of months.

Q4: Can I bring someone with me during an IME?
A4: In most cases, individuals undergoing an IME are not allowed to have anyone present unless there are exceptional circumstances or accommodations required due to disability.

Q5: Are the findings from an IME final and binding?
A5: While the findings from an IME carry significant weight, they are subject to review by other medical professionals or legal entities involved in the case.

Q6: Who pays for an Independent Medical Examination (IME)?
A6: The party requesting the examination is responsible for covering all costs associated with conducting the IME.

Q7: Can I refuse to attend an Independent Medical Examination (IME)?
A7: Refusing to attend may have consequences such as denial of benefits or potential impact on ongoing litigation proceedings. However, specific circumstances should be discussed with legal counsel before making any decisions.


An Independent Medical Examination (IME) differs from a regular medical exam in Ontario regarding purpose, examiner selection, scope of assessment, documentation format, and legal implications. Understanding these distinctions can help individuals navigate through disability claims processes more effectively while ensuring fairness and objectivity throughout.