How Do Employers Handle Conflicting Opinions Between IME And Treating Physicians In Canada?

Brief Overview:When it comes to conflicting opinions between an Independent Medical Examination (IME) and treating physicians in Canada, employers face the challenge of determining the most accurate assessment of an employee’s medical condition. In such situations, it is essential for employers to understand their legal obligations and navigate the complexities of different jurisdictions.

1. Legal Obligations: Employers have a duty to accommodate employees with disabilities under human rights legislation in Canada.
2. IME Purpose: IMEs are conducted by independent healthcare professionals to provide unbiased assessments regarding an individual’s medical condition and functional abilities.
3. Treating Physician Role: Treating physicians have firsthand knowledge of the employee’s medical history and ongoing treatment progress.
4. Expertise Consideration: Employers should consider both the expertise and specialization of both the IME professional and treating physician when evaluating conflicting opinions.
5. Collaboration Opportunities: Employers can facilitate communication between all parties involved, including engaging in discussions or seeking additional expert opinions if necessary.


1. Can employers solely rely on an IME report?
– No, while an IME provides valuable insights, it is crucial to consider other factors such as medical records, treatment plans, and input from treating physicians.

2. What if there is a significant disagreement between the two opinions?
– In case of substantial disagreement, seeking guidance from legal counsel or specialized disability management services can help employers navigate through complex situations effectively.

3. Are employers obligated to follow one opinion over another?
– There is no straightforward answer as each situation may vary based on jurisdictional laws, collective agreements, or specific circumstances surrounding accommodation efforts.

4. How can employers ensure fairness during this process?
– Employers should maintain transparency by providing all relevant information to both parties involved while respecting confidentiality requirements outlined by privacy legislation.

5. Can employees request a review of conflicting opinions?
– Yes, employees have rights to appeal decisions related to their accommodation. Employers should have a clear process in place for employees to voice concerns or request an independent review.

6. What if the treating physician refuses to cooperate with the IME?
– In such cases, employers may seek legal advice and explore alternative options, such as obtaining a second opinion from another treating physician or consulting an expert in disability management.

7. How can employers minimize potential conflicts between IMEs and treating physicians?
– Open lines of communication, regular updates on medical progress, and involving all parties in discussions regarding accommodation plans can help foster collaboration and reduce conflicts.

Employers in Canada must navigate conflicting opinions between IMEs and treating physicians by considering legal obligations, expertise of professionals involved, collaboration opportunities, and seeking guidance when needed. Balancing these factors ensures fair assessments while promoting effective disability management practices within organizations.