When Is A Functional Abilities Examination Reasonable In Canada

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Quick Overview:
A Functional Abilities Examination (FAE) is considered reasonable in Canada when it is necessary to determine an individual’s ability to perform essential job functions or assess their eligibility for disability benefits. There are several factors that contribute to the reasonableness of conducting a FAE, including the nature of the job, the individual’s medical condition, and any relevant legislation or policies.

1. Job requirements: A FAE may be reasonable if there are specific physical or mental demands associated with a particular job. It helps employers ensure that employees can safely and effectively perform their duties.
2. Disability claims: Conducting a FAE can help insurance companies assess the validity of disability claims by providing objective evidence regarding an individual’s functional limitations and capabilities.
3. Return-to-work planning: When an employee has been on leave due to illness or injury, a FAE can assist in developing appropriate return-to-work plans based on their current abilities and restrictions.
4. Accommodation assessments: If an employee requires workplace accommodations due to a disability, a FAE can provide valuable information about their functional abilities so that suitable adjustments can be made.
5. Legal compliance: In some cases, legislation or collective bargaining agreements may require employers to conduct FAEs as part of their duty to accommodate employees with disabilities.


1. Are employers required by law to conduct Functional Abilities Examinations?
– The requirement for employers to conduct FAEs varies depending on jurisdiction and specific circumstances. It is best practice for employers to consult applicable legislation and seek legal advice if unsure.

2. Can an employee refuse to undergo a Functional Abilities Examination?
– Employees generally have an obligation under employment contracts or collective agreements to cooperate with employer-requested medical examinations, which may include FAEs. Refusal without valid reasons could have consequences such as denial of benefits.

3. What happens during a Functional Abilities Examination?
– A qualified healthcare professional evaluates an individual’s physical and/or mental capabilities through various tests, observations, and interviews. The specific assessments depend on the nature of the job and the purpose of the examination.

4. How long does a Functional Abilities Examination take?
– The duration of a FAE can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the job requirements, medical condition being assessed, and testing protocols used. It typically ranges from a few hours to a full day.

5. Can an employee bring someone with them to a Functional Abilities Examination?
– In most cases, employees are not allowed to have someone accompany them during a FAE unless there are exceptional circumstances or accommodations required due to disability-related reasons.

6. Are Functional Abilities Examinations confidential?
– Healthcare professionals conducting FAEs must adhere to privacy regulations and maintain confidentiality regarding an individual’s medical information obtained during the examination.

7. Can an employer use the results of a Functional Abilities Examination for disciplinary purposes?
– While employers may consider assessment results when making employment decisions related to performance or accommodation, using FAE results solely for disciplinary purposes without considering other relevant factors may be unfair or discriminatory.

A Functional Abilities Examination is considered reasonable in Canada when it serves legitimate purposes such as determining job fitness, assessing disability claims, planning return-to-work strategies, evaluating accommodation needs, or complying with legal obligations. Employers should familiarize themselves with applicable legislation and seek expert guidance to ensure compliance while respecting individuals’ rights and privacy throughout this process.