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COVID-19 Mandates – Disclosing Personal Health Records to Your Employer

May 2, 2022 Leslie Smith

In August 2021, many employers in Ontario, Canada, brought in COVID-19 mandates requiring, inter alia, employees to disclose their vaccination status and/or to take antigen testing and disclose the results. Many employees have asked me whether this was legal.

In Ontario, and in accordance with the Occupational Health & Safety Act, (Ontario) (“OHSA”) employers cannot seek to gain access to their employees’ health records without the employee’s written consent except where the employer obtains an order from a Court or Tribunal or where the employer is compelled by a statute.1

There is no legislation or statute in Ontario compelling employers to require employees to disclose their medical data. Therefore, if you as an Ontario employee do not provide your written consent to disclose your health records, then your employer will have to obtain a Court or Tribunal order. Absent a Court or Tribunal order requiring to you disclose your health data, your employer cannot seek to gain access to your health records.

The OHSA further states that no employer can reprise against you because you seek to uphold your rights in the OHSA (in this case, not to disclose your medical data). Reprising includes disciplining or threatening to dismiss, suspending or threatening to suspend, intimidating, coercing, or imposing any penalty upon a worker.2

If your employer reprises against you because you have not disclosed your medical data, then your employer has breached s.50 of the OHSA and may be subject to a penalty (upon conviction) of a fine up to $1,500,000.3

If your employer has reprised against for you not disclosing your medical data, please call me todiscuss.

1 Occupational Health & Safety Act, RSO 1990, c. O.1, s.63(2).
2 Occupation Health & Safety Act, RSO 1990, c. O.1, s.50(1).
3 Occupation Health & Safety Act, RSO 1990, c. O.1, s.66.

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Core Beliefs

I strive each day to live and work by one principle - treat others as I would want to be treated. In my practice, that translates into 4 key values:

I do what I say I will do and I am honest and transparent at all times with clients, staff, opposing counsel, the court and anyone else. I provide my clients with an honest assessment of their case. If I make a commitment to a client, I keep it. Integrity also means that my clients know before they retain me what my fee structure is. If a client appears unsure of whether or not to retain me or what to do, I tell them to go home and think about it first.


Employees having difficulty at the workplace are often in considerable emotional distress when they arrive at my office. Employers can be as well. Employment issues involve human interactions, which necessarily involve emotions that sometimes need healing. I enjoy helping my employee clients think and feel differently about their situations. I also enjoy helping employers understand that their employees need to be treated with respect, dignity, kindness and fairness, no matter what is going on.


I have an organized and logical mind that works like a trip hammer, especially in court. I can very quickly sort out the relevant facts and issues in order to resolve my client's cases efficiently. Excellence also means to approach matters with a large measure of practicality, always thinking about what is best for my client and their family and/or business. Finally, excellence also means behaving with civility. I have learned to be hard on the issues and soft on the people - a winning combination.


I have also been blessed with discernment and intuition that allows me to often "know" what is really going on with my clients. Equally, my own life journey has led me through difficulties in personal relationships so I understand how upsetting a broken employment relationship is. My own struggles married with discernment and intuition allows me to treat my client holistically, not just legally. This is the thing that sets me apart from most other lawyers, so say my clients.