Green MLA Matt MacFarlane to Introduce Legislation to Remove Sick Note Requirement from the Employment Standards Act

Charlottetown, PE - MLA Matt MacFarlane, Third Party Critic for both Health and Wellness and Workforce, will introduce an amendment to the Employment Standards Act to remove the sick note requirement from the Act.

Based on feedback from both frontline healthcare workers and Islanders, this amendment would remove the small but significant burden of writing sick notes, also known as medical certificates, from our already struggling and overwhelmed healthcare system.

“The strain on our healthcare system has never been greater. We all know about the shortage of frontline workers, and I’ve been consistently bringing up ways government can address our recruitment and retention issues. One way we can easily reduce some of the pressure in healthcare is to remove the need for sick notes,” said MacFarlane.

It is estimated that on PEI more than 8,000 hours of clinical time is wasted annually on writing sick notes - time that could be better used towards patient care. ER doctors say they can’t get through a shift without at least one patient requesting a sick note. Both the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians have written statements in support of banning or severely limiting the use of sick notes.

“Our emergency rooms, walk-in clinics, and doctors’ offices are already full with people needing treatment. Islanders shouldn’t have to be going to these clinics and hospitals just because they need a sick note for work,” said MacFarlane. “Removing the requirement for sick notes from the Employment Standards Act is one small step we can take as we continue to address the larger systemic issues in healthcare.”

The bill will be introduced during the spring sitting of the legislature.