New Brunswick Medical Society (NBMS) calls for reduction of administrative burden during Red Tape Awareness Week

The NBMS, as well as other physician associations across Canada, have advocated for the reduction of sick note requirements except in exceptional circumstances for many years. Requiring evidence from a physician to verify an entitlement to sick leave is ineffective and inappropriate. It results in sick employees attending emergency rooms, walk-in clinics, and their family practice clinics for no good reason.

Our overburdened health-care system should not be used to administer the human resource policies of employers across the province. There are better means to manage employee absenteeism.

On July 1, 2023, the government of Nova Scotia introduced the Medical Certificates for Employee Absence Act (Schedule B) limiting the circumstances in which employers can require employees to provide medical notes from a qualified health-care professional, including a physician. This initiative alone is expected to save 67,760 hours of physician time, which equates to over 200,000 potential office visits per year for their citizens.

The NBMS recommends the Government of New Brunswick follow the precedent set by Nova Scotia to reduce the unnecessary administrative burden on New Brunswick physicians.