• “Fit to work” or “fitness to work” is a medical assessment done when an employer wishes to be sure an employee can safely do a specific job or task. The purpose is to determine if medically the employee can perform the job or task under the working conditions. Fit to work assessments are most often done to determine medical fitness after an illness or injury, but are sometimes done after employment has been offered, as requested by the employer, or as a condition of a job transfer. 

The employee will be assessed by  a Tamarack Safety certified and qualified medical professional who will determine if the employee is able to do that particular job. The medical professional may consider physical or mental abilities, sensory acuity, level of skill, functional limitations, etc. The medical professional will typically only report one of three conditions back to the employer:

  • fit,
  • unfit, or
  • fit subject to work modifications.

An employer is allowed to ask for information from a medical professional to make sure the employee is able to work safely, and that the employee’s condition does not pose a hazard to themselves or to others.

A fit to work assessment may be done for the following reasons (but are not limited to):

  • There has been a significant change in the working conditions.
  • An employee transfers to a position where the working conditions are significantly different.
  • The job at work has been modified and the returning worker is still going for physiotherapy, rehabilitation, or both.
  • There has been a change in an employee’s health (e.g., returning to work after recovery from a serious illness or injury).
  • A medical condition may limit, reduce or prevent the person from performing a new or current job effectively (e.g., musculoskeletal conditions that limit mobility).
  • A medical condition is likely to make it unsafe to do the job (e.g., a person may unpredictably become unconscious in a hazardous situation).
  • A medical condition is likely to make it unsafe both for him/her self, co-workers or the public (e.g., driving is essential to the job but the person is subject to unpredictable and sudden unconsciousness, or a food product inspection by an inspector with deficient colour vision).
  • The medical condition may be made worse by the job (e.g., excessive physical exertion by an employee with a heart or lung disorder).
  1. From: Public Service Occupational Health Program, Health Canada. 2015