Staying Home Sick? Eight in Ten (82%) Employed Canadians Would go to Work Sick if their Employer Required Sick Notes for Minor Illnesses

Seven in Ten (70%) Oppose the Ontario Government’s Proposal to Re-Instate Employer’s Ability to Require Sick Notes

The author(s)

  • Jennifer McLeod Macey Vice President, Canada, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON, November 16, 2018 — In Ontario, it is currently against the law for an employer to require employees to provide sick notes for short medical leave, such as a cold or minor illness. However, the current provincial Government plans to re-instate an employer’s ability to require sick notes for such illnesses. According to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) among employed Canadians, seven in ten oppose this move (70%), with half saying they strongly oppose it (48%) – opposition is consistent across the provinces, including over half of Ontarians who strongly oppose the plan (52%).

Those that oppose this plan do so because they believe people suffering from a simple illness should stay home to recover rather than expend energy waiting at a hospital or clinic (76%), that it is not a good use of the limited resources of our health care system (74%) and that we should make it easier for sick people to avoid infecting others (70%).

If this plan moves ahead, Ontarians may be sharing their workplace with more sick coworkers, as 8 in 10 Ontarians say they would likely come to work when ill if their employer required a sick note, rather than going to a health care provider to get a note (83%) – with nearly half saying they would be very likely to come into work sick (47%). This is consistent with the rest of Canada, as nationally, 8 in 10 Canadians say they would be likely to go into work ill rather than get a sick note (82%).

If their work required a sick note for a cold or minor illness, most Canadians would go to their family doctor (54%) or a walk-in clinic (30%) while a minority would go to the emergency department (3%) – six percent of Canadians say they would not be able to get a sick note.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between November 13th and 14th, 2018. For this survey, a sample of 1,134 employed Canadians 18+ was interviewed. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Jennifer McLeod Macey,

Vice President Ipsos Public Affairs, Canada

+1 416 502 2749

[email protected]


About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.

With offices in 89 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,780.5 million in 2017.

The author(s)

  • Jennifer McLeod Macey Vice President, Canada, Public Affairs