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Health Management - Health Challenges - Treatment process for substance use

Human Resources


Health Management

Treatment process for subtance use

Health Challenges

Human Resource Advisor, Corporate Health Consultants and the union work with supervisors through the process of having an employee go to substance use treatment. This is a general outline of what to expect.

Initial assessment

If an employee goes through treatment paid for by The City (and not separately through benefits or through the employee’s own funding), the treatment process begins with an initial health assessment by the Corporate Health Consultant.

External substance use professional

If the Corporate Health Consultant determines there are grounds to believe the employee has a substance dependency, the Corporate Health Consultant make a mandatory referral to an external substance use professional for assessment.

Treatment recommendations

After meeting with the employee, if that external professional determines that there is a substance dependency they will make treatment recommendations to the Corporate Health Consultant.

The City’s role in treatment

The City has an arms length relationship with that substance use professional and does not dictate what the treatment is or where it should take place. Supervisors will work with their Human Resources Advisor to issue a Treatment Expectations Letter to be signed by the employee. It reviews the treatment recommendations and expectations. It outlines the timeline of events and documents that the employee has been deemed unfit for work until treatment is completed. It’s also confirmation that the employee has agreed to participate in treatment. The employee is entitled to union representation prior to signing the letter.

Treatment costs

The City will provide financial support for dependency treatment. The City typically funds up to two treatment cycles within a five-year period.

Employee participation

Full participation by the employee is expected in that treatment program. Failure to participate could result in a review of employment status.

During treatment

The Corporate Health Consultant will help the employee into treatment. During treatment, the Corporate Health Consultant will get updates from the treatment centre regarding an employee’s progress and attendance.

While the employee is in treatment they are typically away from work and the supervisor treats the situation the same as they would for any other medical leave. They can cover the duties of the absent employee by reorganising schedules, redistributing workload and responsibilities or working with their Human Resources Advisor to determine other strategies.

Remember, the reason for your employee's absence should be kept confidential.

Return to work

When the employee completes treatment, the Corporate Health Consultant will guide the employee through the process of returning to work including a fitness for work assessment. The CHC will also coordinate the return with the Human Resources Advisor and supervisor.

Supervisors will work with their Human Resources Advisor to issue a Return to Work Expectations letter to be signed by the employee.

Once an employee returns, the Corporate Health Consultant will continue to monitor the aftercare program, including coordinating post-treatment random testing and be a resource in his or her recovery.

If a relapse occurs, the treatment cycle could begin again. A Last Chance Agreement is used in cases where the employee has not complied with the terms of the Return to Work Expectations Letter.

Next section: Return to work