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Human Resources

Return to work and medical accommodation

The Early Intervention Support Program (EISP) is a completely confidential program that is fully supported by your university and union and provides a proactive service that facilitates a return to work in a caring, safe, and timely manner. Manulife Financial, through the Abilities Management Access (AMA) program, is the provider for our Early Intervention Support Program.

Return to work and medical accommodation following injury, illness or disability

The Early Intervention Support Program can be used to:

  • Facilitate appropriate and customized return to work and medical accommodation programs for employees with occupational and non-occupational disabilities.
  • Reduce intermittent absences and short-term absences due to disability from becoming long term absences.
  • Prevent feelings of isolation.
  • Assist the employee to:
    • Re-establish a sense of control
    • Obtain appropriate health and rehabilitation services
    • Avoid "run-around" from health professionals
    • Have a successful outcome

The Early Intervention Support Program is designed to complement the existing disability plans by facilitating a customized service for employees absent from work or who are requesting a medical accommodation to effectively assist in a return to work in a safe and timely manner.

The Early Intervention Support Program provides services such as:

  • Absence assessment
  • Identify the anticipated duration of the absence and make recommendations for a safe and timely return to work, suggesting whether modified or restricted work is possible.
  • Case management intervention
  • Provide a proactive support system focused on an early and safe return to work.
  • Treatment facilitation
  • Offer options for treatment and make appropriate referrals to a medical specialist. For example, in some cases, it makes sense to utilize private surgical facilities rather than having an individual wait 8-12 months for a surgery date. At this time, the types of surgeries offered through these private clinics are limited, but they are considered through the EISP where appropriate. Accessing these clinics is done by the provider in conjunction with the employee and the treating physicians.
  • Return to work facilitation
  • Support the transition back to work by suggesting solutions such as modified duties/hours, before resuming full-time hours.

Early Intervention Support Program process

  1. Our Early Intervention Support Team (EIST) is comprised of equal representation from both the union and the employer.
  1. When you have been absent from work for five (5) consecutive working days or there has been a pattern(s) of absenteeism from work, or if you have requested a medical accommodation, a member of the Early Intervention Support Team will contact you. If it is determined that you will not be returning to work in the immediate future (2-3 days) and/or are requesting a medical accommodation, the Early Intervention Support Team will initiate the intake process.
  1. The Early Intervention Support Team (EIST) will advise the AMA case manager at Manulife that you have been referred to the Early Intervention Support Program. You will be provided with an Employee Declaration and Attending Physicians Statement to complete and submit to Manulife.
  1. Once the Manulife AMA Case Manager receives the completed forms, they will contact you within 24 hours to conduct a telephone interview. A separate telephone interview will be conducted with the EIST representative.
  1. When the Early Intervention Support Program intake process is completed, the case manager will be better able to assess your situation. Their objective is to ensure you are receiving the best medical care and when appropriate, the Health & Disability coordinator and case manager will coordinate a rehabilitation plan that will assist you in returning to work in a safe and supported manner.
  1. The Manulife AMA Case Manager will remain in contact with you until your successful return to work. Should your illness or injury result in a longer absence, the AMA case manager will assist you with the process of applying for Long Term Disability (LTD) benefits.

Notes: Manulife Financial is an independent service provider that is bound by strict confidentiality requirements. Information provided to AMA program will NOT be shared with your employer or with the union unless you authorize it.

As part of the Early Intervention Support Program, all support staff members are required to participate in the EISP when referred and to cooperate with the Manulife AMA Case Manager and their associates. This also applies to employees who are in receipt of WorkSafeBC or Short Term Disability (STD)/sick leave benefits.

Roles and responsibilities

  1. Notify your supervisor of absence and/or medical accommodation in a timely manner.
  1. If you are absent from work for five (5) consecutive days or more due to illness or injury or are requesting medical accommodation you must notify your supervisor and Health & Disability coordinator to receive the appropriate forms for completion.
  1. Complete the AMA application and have your physician complete the Attending Physician’s Statement.
  1. Actively participate in the rehabilitation/modified work process.
  1. Provide ongoing information on abilities and return to work information requested by the Health & Disability coordinator, the EIST or the AMA case manager.
  1. Communicate any modified work problems which arise to your supervisor, AMA case manager, Health & Disability coordinator or to the EIST.
  1. Ensure that your physician provides the AMA case manager with required information in a timely manner.

  1. Notify the Health & Disability coordinator when an employee meets the EISP criteria.
  1. Keep in touch with the employee to maintain a connection with the workplace during an employee's absence.
  1. Working with the Health & Disability coordinator to determine viable and appropriate modified return to work options for employees, if applicable.
  1. Work with the Health & Disability coordinator to assess and assist in determining rehabilitative potential.
  1. Monitor the employee's progress within the modified return to work plan.

  1. To fully understand the range of benefits available under the plan, the requirements of the plan, disability management process, the rehabilitation process, and claims review process.
  1. Contact employee to discuss ongoing absence, medical accommodation and AMA process including explaining the claim form package.
  1. Support the employee throughout the AMA process.
  1. Where necessary, serve as an advocate for employees, helping to remove roadblocks, etc.
  1. Educate employees on the requirements and benefits of the plan.

  1. In addition to the EIST member’s role, the Health & Disability Coordinator’s role is to contact the employee to discuss the ongoing absence, medical accommodation request and the AMA process including providing and explaining the claim form package.
  1. Work with the AMA Case Manager and the Supervisor to assess an employee’s restrictions and limitations, and the accommodation required to determine rehabilitation potential.
  1. Work with the AMA Case Manager and the Supervisor to develop and implement return to work programs and work accommodations.
  1. Educate the Supervisor(s) on the importance of embracing employee return to work programs and medical accommodations.
  1. Monitor the employee’s progress within the modified return to work plan and or medical accommodation.


Frequently asked questions

Medical documentation may be required at any time in case of illness or injury. However, a UFV doctor's certificate‌ is required for all sick leave absences greater than four (4) consecutive workdays. This is the only format of medical note that is accepted. 

If you're likely to be off work for five (5) consecutive workdays or more, or if you require a medical accommodation, either you or your supervisor should contact the Health & Disability coordinator. This early contact will greatly assist in providing employees and departments with the appropriate support. 

For all absences greater than five working days and for medical accommodation requests, you will be referred to the Early Intervention Support Program (EISP). Manulife Financial is UFV's provider for the EISP. You will be teamed up with an EISP team member who will support you during your leave and/or medical accommodation.

Forms required for completion are the UFV doctor's certificateManulife abilities management access forms — Employee declaration (ED) & attending physician's statement (APS)

The UFV doctor's certificate should be provided to the Health & Disability coordinator. The Manulife Attending Physician's Statement (APS) and the Employee Declaration (ED) can be emailed to Manulife's Vancouver group disability at or faxed to their Vancouver office at 1-866-413-3582.

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