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14 August 20232 minute read

Requiring sick notes: A change in practice for Nova Scotia employers

On July 1, 2023, new legislation from the Government of Nova Scotia came into force limiting the ability of employers in the province to require sick notes from their employees.

The changes are codified in the Medical Certificates for Employee Absences Act (MCEAA), which is Schedule to the Patient Access to Care Act.

According to the MCEAA, an employer may not require a certificate with respect to an employee’s absence from work due to the employee’s sickness or injury unless:

  • the absence continues for more than five consecutive working days; or
  • the employee has had at least two non-consecutive absences of five or fewer working days due to sickness or injury in the preceding 12 months.

The limitation applies to sick notes from any “qualified health professional”, including nurses, dentists, pharmacists, physiotherapists or social workers.

Failure to comply with the MCEAA may lead to an inquiry by the Director of Nova Scotia Labour Standards and could result in an administrative penalty being enforced against an employer.


Nova Scotia employers should review their policies and procedures to ensure that they are compliant with the new requirements of the MCEAA. Our team of lawyers at DLA Piper are available to assist you in navigating the impact of  the MCEAA on your business. For further information, please speak with one of our team members