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Legal and Employment Matters

Intended Audience

For members of the public and for members who require time off work for cancer treatment and recovery and who are planning to return to work during or after treatment.

Program Description

This program is for anyone who requires time off work for cancer treatment and recovery, and who is planning to return to work during or after treatment. These sessions are led by legal and human resources specialists who provide information to help individuals assess the impact an absence from work can have on employment relationships, understand the perspective of the employer, and clarify their legal rights to assist in planning a work absence and successful return to work.

“Good to know I have rights and advocacy available.”

“Employers have obligations and responsibilities.”

“Learn awareness of avenues to navigate.”

Topics Covered

  • Employee and employer expectations
  • The employment contract (employer and employee obligations)
  • Legal rights and available resources
  • Culpable/non-culpable absences
  • Use of sick leave/lengthy absence from work
  • The right to “accommodation” in the workplace and accompanying responsibilities
  • The right to modified duties, before, during and after treatment
  • Benefit and disability plans and life insurance considerations
  • Returning to work approaches
  • Advocates and how to maintain positive work relationships
  • Disclosure of cancer diagnosis when looking for new work

Benefits and Impact

Financial strain and job loss are common problems experienced by people living with cancer (CPAC, 2019; Iragorri et al., 2021; Longo et al., 2021). Many cancer survivors seek to return to work, and an Albertan study from 2022 found that doing so is among the top three practical concerns for many cancer patients (Link et al., 2022). However, returning to work is not always straightforward, and recent studies suggest that interventions supporting this process are needed for some cancer survivors (Fitch & Nicoll, 2019).   

The Legal and Employment Matters program is designed to help cancer survivors understand their legal rights and obligations as they explore their options for returning to or continuing work. Recent literature has found that informational support such as this is associated with reduced anxiety in people living with cancer (Goerling et al., 2020). 

Program Details



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