For more information about hepatitis C and work, see the pamphlet “Hepatitis C in the Workplace.” People can choose whether or not to tell healthcare providers about their HCV infection.People with hepatitis C do not have a legal duty to tell them.Employers and unions cannot fire or treat a person negatively because he or she is infected with HCV or needs some time off because of symptoms of hepatitis C or side effects of hepatitis C treatment.
Generally, they do not have to disclose health information to other people unless they choose to do so.
Also, healthcare professionals and staff cannot tell other people about someone’s health information unless they are given permission (known as “consent”) to disclose the information.
The hepatitis C virus is not transmitted by casual contact, such as sharing dishes, shaking hands and hugging.
But blood and items that come in contact with blood may be infectious to other people.
(See below for information about “Sharing drugs and drug equipment” and “Having sex.”) Because HCV is not transmitted through casual day-to-day contact, employees do not have to disclose to employers or unions that they have hepatitis C.
Employers cannot ask about a hepatitis C infection during the application or interview process.
This means that when a person is diagnosed with HCV his or her name (and likely other information) is given to local, provincial or territorial Public Health.
Public Health officials have a responsibility to monitor cases of infectious diseases, including hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C infection is considered a “disability” under antidiscrimination law in Canada.
It is illegal for an employer or union to harass or discriminate against a person because of a “disability,” even if the only thing that limits the person’s ability to do the job is prejudice or stereotypes about the disability.
However, people are encouraged to think about the benefits of disclosing to healthcare staff.