I am considering the possibility of getting a dental bone graft because I have bone loss in a tooth and this would prevent me from getting an implant. This procedure is technically not required for me, but it was suggested by my periodontist. It's a tough surgery that can take between 1 to 2 weeks to heal (or so I read).

Now, my company offers paid sick time and paid time off.

My question is: am I supposed to use my PTO for this? I was always under the impression that paid sick time was for when you became unpredictably sick. In my case I would know well in advance when I would have surgery.

I know I should ask HR, and I'm going to, but I wanted to hear about other people's experiences. If it matters, I'm in Canada.

1 Answer 1


Much may depend on your contract and, possibly, whether you are covered by a union agreement. In a 2009 case, following refusal by an employer, Canadian labour arbitrators awarded an employee sick pay coverage for time off while she recovered from cosmetic skin removal surgery. The employer had sought to rely on a clause in the employee's union agreement that excluded absences for "illness resulting from commission by you of a criminal offence, engagement in an illegal occupation, willfully self-inflicted injury, or war." The employer said the cosmetic surgery was a "self-inflicted injury". The labour arbitrators disagreed.

North Bay General Hospital v. Ontario Nurses’ Assn. [2009] OLAA No. 47, 181 LAC (4th) 179 (Stephens)

Employee Time Off for Cosmetic Surgery

Read your contract carefully to see what it excludes. The report I linked to was intended for US employers who have employees in Canada and it advises them of the importance of "carefully worded" exclusion clauses in employment contracts. So read yours, and if you are in a union, seek their advice.

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