University Health Centre

Exam Deferrals

Missed Exams & Term Work: Your Rights & Responsibilities

Sometimes unexpected illnesses happens and we have to miss something important like a final exam. What are your rights and responsibilities if you miss a final exam, midterm or term work due to incapacitating illness

If you miss a final exam, here’s what you need to know:

  • Stay home and get well – you can not be required to get a sick note/doctor's note from a physician.
  • Contact your faculty by phone or email as soon as possible to let them know of your absence.
  • Once you are well enough, visit your faculty office and request a deferred examination.

If you miss term work or a midterm:

  • Stay home and get well – you can not be required to get a sick note/doctor's note from a physician.
  • Contact your instructor by phone or email as soon as possible and inform them when you think you'll be well enough to return.
  • Request an excused absence for your midterm or term work from your instructor, and follow his or her instructions.

Can I Get a Doctor's Note From the University Health Centre?

Our doctors believe that it is best not to see a doctor when you are not sick or when you could be at home getting better. If you are currently sick and require medical attention from a doctor, we can provide a medical note to you at that time, if required. If you do not need to see the doctor for medical care, then you should avoid coming to the clinic for a medical note.

FAQ

My instructor/faculty says I need documentation of my illness. What does this mean?  

If you have a prescription or a hospital bracelet, those could be enough to verify your illness. If you require medical attention for your illness and need to see a doctor, you could request a note from the doctor at that time. If you have none of the above and don’t need to see the doctor for immediate medical reasons, then you should sign a statutory declaration form (or similar) at your faculty office or the Registrar’s Office.  

But a doctor’s note carries more weight than any other form of documentation, so shouldn’t I always get a doctor’s note if I miss an exam? 

Many illnesses have few or no objective signs and thus many sick notes have no real value as the doctor can only repeat what the patient says. In contrast, swearing under oath (as for a statutory declaration) carries more weight.  

I have a chronic health condition for which I’ve seen a doctor multiple times this term, and then it flared up such that I couldn’t write my exam. Can I get a doctor’s note?

Yes, in the case of a chronic health condition with multiple doctor visits, a note from the doctor may be very helpful to help document your illness to your instructor/faculty.