Federal officials are frustrated with face-to-face return-to-work plans

Treasury Board said there were none no one-size-fits-all approach and that the deputy ministers of each department have the power to direct how their staff conduct that return.

However, some public sector workers are frustrated by the lack of consistency.

We don’t see a clear direction on what the return to work should look likesays Sharon DeSousa, national vice chair of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), a union representing about 200,000 workers across the country.

She says she heard union members talk about a feeling the instability about returning to work, particularly how plans differ from department to department.

Ms. DeSousa believes employees deserve a safe and healthy work environment, adding that everyone’s mental health has suffered during the pandemic. Employees need to know the government has their back, she says. They need consistency, they need support, they need to make sure their health and well-being is taken care of, and they need clear communication.

Vague guidelines

Kristina MacLean, an officer working for the Department of Defense, said she’s told her employer that she prefers a hybrid work model, but the guidelines are vague.

We did the job, we showed that we can do the job. Now everyone has to be a little flexibleshe argues.

Ms. MacLean regrets the lack of consistency across departments and has no hesitation in describing the situation as main problem.

So far it is at the discretion of the employermentions them. Depending on your department or level, you will be treated differently and may all work in the same office.

If it’s up to the employer alone, how are we going to protect workers’ rights? »

A quote from Kristina MacLean, Federal Officer

In its August Labor Force Survey, Statistics Canada said it continued to see an upward trend in the number of people working under a hybrid model, at 8.6%.

However, Statistics Canada said it had no data on the number of federal civil service employees currently working remotely or in a hybrid model.

differences between departments

CBC contacted various federal agencies regarding their plans to return employees to their jobs. Only the Department of Canadian Heritage did not respond CBC in time for the publication of this article.

  • Canada Revenue Agency mentioned that it would switch to a hybrid working model and gradually increase the number of on-site employees.

  • The Treasury will implement a hybrid schedule with most employees working both in-person and from home, and hopes employees will eventually spend 50% of their time in the office.

  • The Ministry of Justice said it is now rolling out a hybrid working model and that employees who wish to work from home must have approved telework arrangements by October 3. There is currently no department-wide minimum number of days on site.

  • The Ministry of National Defence will gradually transition to a hybrid workforce over the coming months. About 50% of employees worked on-site during the pandemic.

  • The Ministry of Public Security will implement a hybrid model where telecommuting arrangements will be established in collaboration with employee managers. He said the process should be completed by November 2022.

  • Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) says it officially launched its flexible working model on September 6 and that many employees atESDC keep working there.

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada has maintained essential on-site services throughout the pandemic, and in recent months more staff have come to work regularly. By September, all managers must be on site regularly and sustainably, and any employee or manager teleworking must have a signed telecommuting agreement.

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada said a significant number of its employees continued to work on-site during the pandemic, and over the summer employees returned to their offices across the country. Hybrid work arrangements have been put in place and the department has said it expects staff to be in the office one to two days a week.

  • Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada say the health and safety of its employees is a top priority as it transitions to a hybrid workforce.

  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada continues the transition to a hybrid working model.

  • Indigenous Services Canada plans to return to work in the fall,

    through personal presence at least one day per week. Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada holds on to a gradual return to the office for the fall as more staff return to work.

  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is currently implementing a return to office plan. The majority of employees work on a hybrid schedule, working onsite an average of two to three days a week. Depending on their function, some employees have more or fewer days of attendance.

  • Public Services and Procurement Canada is gradually transforming into a hybrid workplace.

  • Transport Canada mentions that each employee has an individual work arrangement with their manager and that employees have the option of returning to full-time on-site work or adopting a hybrid schedule, depending on the needs of their position. Working arrangements are due to be implemented by September and several employees have already worked on site during the pandemic.

  • With information from Safiyah Marhnouj,

Darren Pena

Avid beer trailblazer. Friendly student. Tv geek. Coffee junkie. Total writer. Hipster-friendly internet practitioner. Pop culture fanatic.

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