COVID-19 - Information for Canadian Heritage employees

Important: Network connectivity

Until further notice, only employees supporting critical services are authorized to access the network during peak hours. Employees who have not been identified as supporting critical departmental services must work off-line during peak hours and only use the remote access system from 6 p.m. on weekdays, or during weekends.

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Network usage

Canadian Heritage must also contribute to public service-wide efforts to address the COVID-19 situation and maintain critical federal government services. As part of PCH’s Business Continuity Plan, only employees who must perform duties related to critical services are being given permission to use the remote network during peak hours.

Employees who have not been identified as supporting these critical departmental services must work off-line during peak hours and only use the remote access system from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekdays, or during weekends.

Priority network access

Senior management has identified employees who are essential to the direct and indirect delivery of critical services. Managers will be contacting you directly to confirm that you have been identified.

If you have received an email from the CIOB Service Desk indicating that you have priority access, you are allowed to connect your laptop or tablet for as long as necessary for work purposes.

If you have not received an email from the CIOB Service Desk indicating that you have priority access, you must work off-line only and must not use the remote access system even in off-peak hours.

We have made this difficult but necessary decision in order to focus all of PCH’s attention on the COVID-19 crisis and to ensure the integrity of the Department's remote network, whose limited capacity has been severely tested over the past week. For those of you who have not been identified as performing a critical service, we thank you for your cooperation and would like to emphasize that we may need to call upon you in future to replace employees identified as performing a critical service or as we adjust to the evolving COVID-19 crisis. At this time, however, your greatest contribution is to refrain from using the remote access system.

Inability to work off-line

If you are not in a position to work off-line, please speak with your manager as you will be eligible for “Other Leave With Pay” (code 699). Please be assured that the use of this leave will not affect your pay since it will be processed only through our human resources system, PeopleSoft.

Flexible working arrangements and leave

Guidance on leave usage

Guidance on leave usage – Table of situations

All employees who are in good health and equipped to work should continue to work remotely, wherever and whenever possible. Employees who have not been identified as having a priority access must work off-line, only.

The provisions for the use of Other Leave with Pay (code 699) are as follows:

  • You would be available for work if not for COVID-19 and attempted to make alternative and/or flexible work arrangements;
  • You discussed options for flexible work arrangements and/or working remotely with your manager before making a leave request;
  • You use this leave in good faith, keeping in mind the need to provide services to Canadians at this time;
  • Managers will need to examine individual cases on their own merits.
Employee Situation Employee is able to work (including full or partial hours) Employee is unable to work (on days where no work is possible)

Employee who is:

  1. diagnosed with COVID-19 or is experiencing related symptoms
  2. at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 as described by the Public Health Agency of Canada
  3. living with a dependent who is at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 as described by the Public Health Agency of Canada
  • as applicable, if identified as having a priority access and feeling well enough to work, telework
  • as applicable, if not identified as having a priority access and feeling well enough to work, telework off the network
  • grant “other leave with pay” – COVID_Illness (699 code COVID_Illness)
Employee whose children cannot attend school school, daycare or summer camp due to a closure or limited access
  • If identified as having a priority access, telework
  • If not identified as having a priority access, telework off the network
  • grant “other leave with pay” – COVID_FamilyCare (699 code –COVID_FamilyCare)
Employee who needs to care for a parent or member of the family who becomes ill from COVID-19
  • If identified as having a priority access, telework
  • If not identified as having a priority access, telework off the network
  • grant “other leave with pay” – COVID_FamilyCare (699 code – COVID_FamilyCare)
Employees who are not equipped to work remotely or who were not granted access to the worksite
  • If some equipment/work is available, telework on days when work is available and a presence at the worksite is not required
  • grant “other leave with pay” – COVID_Technology and/or COVID_WorkLimitation (699 code COVID_Technology and/or COVID_WorkLimitation):
  • COVID_Technology: Where there is limited technology, including access to VPN or lack of equipment/working tools to perform the duties remotely;
  • COVID_WorkLimitation: Where work is limited because the Business Continuity Plan is activated and access to the network is restricted to employees supporting critical services or where access to the worksite has not been granted

Note: as the situation progresses, it may be necessary to apply alternative work arrangements.

If you need additional guidance, please contact the Emergency Management team at 819-997-6932 or via the generic mail box.

How to submit a request for leave with pay for other reasons (Code 699)

Once a week, please send your leave request form (PDF format, 364 KB) or an e-mail approved by the manager holding financial delegation under section 34 of the Financial Administration Act to the generic box of the Departmental Compensation Liaison Team. Please also indicate the cumulative total of hours off and the reason for using the code.

Please refer to the Guidance on leave usage for examples of situations requiring the use of leave with pay for other reasons. Should you have any questions regarding leave requests, please do not hesitate to contact the Departmental Compensation Liaison Team.

You may use your personal e-mail address to do so, so that you do not have to log on to the remote network. If you do not have access to a computer, please contact your manager who can make the necessary arrangements with the Compensation Liaison Team.

Please note that these measures may be subject to change at any time as directed by the central agencies.

Students, casuals and term employees of less than three months

The Chief Human Resources Officer recommends that managers use their discretion to extend paid leave for students, casual workers and term employees of less than three months. They may also be affected by pandemic measures, when they are required to stay home to telework, isolate themselves voluntarily, or when they are placed in quarantine.

Leave with pay should only be granted to students, casual workers and term employees of less than three months if their work is scheduled and they must be absent from work for hours they would otherwise have worked. Under no circumstances should paid leave be extended beyond the period of employment.

This provision applies to employees in these categories whose first day of work began on or before March 17, 2020.

This directive will be re-evaluated on April 10, 2020.

For more information, please consult the following infographic: Guidance on leave usage.

Travel

Federal and provincial public health officials recommend that all travellers from abroad be isolated for 14 days. As such, we ask all employees to inform their managers if they have travelled or plan to travel for personal reasons. While we are concerned about respecting the privacy of our employees, this measure will go a long way to limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our communities.

Due to COVID-19, travel should be limited and only approved on an exceptional basis.  The following considerations should be made prior to approving any travel:

  • Health and safety of the employee;
  • Necessity of the travel;
  • Can the travel be delayed;
  • Alternative ways to meet the requirement (e.g. virtual meetings);
  • Travel restrictions in your region, as well as inside and outside of Canada;
  • Requirement of 14 day self-isolation for some travel locations;
  • Measures employees need to take while on travel status (masks, sanitizers etc.);
  • Increased travel costs.

Employee health

Mental health

As the current situation may create uncertainty and anxiety, the Treasury Board Secretariat has developed online resources to provide guidance to federal employees. We encourage you to consult these resources and seek the assistance you need, including contacting the 24-7 Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

What to do in case of disease?

As a rule, employees supporting critical services should work from home.
At all times, the privacy of the employee must be respected.
Contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if you feel the need.

Employee is symptomatic and awaiting diagnosis of COVID-19
Employee
Manager
  • Contact the Emergency Management Team at 819-997-6932 or via the generic mail box.
  • Remind the employee to follow the advice of their provincial public health authority.
  • If the Emergency Management Team determines that an office disinfection plan is necessary, contact:
    • Les Terrasses de la Chaudière Complex National Service Call Centre at 1-800-463-1850.
    • Regions only: contact your Regional Administrative Services Manager.
Emergency Management Team
  • Provide advice and guidance to managers.
  • Determine the measures to be taken (cleaning, communication, and other), if applicable.
Facilities Management
  • Provide advice and guidance to Regional Administrative Services Managers.
  • Provide cleaning service for buildings not served by PSPC.
Employee is symptomatic and received a positive diagnosis of COVID-19
Employee
Manager
  • Contact the Emergency Management Team at 819-997-6932 or via the generic mail box.
  • Remind the employee to follow the advice of their provincial public health authority.
  • If the Emergency Management Team determines that an office disinfection plan is necessary, contact:
    • Les Terrasses de la Chaudière Complex National Service Call Centre at 1-800-463-1850.
    • Regions only: contact your Regional Administrative Services Manager.
Emergency Management Team
  • Provide advice and guidance to managers.
  • Determine the measures to be taken (cleaning, communication to employees, and other), if applicable.
Facilities Management
  • Provide advice and guidance to Regional Administrative Services Managers.
  • Provide cleaning service for buildings not served by PSPC.
Employee declares that a member of his immediate entourage is symptomatic and awaiting diagnosis of COVID-19
Employee
Manager
Emergency Management Team
  • Provide advice and guidance to managers.
  • Determine the measures to be taken (communication, and other), if applicable.
Employee declares that a member of his immediate entourage is symptomatic and received a positive diagnosis of COVID-19
Employee
Manager
Emergency Management Team
  • Provide advice and guidance to managers.
  • Determine the measures to be taken (communication, and other), if applicable.

Temporary Public Service Health Care Plan changes

Making sure that our employees have support for the health care they need during this pandemic is very important. For this reason, here is a message from the Chief Human Resources Officer.

The Government of Canada has implemented temporary changes to the Public Service Health Care Plan. These new measures are designed to help plan members and their eligible dependents access healthcare benefits, while at the same time, minimizing their social interaction with healthcare professionals as well as supporting the social distancing directive.

In summary, these measures include:

  • extending travel emergency benefits;
  • relaxing the dispensing limit for maintenance medications and allow the pharmacist to exercise professional discretion whether to dispense the medication sooner;
  • accepting claims for social workers as mental health professionals;
  • removing the requirement for a prescription for mental health and physiotherapy services.

These temporary changes will be in effect until April 24, 2020, with the possibility of being extended.

More information on these changes is available on canada.ca. Plan members who require assistance with travel-related medical emergencies in Canada and the United States should call Allianz toll-free at 1-800-667-2883. Those in all other countries should call Allianz collect at 519-742-1342.

Important contacts

PCH Emergency Management team

Email
pch.gestiondesurgences-emergencymanagement.pch@canada.ca
Telephone
819-997-6932

Employee Assistance Program

24 hours a day / 365 days a year

Telephone
1-800-268-7708
TTY
1-800-567-5803

Office of Values and Ethics

Telephone
819-956-9060
Telephone
toll-free
1-800-675-6811
TTY
819-997-3123
Email
PCH.bve-ove.PCH@canada.ca

Departmental Compensation Liaison Team

Email
PCH.remuneration-compensation.PCH@canada.ca
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