FAQ: Training and Facilities

Can I continue to take training?

Yes you can! While all CSPS classroom courses have been suspended until further notice CSPS does have all of its online courses available, including self-paced required training and language maintenance tools, which remain available through your GCcampus account.

Note: GCcampus is accessible through public networks. You do not need to connect to the GC network to access it.

There are personnel who don't have access to the DLN while at home. How can we provide them with the COVID-19 awareness training? Is it a hard requirement to have that training before returning to work? Can have the training delivered in a large room (to enable distancing) upon their arrival?

Supervisors should ensure that their employees all receive the training before or immediately upon their return either at a DWAN computer or in a classroom. Employees who do not have access to the DLN through the DWAN while at home can log in to the DLN’s external site to take their training: https://dln-rad.forces.gc.ca/login. If you need to create a DLN account, reset your password or need to change your profile email address to a personal email address, please contact the DLN Helpdesk by email: DLN-RAD@FORCES.GC.CA.

Note that response times might be longer than usual due to high demand.

What extra cleaning and sanitation measures are in place within DND/CAF common spaces to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19?

We are implementing comprehensive measures to ensure the health and safety of our teams in whatever locations they work across the country.

The department adheres to the directives and guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada, as well as national and provincial regulations and best practices, regarding the cleaning and sanitation of workplaces. The standard cleaning protocols have been augmented to include additional cleaning and disinfecting at high-touch areas twice daily (versus once daily). In certain circumstances, such as a known respiratory infection outbreak or under the advice of the Senior Medical Authority, it may be necessary to increase the frequency of environmental cleaning to reduce and control the spread of microorganisms.

PHAC guidance can be found at the following link: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/cleaning-disinfecting-public-spaces.html

Is there any intention on looking at infrastructure requirements and downsizing the physical DND footprint? What is the future of Workplace 2.0?

DND’s space portfolio has been and will continue to be strategically managed based on infrastructure requirements. DND aims to provide modern and flexible workplace solutions that respond in a timely manner. It also aims to deliver an effectively managed accommodation portfolio that provides the best value for money and supports the provision of space required to deliver current and future operational capabilities.

Workplace 2.0 is no longer the Government Fit-up Standard. The Government of Canada Workplace Fit-up Standard (GCworkplace) is the new vision for the Government of Canada workplace. This new Standard remains valid and must be applied to all office accommodations within PSPC leased space. It provides the baseline for the establishment of innovative activity-based work environments that accommodate diverse work styles, meet accessibility requirements, support alternative work strategies, incorporate modern technology, and include sustainable design principles. A key element of an activity-based workplace is a strong virtual environment, which supports mobile, collaborative and remote working.

For more information on GCworkplace, visit this GCPedia page (accessible on Government of Canada network only) or send an email to tpsgc.amenagement-fitup.pwgsc@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca for questions and comments.

Are ventilation systems going to be inspected against the spread of COVID-19? Have appropriate experts assessed the risks of the potential spread of COVID-19 via ventilation systems in DND/CAF facilities? If so, will the assessments be made available to DT members, and if not, are such assessments planned?

We are implementing comprehensive measures to ensure the health and safety of our teams in whatever locations they work across the country. Addressing the COVID-19 environment and working on mitigating risks is being addressed with the same level of seriousness and diligence as any other risk to our Defence Team members’ health and safety, including fires and hazardous material.

In terms of inspection and maintenance, whether DND owned or rented, our workspaces are cleaned, operated, ventilated and inspected according to PHAC directives, as well as national and provincial regulations and best practices.

We know that there is more research underway to better understand if a relationship between COVID-19 spread and ventilation systems exists, and we are monitoring public health advice for any recommended updates to our current practices.

As it is now, my neighbour and I sit only a few feet apart with a short divider wall between us. Does this abide by the prescribed PHM?

We are doing everything possible to ensure that our Defence Team members are returning to a safe environment and these discussions will take place before anyone returns to their place of work. If maintaining a 2 metre physical distance is impossible, masks are to be worn by all implicated employees. In addition, all communal and personal surfaces must be routinely disinfected.

Please speak to your local CoC or manager to understand how to obtain NMM in your location.

Upon my return to the workplace, I noticed that DND facilities have no temperature - checkpoints. Will temperature check-points be implemented?

We are looking at implementing a screening, testing and contact tracing regime, but we must ensure the confidentiality and privacy of our military members and public servants. In the near future, as there is more staggered onboarding of personnel, you may be required to answer simple questions about your health and there may be a temperature check. If you are feeling unwell, or exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, your manager or supervisor may ask you to go home or stay home. More direction on screening, testing and contact tracing will be provided by the CDS and DM.

Are workplace shower and change facilities open?

Whether shower facilities are or will be available at your work location will be dependent upon local conditions/restrictions. Please engage with your local chain of command or supervisor for information relevant to your region.

What safety measures are being implemented to protect personnel during partial resumption of training?

We continuously review the practices and procedures necessary to conduct training in a safe manner and CFLRS is in constant communication with our chain of command, military Health Services experts, and regional civilian health authorities concerning the prevention of COVID-19 when training resumes. Some of the preventative measures include, but are not limited to;

  • Ongoing health monitoring of all personnel;
  • Rigorous practicing of public health measures including physical distancing and proper hygiene techniques.
  • The issuance of non-medical masks to all members of the Defence Team for use when the maintenance of physical distancing protocols are not possible;
  • Ensuring all staff, instructors and students are trained on and practice the response plan to an outbreak within CFLRS or the surrounding community;
  • Training will, initially, resume at a reduced capacity to ensure that all involved remain safe and healthy. Capacity will increase if and only when local conditions permit this; and;
  • Training and students will be contained within military facilities and locations until such time as the local situation permits otherwise.

Why aren't the keypads at the Carling Campus guardhouses and buildings sanitized after each use?

Alcohol based solutions are available at all entry points to ensure that safety of personnel is preserved. Since personnel have contact with other surfaces on their way in (doors handles, their own bags, etc.) it is better to ensure access to sinks and alcohol based solution to sanitize employee’s hands. Additionally, the standard cleaning protocols has been augmented to include additional cleaning and disinfecting at high-touch areas twice daily (versus once daily) which includes the keypads.

Are DND/CAF fitness facilities open?

We understand how important fitness options are for both the physical and mental health of our Defence Team members. The availability of DND fitness facilities will be dependent on local/regional restrictions. Many factors need to be considered, including but not limited to the public health conditions in your part of the country, so we recommend you consult with your local chain of command.

In lieu of fitness facilities, we encourage Defence Team members to find ways to stay active outside or in their homes to stay healthy and relieve stress.

Cleaning personal work stations (keyboard, mouse, monitor, etc) has been the responsibility of the cubicle owner. Will cleaning contracts be updated to ensure workspaces are frequently cleaned?

Cleaning will be increased to twice daily in high-touch areas (ex: door handles, entry keypads, washrooms). Each office is responsible for ensuring that there is sufficient cleaning supplies in the office for employees to wipe down and disinfect their work stations.

The DM has a tracing and tracking mechanism for military members only. Given the # of NCR civilians IT security should be reviewed to permit Bluetooth with COVID-19 APP in all work areas since the health risk is higher than IT security.

Current security policy permits Mobile Wireless Devices (MWD), such as cellphones with Bluetooth capability, to be used in the following physical security zones: Public Access Zone, Reception Zone and Operations Zone. These cover the vast majority of areas occupied by the DND/CAF. The local commander, however, has the discretion to prohibit or control MWD within their area of responsibility based on security risks or operational impact and personnel should always consult their local orders/directives.

With the exception of approved medical devices, such as hearing aids, MWD remain prohibited in Security Zones and High Security Zones. These zones make up a small percentage of the overall area occupied by DND/CAF personnel and house our most sensitive information and assets.

The DND/CAF continuously reassess security risks and update the security policies to ensure they are achieving their objectives and are aligned with the vision and direction of the DND/CAF senior leadership. Should either variable change the security policy will be updated to reflect it.

Enhanced clean can be ordered by Management in the case of a potential COVID-19 contact) what does enhanced cleaning mean in the context of COVID-19?

Enhanced cleaning means a thorough wipe down of all surface areas and high touch points in the affected office space with anti-viral materials and wipes.

Why is Borden imposing students from within the province to self-isolate for 14 days prior to attending training in residence?

The health, safety, and overall wellness of all members of the Defence Team and their families is of highest priority and a responsibility that Military Personnel Command and therefore CFB Borden takes very seriously. The decision to institute a 14 day self-isolation period for candidates attending in-person training at any Military Personnel Command Training Establishment including CFB Borden, takes into account advice from military Health Services experts, and regional civilian health authorities concerning the prevention of COVID-19. This directive takes into account the risk factors and mitigation measures unique to military training, and is constantly reviewed to determine the level of isolation required prior to attending any course. Self-isolating at home prior to arriving on base is one measure that helps protect our ability to maintain in-person courses. While it might not always be a federal, provincial or municipal requirement, it is consistent with force health protection practice in allied armed forces. It is a medically sound method of minimizing the risk of transmission of COVID-19, and mitigates the risk of members potentially becoming a vector of COVID-19 into our community.

What parameters must be considered when determining maximum number of people scheduled in office as part of business resumption? Only ensuring 2m distance can be respected while in your work space? Or are there other factors to be considered (air quality issues/ lunch room capacity/number of washrooms, etc.)?

According to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Conditions for Business Resumption guidance, OHS conditions, policies, standards, and procedures for returning to work will be developed locally by the employer in consultation with Workplace Health and Safety Committees (WHSC) and Health and Safety (H&S) representatives, in accordance with the Canada Labour Code, Part II, and its accompanying regulations, as well as managers, supervisors, and employees. Conditions for business resumption will be developed and adapted locally based on the specific nature of tasks, workplaces, and environment. OHS considerations for determining business resumption procedures, including the maximum number of personnel permitted to return to work, shall include air quality, potable water quality, sanitary and effective storm system operations, general infrastructure hygiene (including waste and sanitation facilities and systems), dust, and pest infestations.

Public Health Measures (PHMs) are the most important control intervention currently in use. It is critical that all personnel returning to their workplace fully understand all PHMs that they must practice at all times, including physical distancing, cough etiquette, frequent hand washing, routine cleaning of high touch areas, and number of personnel permitted at the workplace. All Non-Medical Mask (NMM) and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protocols must be adhered to at all times if social distancing cannot be maintained. If you have questions about the implementation of the PHMs at your workplace, please raise the issue with your direct supervisor or local Chain of Command.

Why are the base chapels still closed while we continue to work with restrictions? This is a mental health service.

The local Base Commander is the authority on deciding whether chapels are closed or open. Chaplain Team leaders regularly assess the risk, of allowable gathering within their provincial restrictions, and determine on a case-by-case basis whether chapels will re-open and, if so, in what configuration. This determination is used to advise local the Base Commander.

Chaplain Services have been working hard throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the Duty Chaplain is always available to you, 24/7. Policies are evolving in a dynamic environment while observing local health measures, policies, guidelines, and protocols. While Base Chapels may have been closed, the Chaplaincy is always available. If you have specific needs that require physically attending your local Base Chapel, you are encouraged to contact your local Chaplain Services, who can make arrangements to be physically present if needed, and can inform you on how special events are being organized in your location.

With regards to military physical training, most bases have a central gym and multiple smaller gyms at each unit/squadron. Wouldn't it be advisable that we utilize all work out areas to reduce the volume of personnel in one location?

Base commanders are empowered to make decisions based on local/regional public health guidance and conditions. Decisions around the resumption of morale and welfare services are made by working with local health and safety committees and CFMWS.

Bases and Wings have central physical training facilities intended to accommodate the majority of fitness programming. Some units, due to unique operational and occupational requirements, such as shift-work and specific physical demands, require additional access to facilities and equipment. These facilities fulfill specific requirements and are typically only accessible by specific groups.

If you have concerns about physical training sessions at your location, or have a suggestion, please discuss it with your local Senior Manager PSP and/or your local Chain of Command or supervisor.

My wife is with the Cameron Highlanders in Ottawa. I’m high-risk, but she feels bullied into attending training. Despite her being a reservist and not falling under the National Defence Act when off-duty as a Class A Reservist, it has been implied that there will be ramifications if she does not go. What can we do?

The Commanding Officer of the Cameron Highlanders has now made it clear to all members of the unit that forcing or bullying anyone into parading in person or attending training is unacceptable, and that the personal and family situation of members must be respected. Only those essential personnel directly linked to Force Generation/Employment in support of operations, as well as foundational Individual Training, are required to parade, and at this time this is limited to full-time instructor cadre and support staff.

CAF members who feel that they are being bullied or treated unfairly are urged to bring their concerns to their chain of command. Members can also utilize available dispute resolution mechanisms, starting with informal/alternative and escalating to formal (e.g. harassment complaint), if necessary.

Why is the RMC allowing 400 students to return to Kingston for a virtual graduation while Ontario is under a stay-at-home order?

The Class of 2021 must return to the Royal Military College (RMC) to accomplish essential administrative duties prior to the start of their force generation training in the Canadian Armed Forces. In addition, these cadets must retrieve their personal effects and will need this gear before starting their next phase of military training.

Prior to entering the RMC Peninsula, all personnel are required to complete COVID-19 screening, and provide contact information for contact tracing. The number of people on campus is always kept to a minimum. The returning cadets will be limited to the RMC peninsula until otherwise directed and will have a 14-day period of modified self-isolation (remaining in their rooms except for individual physical training and to pick up their meals). During these 14 days, mandatory activities such as military training and education will be done virtually. Any in-person activities will take place respecting all public health measures (PHM), provincial orders, and Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Kingston directives that are in effect.

The PHM in place on the RMC campus and the RMC plan have been endorsed by CFB Kingston, assessed by Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox & Addington Public Health, and meet all general public health and workplace safety measures. The plan was approved by RMC’s chain of command.

Since sending cadets home in April 2020, RMC has had almost 1,000 students return throughout the year. Not a single case of COVID-19 has been introduced by these students, nor has there been an outbreak. As such, the entire RMC community will continue to work together to preserve physical and mental health and safety of everyone on campus and in the Kingston community.

How will the CAF catch up on training and recruitment backlogs that occurred due to COVID?

According to the latest CDS/DM Directive for CAF/DND Activities in a COVID-19 Environment, the continuation of training and recruiting remain top priorities for CAF, and plans continue to develop for the conduct of these activities in a latent COVID-19 environment. At this time, it is not possible to know the extent of the impact that COVID-19 will have on Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) recruitment and training but the CAF has adapted to virtual training, where possible, and has rigorously applied the layered risk mitigation strategy and Public Health Agency of Canada guidelines to recruitment and training activities. The implications of deferred training and recruitment are being assessed and careful planning and preparations are ongoing to ensure that personnel, resources, and equipment are ready. Every effort is being made to ensure the CAF/DND workforce is safe while making progress where possible on critical activities like recruitment and training.

Why are CAF members still paying mess dues while facilities are closed and not providing services to their members? Will members be reimbursed or allowed to claim the expense on their T4s?

According to guidance from the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services and CAF policy, all members must belong and pay mess dues which are used to fully or partially subsidize various mess activities. Even though some messes have been closed, the mess committees have organized some events for their membership, such as: gift cards, drive through wing nights, virtual events and bingo, etc. If the mess committee has limited ways to organise events (which they should not), they will have to plan a major event when the mess re-opens.

If you have any mess related issues or concerns, you can connect with your mess committee and/or discuss with your chain of command as the mess falls under their authority.

Are the use of fans in a COVID-19 environment permitted in DND buildings?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Government of Canada COVID-19 guidance on indoor ventilation during the pandemic, in the absence of a proper ventilation system, increasing outdoor air as much as possible by opening doors and windows and using fans is recommended. Improving indoor air quality through increased ventilation and drawing air from outside is encouraged. Be careful to not open windows and doors that may pose a health and safety risk for occupants (i.e., risk of falling or of increasing outdoor environmental contaminates such as carbon monoxide, molds, or pollen). Be mindful that a ventilation system, or ventilating outdoor air with fans, is not a replacement for Public Health Measures (PHMs), such a physical distancing, wearing a face covering, frequent hand washing, and regular surface cleaning. If you are using a fan to ventilate outdoor air in your space, ensure the air stream is aimed away from people to prevent the spread of potentially infectious droplets.

Where can I find updated guidance on physical training?

For the most up-to-date guidance concerning physical training at your location, see the CAF Connection webpage COVID-19 update. Select your location to find out the fitness facility re-opening operating procedures that apply to your region. Fitness facilities will be following restrictions regarding Health and Safety protocols and procedures during re-opening, including reduced capacity, enhance cleaning, and advanced booking requirements, in order to ensure a safe fitness environment with physical distancing and contact tracing. CFMWS/PSP is mindful of the changing local and regional restrictions and will remain responsive to DND/CAF guidance. For more information regarding physical training at your location, please contact your local PSP manager.

Other Government of Canada buildings have started to upgrade their ventilation system to align with laboratory standards. When will DND be doing the same? What measures is DND taking to retrofit our workspace to make them safer? Will there be additional measures in place to increase the frequency of air testing?

DND has initiated a series of local projects to adapt DND infrastructure and protect personnel. With the outbreak of COVID-19, technical and medical authorities have recommended that we operate and maintain ventilation systems according to applicable construction codes and standards. While work is already being done to bring buildings and systems up to code, particular attention has been given to maintaining ventilation systems to make sure they meet the current construction standards and guidelines.

In addition to the public health measures in place in all DND facilities, DND has also been installing protective measures such as plexiglass barriers in client service areas. Regarding air testing, this is primarily the responsibility of Preventive Medicine (link only accessible on the DWAN) and will only be conducted if and when a need or requirement has been identified.

Questions about specific DND/CAF locations or facilities can be raised locally by contacting Real Property Operations (link only accessible on the DWAN).

For booking meeting rooms for training, is the maximum capacity still at 10 people? Is there any indication if this will be changing in the near future?

Limits on indoor gatherings vary from region to region. For information on the maximum capacity for meeting rooms at your specific location, please talk to your supervisor or Chain of Command, and check-in with your local public health authority. As restrictions change, DND/CAF will continue to take provincial/territorial public health guidance and local conditions into consideration when applying and adjusting Public Health Measures at DND/CAF facilities and locations.

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