FAQ: Working Remotely

Note: This page has been archived and is no longer in use. For the most up-to-date COVID-19 FAQs, please consult the new Defence Team COVID-19 FAQs web page.

Has any thought been given to those who prefer to work remotely from home on a more permanent basis?

These unprecedented times have demonstrated how many of us can work remotely and be productive in a virtual environment. New ways of working have been established during this crisis and managers should be encouraging employees and supporting them for the best possible experience, given the circumstances. Moving into Business Resumption, there will be a need for all managers to discuss with their employees their preferences for remote work and/or return to the workplace, map employee availability against operational requirements, determine the feasibility from an infrastructure and a health and safety perspective. Should managers authorize remote work, the Flexible Work Program assists employees and managers to understand their accountabilities and all available options – as well as the impacts and considerations – in the current environment and into the future.

Flexible work agreements are used to provide flexibility in the workforce while maintaining operational readiness. While it provides flexibility, it is not a tool to address work or personal limitations/challenges or other issues.

As many of us continue to work from home, what options are available to Defence Team members to off-set the cost of a home office?

Defence Team members should have a discussion with their manager regarding their current remote work set up and what their needs are. Managers need to ensure Defence Team members are working safely and effectively.

  • If Defence Team members need IT equipment, this is to come from DND’s current internal inventory or should be procured for them through regular means.
  • If Defence Team members require ergonomic or support equipment/supplies, they should be allowed access to the workplace to pick up their own equipment from their office space, where feasible.
  • As per OCHRO guidance, if any Defence Team members require additional equipment it could be purchased through established standing offers and have it delivered to the members remote work site. This equipment will remain DND assets.

RC Managers have the discretion to determine what should be reimbursed for Defence Team members with receipts up to $300 for out of pocket expenses from 13 March 2020 to March 2021. Up to $500 may be approved in extenuating circumstances, with L1 approval and accountability to the Deputy Minister/Chief of Defence Staff. Any equipment or supplies reimbursed by DND will not be DND property.

The intent of providing a reimbursement during the timeframe of March 13 to September 15 was to support those who may have made a purchase in the early days of the pandemic in order to conduct their work. The reimbursement is not intended to provide options for people who desire to make any purchases, nor is it meant to cover expenses for equipment that already exists, or IT equipment that can, and should, be acquired through the Department.

For detailed information on reimbursements and reimbursement requests, Defence Team members should follow the procedure laid out in the remote work reimbursement support message.

I’m having connectivity issues. I regularly attend between 1-5 meetings a day online. At present, if I work from the office I am cut off from the world. Would it be possible to have portable Wi-Fi hotspots, wire Wi-Fi stations, increasing the # of GPNet stations, or increasing the bandwidth on DWAN for team meetings?

Users can leverage GC Wi-Fi Services present on some bases and wings or at NDHQ Carling in Ottawa to access the DWAN or full Defence 365 capabilities on their personal devices. If you are having issues connecting to this network, please contact your service desk.

For further information concerning GC Wi-Fi, please consult:

http://intranet.mil.ca/assets/DefenceTeam/docs/en/adm-pa/carling-campus/2019/ndhq-carling-gc-wifi-poster.pdf (only accessible via the DWAN)

Are two forms required for Flexible Work Agreement for compressed days AND working remotely?

No, there is one form (Civilian Flexible Work Agreement) used by civilian employees and their managers to document and approve all flexible work option(s). Meaning that an employee may request more than one flexible work option such as remote work and compressed which is then formalized/documented on the Flexible Work Agreement [PDF]. Please see Guidance document and Instructions for assistance in completing a Civilian Flexible Work Agreement.

It should also be noted that an employee's work schedule must respect collective agreement conditions and compressed work schedules must be entered into the Phoenix Pay System.

Managers unable to enter the schedule can contact HR Connect to obtain the assistance of a timekeeper.

As a CAF member who is working remotely full time, can I work remotely from a location other than my own home? (While adhering to CAF and provincial COVID-19 policies)

We recommend that you work directly with your chain of command as they will know the specifics about your duties, operational requirements, and regional travel restrictions & isolation policies that may impact your return. For more information, please consult the latest CANFORGEN 038/22 (only accessible via the DWAN).

Has there been any consideration to allow public service employees to relocate to another province to work remotely?

Direction regarding telework and supporting remote work is issued by the Office of the Chief Human Resource Officer (OCHRO) within the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS). This guidance has generally provided high-level direction, while allowing individual departments and their sub-delegated managers to decide when and where remote work is possible. Remote work is dependent on many variables such as the type of work being performed, the requirement to attend critical functions at the workplace, a regional service delivery model vs. a national service delivery model, etc.

Employees must consult with their managers to determine the feasibility of full-time remote work and establish a Flexible Work Agreement that stipulates an agreed upon work location. It should be noted that a position’s suitability for remote work may change and Flexible Work Agreements are to be reviewed quarterly and updated accordingly, per the ADM(HR-Civ) Directive to Managers on Managing a flexible and varied civilian workforce.

Is there a software tool for DND users that will scan the contents of emails being sent out or received that will provide a “safe” message?

All emails entering and leaving DND’s enterprise networks are scanned for malicious content by several security technologies. Every day, thousands of malicious emails, phishing, spam, malvertisement and other nuisance messages are stopped by our email security layers.

DND’s email system also includes other safeguards such as removal of active contents and embedded links, to further limit potential compromise through phishing.

Email is a critical information system protected in partnership between DND’s Information System Security practitioners, Defence Network Operations Center, Shared Services Canada and the Canadian Center for Cyber Security at Canadian Security Establishment. For more information about best practices and what you can do to maintain the Defence Team’s security, please visit: DND/CAF Security Guide for Teleworking during the COVID-19 Response - Canada.ca.

Who is eligible for the Remote Work Reimbursement?

According to the latest CANFORGEN 029/22 (only accessible via the DWAN), Defence Team members performing their normal, full time assigned duties from home due to the pandemic are eligible to be reimbursed. Contractors and CAF class a reservists are not eligible to claim any expenses.

For more information on eligibility, please consult your Chain of Command or the latest CANFORGEN 029/22 (only accessible via the DWAN).

As many of us continue to work from home, what options are available to Defence Team members to offset the cost of a home office?

Defence Team members should have a discussion with their manager regarding their current remote work set up and what their needs are. Managers need to ensure Defence Team members are working safely and effectively.

  • If Defence Team members need IT equipment, this is to come from DND’s current internal inventory or should be procured for them through regular means.
  • If Defence Team members require ergonomic or support equipment/supplies, they should be allowed access to the workplace to pick up their own equipment from their office space, where feasible.
  • As per OCHRO guidance, if any Defence Team members require additional equipment it could be purchased through established standing offers and have it delivered to the members remote work site. This equipment will remain DND assets.

For detailed information on reimbursements and reimbursement requests, Defence Team members should consult the latest CANFORGEN 029/22 (only accessible via the DWAN).

The remote work reimbursement was last updated August 3, 2021. When will this be updated? I didn't have any items to claim this fiscal year until now, but it’s been denied.

New guidance on remote work reimbursement was issued in March 2022: CANFORGEN 029/22 (only accessible via the DWAN).

We suggest you:

  • Consult the latest CANFORGEN 029/22 (only accessible via the DWAN) to find out if your request meets the criteria for authorization; and
  • Consult your Chain of Command for updated instructions on how to submit a request, since reimbursement processes vary by L1.

Is there a reimbursement of miscellaneous expenses to CAF members and public service personnel due to COVID-19 for FY 22/23 (CANFORGEN 029/22 ADM FIN 001/22 011800z mar 22)? If not, is there a way to get supplies/desk/chair reimbursed?

There is reimbursement of work related miscellaneous expenses incurred between March 13, 2020 and March 31, 2022 by CAF and civilian personnel who received authorization to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, DND will not reimburse any expenses incurred after 2022.

In addition, there is a temporary tax credit that covers work related expenses incurred between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2022. CAF members and civilian personnel who worked more than 50 per cent of the time from home for a period of at least four consecutive weeks in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic are allotted a maximum amount of:

  • $400 per individual in 2020, and
  • $500 per individual in 2021 and in 2022.

The flat rate method is intended to simplify claims for home office expenses related to workspace, in-home expenses, office supply and telephone. Further detail is available on the Canada Revenue Agency’s Home office expenses for employees’ page.

If I am working in the office and a coworker is working remotely and texts my personal phone due to their connection issues, will I be compensated for using my personal device at work?

Currently, there is no Defence-wide policy to manage these occurrences.

As such, decisions related to the reimbursement of costs associated with the use of personal devices (i.e. cell phones) will be in accordance with each Defence Team member’s Chain of Command.

Any reimbursement would have to be drawn from individual budgets and approved in consultation with the Chain of Command responsible for overseeing budgets.

Also, depending on the circumstance, personal cell phone expenses incurred in 2020, 2021, and 2022 could be claimed through the personal tax credit. Further detail is available on the Canada Revenue Agency’s Home office expenses for employees’ page.

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