CDS/DM Directive on DND/CAF Operating and Reconstituting in a Persistent COVID-19 Environment

February 2022

References

  1. CDS/DM Directive on DND/CAF Reopening Strategy (Summer 2021 Posture), 22 June 2021
  2. VCDS Directive for DND/CAF COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Detection Test (RADT) campaign, 28 May 2021
  3. Defence Team FAQs on COVID-19
  4. National Joint Council (NJC) Travel Directive
  5. Treasury Board (TB) Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures
  6. CANFORGEN 102/20 Leave- Entitlements and Usage in a Pandemic Environment, 23 July 2020 (accessible only on the National Defence network)
  7. CANFORGEN 152/20 – Use of Special Leave for Quarantine Purposes: Domestic Travel or Travel to Another Country from Canada (accessible only on the National Defence network)
  8. CANFORGEN 153/20 – Use of Special Leave for Quarantine Purposes: OUTCAN Travel (accessible only on the National Defence network)
  9. CANFORGEN 154/20 – Amendments to CANFORGEN 152/20 CMP 072/20 201809z Nov 20 Use of Special Leave For Quarantine Purposes: Domestic Travel or Travel to Another Country From Canada (accessible only on the National Defence network)
  10. Canadian Forces Leave Policy Manual
  11. Travel Restriction in Canada – Mandatory quarantine or isolation, and exemptions
  12. CANFORGEN 035/21 – Domestic Relocation Planning in Relation to COVID-19 (APS 2021) (accessible only on the National Defence network)
  13. CANFORGEN 034/21 – OUTCAN Relocation Planning in Relation to COVID-19 (APS 2021) (accessible only on the National Defence network)
  14. Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Core Public Administration Including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 6 October 2021
  15. CDS Directive on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination, 8 October 2021
  16. CDS Directive 002 on CAF COVID-19 Vaccination – Implementation of Accommodations and Administrative Action – Amendment 1, 4 December 2021

Situation

  1. Application
    1. As we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, we have issued several directives to the Defence Team (DT) in order to preserve our ability to deliver our mission to Canada and Canadians while maintaining the force health required to accomplish this. The Department of National Defence (DND) and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) continue to be vital enablers of the COVID-19 response, including the roll-out of vaccines and support to provincial and territorial (P/T) governments. You have been called upon repeatedly and have never failed in your mission. Meanwhile, we recognize the incredible impacts of this disease on literally every facet of life to include our wellness, economy, geopolitical tension, and intense demands for social change. The COVID-19 pandemic has become a part of our lives and appears as though it will remain so for some time. As such, we need to adapt our strategy in order to continue to operate and reconstitute in a persistent COVID-19 environment. Ref P remains the main direction on CAF vaccination, as this is not codified in this directive;
    2. Ref A provided a framework by which the DT could begin to adapt to the evolving pandemic situation, focussed on a reopening strategy, with the aim of transitioning to a post-pandemic workplace. The current directive evolves from this thinking by accepting that we are in a persistent COVID-19 state within our communities and reverting some processes back to pre-pandemic conditions is required in order to continue delivering on our mandates. This will include a shift in our mindset for aspects such as the level of presence at the workplace, travel, and risk acceptance. There will be no phases as it is expected that this will be an ongoing/steady state effort and we will transition to an endemic COVID-19 posture;
    3. This directive supersedes ref A. Much of the direction that was provided at ref A remains relevant in that it has become a part of our regular battle rhythm. Consequently, some repetition of direction from previous directives is contained within this new directive; and
    4. This directive applies to all DND employees and any persons granted access to Defence establishments in accordance with the Defence Controlled Access Area Regulations. It is an order that applies to all officers and non-commissioned members of the CAF, and it serves as a guide to the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFMWS) in the continuation of activities in support of CAF priorities.
  2. General
    1. International. Globally, case numbers continue to remain high as a result of unequal access to the limited worldwide vaccine supply, the higher transmissibility of variants of concern (VOC), and lapses and/or early relaxation of Public Health Measures (PHMs). Over the past month, the emergence of the Omicron VOC has started to change how we view the pandemic. It has spread at a rate not seen thus far and has required us to relook at our reporting and certain aspects of our response. This uncertain and rapidly changing environment may continue until much higher percentages of the worldwide population are vaccinated; and
    2. Domestic. The COVID-19 waves seem to worsen with each onset, and the current Omicron induced wave has had significant impact on our lives at work and at home. As we progressed through the fourth wave, the situation was not consistent across the country, with some P/T being less impacted by the pandemic. Now fully immersed in the fifth wave, we are seeing similar impacts across the country.
    3. DND/CAF
      1. DT members continue to show leadership by getting vaccinated and respecting and enforcing PHMs. The majority of DT members have received two doses of the vaccine and as the booster campaign now picks up momentum, we expect that all of these individuals will take the next step and receive their third dose;
      2. Coupled with a high vaccine uptake rate, DND/CAF will continue to lead by strengthening our Layered Risk Mitigation Strategy (LRMS), further employing new tools to mitigate risk in an persistent COVID-19 environment;
      3. COVID-19 will continue to affect the country in an asymmetric way, influenced by multiple factors, including, but not limited to, geography, vaccination rates, and travel. Managers and supervisors will need to take into consideration many factors in planning the transition of their workforce to persistent or post-pandemic realities, including the composition of the workforce, local PHMs, the requirement for in-person presence, the fit of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and appropriate mask or face coverings to account for a variety of sizes, infrastructure changes that may impact gender inclusivity and disabled accessibility, mental health challenges that require increased support services and flexibility by managers and supervisors, and prevention of discrimination related to COVID-19;
      4. The DT will continue to employ a hybrid workforce, leveraging the success that we have experienced thus far, by affording our teammates flexibility. We will need to continue to consider the ability of DT members to fully resume job responsibilities or return to the office based on factors such as operational requirements, dependent care responsibilities, mental and physical health conditions that may or may not identify them as high risk/vulnerable employees/members, public transit limitations, and their ability or inability to be fully vaccinated.
  3. Lexicon. The technical medical nature of the COVID-19 crisis has required the use of standardized terminology that has been developed through the various directives. The updated lexicon currently approved for use is provided at Annex A.
  4. Problem Definition. The fundamental pandemic-related challenge confronting DND/CAF moving forward will be the responsible continuation of activities and where possible return to pre-pandemic conditions by accepting risk where necessary, while at once continuing to model the application of PHMs and LRMS, and accounting for the needs of specific DT members that must continue to operate in a dispersed manner.
  5. Threat Assessment
    1. The greatest threat to DND/CAF continues to be complacency towards the vigilant practice of PHMs and application of the DND/CAF LRMS. Canada will continue to experience challenges in the face of more transmissible VOCs becoming the prevalent strains, and where a portion of the Canadian population has been vaccinated and that vaccination protocol may not provide full protection. Internationally, many countries will lag behind Canada in their vaccination rates, and as a result it is likely that more transmissible VOCs will continue to emerge and circulate. It is critical that until public health advice permits a reduction in the use of PHMs, every member of the DT continue to apply PHMs, particularly the use of non-medical masks (NMMs), to protect ourselves, our colleagues, and the broader Canadian population; and
    2. The mental health strain on the DT and our families caused by spending over two years living through a global pandemic with all its associated risks and social limitations, cannot be under-estimated. DND/CAF must remain vigilant for signs of mental stress within DT members and be supportive of those who are exhibiting signs of such stresses. We must continue to identify and utilize best practices and strategies for the reduction of negative impacts on our members, our employees, and their families.
  6. Assumptions
    1. The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to be present in our society, varying in prevalence and intensity. As such the pandemic will likely become endemic;
    2. VOCs will continue to emerge and their effects will be felt across the globe irrespective of where they originate; and
    3. Notwithstanding the fact that the DT has achieved high COVID-19 vaccination uptake rates and adhere to PHMs, the risk of transmission of the SAR-CoV-2 virus and its VOCs will remain. As such, it is expected that many DT members will become infected.
  7. Limitations
    1. Constraints
      1. All applicable Treasury Board policies and the Canada Labour Code, Part II will be followed by DND employees. All applicable National Joint Council Directives and collective agreements will be followed by both DND employees and CAF members who supervise DND employees;
      2. Specific COVID-19 policy for DND will be developed collaboratively with the National Health and Safety Policy Committee and with local Work Place Health and Safety Committees;
      3. CAF members will adhere to federal restrictions unless operationally required to do otherwise and Senior Medical Authority (SMA) advice indicates exemption is appropriate for the execution of a specific duty or activity. The level of authority to authorize these exemption is the level 1 (L1) (can be delegated no lower than L3). For members serving OUTCAN, direction on PHMs will be provided by their Regional Authorities (RA);
      4. When reporting cases of individuals potentially affected by COVID-19, the necessary precautions will be taken to protect the privacy of CAF members and DND employees through strict adherence to the provisions of the Privacy Act. When there is a need to balance the right to privacy versus the need to protect the broader force, this should be done in consultation with the local legal advisor and SMA, where appropriate; and
      5. Persons granted access to Defence Establishments, who are not DND employees or CAF members (e.g., third party contractors), must follow the necessary PHMs and wear NMMs, as required, to meet the standards established in this directive.
    2. Restraints
      1. With the exception of MPC and ADM(DRDC), L1s will not procure medical-grade PPE from medical suppliers;
      2. DND/CAF shall not procure any supplies, materiel, or equipment for providing health services support to civil authorities, except as directed by the Minister of National Defence (MND);
      3. This directive will not apply inside Residential Housing Units (RHU) administered by Canadian Forces Housing Agency unless conducting official DND/CAF business or functions;
      4. DT members will not report for work/duty if they have symptoms of COVID-19. DND employees and CAF members will follow applicable public health guidelines in their municipality and P/T with respect to self-assessment by using their respective P/T COVID-19 self-assessment tool. DT members employed outside of Canada will follow Host Nation guidance. CAF members will additionally follow direction from their local CF H Svcs Centres on how best to access care; and
      5. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms will not be granted access to Defence Establishments, unless their place of residence is on the Defence Establishment, they occupy quarters there temporarily, or are present at the Defence Establishment to obtain medical services.

Mission

  1. DND/CAF will continue to adapt to the rapidly changing situation of the pandemic in order to operate and reconstitute in a persistent COVID-19 environment, by properly accepting and managing risk, to minimize clusters and protect operational effectiveness.

Execution

  1. Concept of Operations
    1. CDS/DM Intent. We currently live and work in an environment that is surrounded by COVID-19, now more than ever with the Omicron VOC spreading more rapidly than we have seen since the start of this pandemic. Infections among our communities are becoming more prevalent and an increasing number of DT members are being directly impacted by this disease, either contracting it themselves or having family members, friends, or coworkers affected. As such, we will need to move from a mindset focused exclusively on avoidance to one more tailored towards risk mitigation. This will require balancing risk with the need to carry on with operations, force generation, and other business, with enough of our teammates remaining healthy to continue to complete their work/duties. We have seen a tremendously successful Canadian vaccination campaign, now to include the booster dose efforts, enabled in part by the tireless work of DT members. Although vaccines alone will not be the panacea that will solve this problem, with a DT that has received 3 doses of vaccine, coupled with strict adherence to PHMs and new elements added to our LRMS, DND/CAF will continue to increase presence in the workplace, with the intent to resume most pre-pandemic activities and lower travel restrictions, while ensuring that the protection of the physical and mental health of the DT and Canadians remains our priority. As part of our LRMS, the DT Workplace Scalable Posture (WSP) was produced at ref A primarily as a means to limit the presence at the workplace in response to COVID-19 prevalence in a specific location. We will move away from employing this tool and the WSP will be replaced with new LRMS elements including the revision of our Rapid Antigen Detection Testing (RADT) program, a PHM Qualitative Comparison Framework, as well as a new mask framework. We need to mitigate, and where necessary, accept risk in order to resume our operations and activities with a return to 100% service delivery and begin to move towards our vital reconstitution efforts. Acknowledging that the COVID-19 situation will vary by region, L1 leaders are empowered to resume and constrain activities asymmetrically as long as SMA advice is sought, appropriate consultation with RA is completed, and mitigation measures are effectively communicated. The decision support tools at Annexes B-D will help to inform leader decisions related to the application of PHMs and the LRMS throughout the DND/CAF organization;
    2. Guiding Principles. The following principles are intended to guide L1 leader decisions related to the full resumption of DT activities:
      1. Protect the physical and mental health, safety, and wellness of our personnel, recognizing that the pandemic continues to impact groups in varying ways. Be mindful of the mental health stress imposed on all DT members throughout the COVID-19 pandemic;
      2. Remain aware and responsive to individual DT members’ personal challenges and limitations resulting from the pandemic, and continue to position the DT for a more hybrid approach to workplace arrangements where needed;
      3. Notwithstanding COVID-19 transmission rates, DND/CAF will ensure unfettered continuity of operations on all lines of business. As rates of infection fluctuate, L1s may need to take extraordinary steps to preserve force health;
      4. Leaders at all levels are to consult CAF Health Services clinicians and experts to inform the application of the LRMS;
      5. Maintain a focus on wellness, inclusion, and diversity by using Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) to identify employees’ experiences based on their various identity factors (i.e., age, ethnicity, gender, ability, sexual orientation, etc.); and
      6. Monitor the health of all DT members and supporting organizations within the workplace with strict adherence to privacy legislation. DT members must report immediately to their supervisors if they believe that they have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19 and they must comply with public health directed testing and isolation/quarantine procedures.
    3. Priorities. The following priorities are not listed in order of importance nor do they preclude the execution of those critical or core L1 activities not contained within the list. The intent of these priorities is to make clear where the weight of effort will be applied when there is a synchronization or capacity conflict:
      1. Enabling Priorities
        1. Ensure all members of the DT are provided the opportunity to receive a full series of COVID-19 vaccines, either directly to eligible CAF members through the CAF medical system, or by facilitating time off for DND employees or CAF members who do not receive health care through the CAF system to attend vaccination appointments;
        2. Ensure all DND employees are in compliance with Ref N;
        3. Ensure all CAF members are in compliance with refs O and P;
        4. Continue to support DT members’ personal circumstances by remaining flexible on adapting work arrangements, when possible, dependent on the team’s type of work and the individual’s work description;
        5. Resume and/or continue individual and collective training at normal levels, in support of deployed operations and high readiness contingency forces using appropriate PHMs to mitigate risk to the maximum extent possible;
        6. Further develop and refine PHM requirements and implement them;
        7. Procure and implement CAF COVID-19 independent testing capabilities, refine and implement CAF contact tracing, and other protocols that further protect DND/CAF going forward;
        8. Identify and implement additional capacity and processes for remote work; and
        9. Expand Defence Supply Chain operations to support all CAF fleets, and to include the procurement of additional stocks of PPE.
      2. DND/CAF Priorities (Outputs)
        1. Continued performance of activities mandated by legislation, regulation or court order, and compliance with prescribed deadlines;
        2. Execute all obligatory activities in compliance with ongoing litigation;
        3. Remain responsive to the evolving Government of Canada (GC) agenda, and Cabinet, Parliamentary, and Senate committees and processes;
        4. Increase financial management activities to capture COVID-19 expenditure impacts and ensure sufficient cash flow throughout the business resumption period;
        5. Conduct force generation (FG) training in support of deployed operations and high readiness contingency forces;
        6. Conduct collective training critical to the conduct of deployed operations and high readiness contingency forces;
        7. Resume individual training as soon as practicable; and
        8. Execute ongoing domestic and international operations.
  2. Tasks
    1. Common to all L1s/FGs
      1. Resume activities to normal levels;
      2. Continue to enable DT members to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine;
      3. Ensure strict adherence to PHMs by all DT members. Since the start of the pandemic, PHMs have proven extremely effective in reducing the impacts of COVID-19. Coupled with vaccines and where appropriate, testing, PHMs will continue to be our most effective tool for mitigating the risks associated with COVID-19;
      4. Collect, consolidate, and share lessons learned in preparation to update the business continuity plans (BCP) with specific focus on observations related to BCP, the application of PHMs, use of digital tools for command and control, activation protocols, preparation for COVID-19 specific employment (e.g., long term care facilities and Indigenous communities), use of rapid and operational COVID-19 testing, and conducting a vaccination surge campaign;
      5. Continually assess the status of resumption efforts by region, and be prepared to constrain and/or resume activities as needed;
      6. Continue to provide flexibility to DT members by enabling a hybrid workplace. Careful consideration for individual situations must be taken into account as not all individuals will be affected by the pandemic in the same way;
      7. Unit COs are to maximize their use of the provision of sick leave for symptomatic CAF members, in accordance with para 6.1.03 of ref J. They should also look to flexible remote work options if symptoms of the affected member persist beyond the period with which they have the authority to grant, in order to prevent unnecessary visits to CF H Svcs Centres; and
      8. Keep DT members apprised of developments related to the pandemic including any changes to the application of PHMs at the local level. Leverage and promote national-level communications tools and resources where appropriate to ensure consistent and effective distribution at every level while avoiding duplication.
    2. VCDS
      1. As the DND/CAF Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Functional Authority (FA), provide updates to COVID-19 specific PHM, PPE, NMM, and RADT guidance to the DT as needed in coordination with the CAF Surgeon General;
      2. Liaise with the Health Canada COVID-19 Testing Secretariat to ensure the DND/CAF application of RADT is consistent in approach to the RADT application across the GC;
      3. Maintain reporting mechanisms on COVID-19 impacts including number of possible and known cases of COVID-19 for members assigned OUTCAN;
      4. When requested by L1s, assist in the conduct of air quality assessments, performed by Preventative Medicine;
      5. In consultation with the SMA, RA will review the LRMS and PHMs applied to OUTCAN members; and
      6. In consultation with the National Health and Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC), monitor and advise on OUTCAN DT members and their families as it pertains to their health and safety in a pandemic environment in the various host nations they are serving in.
    3. MPC
      1. Maintain situational awareness of national and regional trends in COVID-19 transmission and impacts. Advise the chain of command of indications for likely recommendations from public health officials to increase or decrease the use of PHMs;
      2. Continue the development of the evidence and science based decision tools that will be used to assist SMAs and the DT writ large in decisions on the resumption of activities, particularly within the operational environment;
      3. Provide ongoing advice to L1s to help them understand and mitigate COVID-19 risks. Develop medically informed regression considerations to provide advice to L1s if clusters and resurgences materialize, and considerations for easing of restrictions;
      4. When requested by L1s, conduct air quality assessments in cooperation with ADM(IE) and Occupational Health and Safety, to assess whether additional measures are required to augment workspaces that are found to have deficient indoor air quality; and
      5. Continue to provide guidance and medical advice for House Hunting Trips and APS 2022 move benefits as well as medical advice for other travel requirements;
    4. CFINTCOM. Continue to monitor the global COVID-19 situation and provide situational awareness to the CAF, including advice to the force generators regarding force protection measures, training events, and exercises, and advice to the force employers regarding international COVID-19 threats and epidemic trends.
    5. CJOC – Op LASER Supported Commander
      1. Maintain reporting mechanisms on COVID-19 impacts including number of possible and known cases of COVID-19 for members assigned to CJOC-led operations, paying specific attention to the operational impact owing to the lack in capacity;
      2. In consultation with the SMA, review the LRMS and PHMs applied to operations; and
      3. Inform strategic level understanding and knowledge through regional/P/T atmospherics of Regional Joint Task Force’s (RJTF) regional partners.
    6. CANSOFCOM
      1. Maintain reporting mechanisms on COVID-19 impacts including number of possible and known cases of COVID-19 for members assigned to CANSOFCOM-led operations, paying specific attention to the operational impact owing to the lack in capacity; and
      2. In consultation with the SMA, review the LRMS and PHMs applied to operations.
    7. SJS
      1. Continue to remain engaged at the federal echelon with whole-of-government emergency management stakeholders to ensure GC and DND/CAF planning remains aligned, equitable, responsive, and communicated to all L1s through the Standing Strategic Operations Planning Group (SOPG) on COVID-19; and
      2. Coordinate the synchronization and harmonization of health force protection measures as they are implemented by L1s.
    8. ADM(IM)
      1. Continue to increase and optimize Information Technologies / Information Management (IT/IM) solutions to enable remote work up to Protected B;
      2. Accelerate development work on IT/IM solutions to enable remote work on classified systems up to Level II;
      3. Continue development work to provide reliable cloud-based access to systems of record; and
      4. Be prepared to implement IT/IM solutions to optimize a more hybrid workforce posture in a persistent and/or endemic COVID-19 environment.
    9. ADM(IE)
      1. Ensure all Defence Establishment infrastructure is prepared for activity resumption with a gradual increase in the percentage of persons in the workplace, while acknowledging the need to ensure the capacity to allow for a blended approach to a return to work posture that enables flexibility to meet individual needs;
      2. Conduct an analysis regarding DND/CAF infrastructure requirements based on the potential hybrid workforce in a persistent or endemic COVID-19 environment; and
      3. When requested by L1s, assist, as required, the conduct of air quality assessments performed by Preventative Medicine and Occupational Health and Safety, by confirming that infrastructure supporting indoor air quality operates in accordance with codes and standards and identify deficiencies. Advise on feasibility of additional mitigation measures where applicable.
    10. ADM(Mat). Provide procurement and contracting support for additional PPE or other protective elements required to protect individuals against COVID-19.
    11.  ADM(HR-Civ)
      1. Through engagement with the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO), ensure civilian personnel policies are communicated and continue to be reflective of Federal Public Service business continuity and resumption considerations;
      2. Provide direction and guidance to, and support for, employees and managers on implementing flexible work arrangements in a persistent and endemic COVID-19 environment, and on managing a hybrid workforce;
      3. Continue to lead consultations with national unions on the implementation of resumption activities as it pertains to DND employees;
      4. Provide guidance on the management of those civilian members who may be challenged or are unable to return to the workplace due to their personal circumstances; and
      5. Monitor compliance with the ref N for DND employees.
    12. ADM(PA)
      1. Continue to provide strategic level communication guidance, messaging, and coordination consistent with GC direction, to support internal DT communication and to maintain the confidence of Canadians in the response to the pandemic; and
      2. Continue to work with L1s, including ADM(HR-Civ), and MPC, to lead a DT communications engagement plan and supporting products. These products shall provide resources accessible to the DT within an evergreen repository of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) derived from the Ask Anything: COVID-19 inbox, the answers for which will be coordinated through functional authorities. Communications plans and products will be shared with L1 organizations for dissemination and promotion throughout their respective networks and communications channels.
    13.  ADM(FIN)/CFO. Continue to capture and analyze the costs related to operations and functions undertaken during the DND/CAF response to COVID-19 to include costs related to the RADT program.
  3. Coordinating Instructions
    1. As previously mentioned, the DT Workplace Scalable Posture (WSP) will be replaced by new LRMS tools which will assist decision making by SMAs and the chain of command in a persistent COVID-19 environment. The PHM Qualitative Comparison Framework (Annex B) provides a framework to consider all PHMs available and make determinations as to whether additional measures such as an increased mask quality or rapid testing may be warranted. These decisions will be based on the distinct situation at each respective unit/workplace. Much as was the case with the WSP, L1s (can be delegated at L1 discretion) may still determine the adequate level of workplace posture for their respective formations, bases and wings depending on the local situation and requirement for physical presence, if remote work is not possible. The decision to elect a specific posture should be informed by SMA advice and consider balancing the need to carry on with activities and ability to mitigate risk and accept risk where necessary. In addition, L1s on their respective Bases/Wings, may adjust PHMs for specific groups / activities after carefully taking into account the factors at Annex B;
    2. Commanders’ Critical Information Requirements (CCIRs) and Priority Intelligence Requirements (PIRs). All standing Strategic CCIRs/PIRs remain extant. The following include COVID-19 pandemic specific requirements:
      1. L1s do not need to report each COVID-19 case. Only incidents of outbreaks or resurgence in the immediate locale of Defence Establishments or amongst members of the DT on domestic/foreign operations  where there is an identified or potential operational impact are to be reported;
      2. Serious illness or hospitalization of a member of the DT due to COVID-19;
      3. Allied/partner nation and host nation outbreak clusters threatening deployed CAF members either due to risk of sever disease or operational impact. Additionally, host nation travel restrictions associated with this that could impact the rotation of personnel and sustainment of CAF operations;
      4. Supply chain or defence industry disruptions with the potential to affect activities and operations;
      5. OUTCAN host nation actions/inactions or access to medical facilities that could be hazardous to OUTCAN members; and
      6. Any changes to local, municipal, P/T restrictions that prevent the CAF from completing its assigned tasks, from generating forces, or from supporting forces.
    3. DND/CAF Domestic Travel. As part of the effort to transition to a persistent and possible endemic COVID-19 environment, the resumption of activities and travel is to resume within the confines of federal, P/T, regional and municipal restrictions as follows:
      1. Domestic Travel – DND Employees Work-Related. Domestic work-related travel for DND employees may be approved through the pre- COVID-19 pandemic DND/CAF process provided that the starting, destination, and any countries transited do not restrict such travel. Federal or host nation restrictions will be adhered to. The level of authority to authorize such travel is to be determined by the L1 and in accordance with refs D and E;
      2. Domestic Travel – CAF Members Duty-Related. Domestic duty-related travel for CAF members may be approved through the pre- COVID-19 pandemic DND/CAF process provided that the starting, destination, and any countries transited do not restrict such travel. Federal or host nation restrictions will be adhered to. However, within Canada, CAF members may be required to do otherwise in the authorized execution of a specific duty, where specific advice has been sought on the activity. The level of authority to authorize such travel is to be determined by the L1 and in accordance with refs D and E;
      3. Domestic Travel for Compassionate Reasons. In accordance with QR&O 16.17, and refs F-I, domestic travel for compassionate reasons will continue to be authorized as per QR&O 16.17. Mandatory quarantine leave can be granted in accordance with ref J, 5.17 Special Leave (COVID-19 Mandatory Quarantine in accordance with refs H and I) to account for the time in quarantine. This does not entitle members to reimbursement of expenses incurred during this period. Compassionate leave may be used to account for the member’s quarantine period. If approved, the application of Compassionate Travel Assistance is limited to the provisions of CBI 209.51 and MFSI 10.23 where applicable. The level of approval for domestic travel for compassionate reasons is to be set by L1s in accordance with ref J;
      4. Domestic House Hunting Trips (HHTs)/ Destination Inspection Trips (DITs). Notwithstanding direction provided during APS 2021 (ref L) or forthcoming direction for APS 2022, HHTs/DITs are permitted only to those destinations where there are no quarantine requirements at destination and, when applicable, quarantine can be completed upon return to origin within the member’s principal residence. However, a member may proceed on an HHT/DIT unaccompanied if there is an exemption for travel in place that permits a military member travelling for the performance of military duties not to quarantine on arrival and, when applicable, quarantine can be completed upon return to origin within the member’s principal residence. Any testing or other requirements associated with that exemption must be followed. There is no compensation and benefits payable to a member who quarantines in their principal residence after an HHT. HHTs after change of strength (COS) remains an option if travel restrictions do not permit a member and their dependents to conduct a HHT before COS; and
      5. Domestic Travel – CAF Members Non-Duty-Related. In accordance with ref F, non-duty domestic travel can be approved through the pre-COVID-19 pandemic DND/CAF process. Unless stated otherwise at refs G and H, all periods of quarantine required by local public health authorities at the travel destination, and at any points in between, must be covered by annual leave or special leave (COVID-19 Mandatory Quarantine in accordance with refs H and I). If required to quarantine upon return to place of residence, chains of command will be responsible for managing whether remote work is feasible for the quarantine period and, if not, annual leave will be required for that period of time (unless the member is granted sick leave). The level of approval for non-duty-related domestic travel is to be set by L1s in accordance with ref J.
    4. DND/CAF International Travel. Where required to support DND/CAF activities and operations, international travel shall be conducted within the following conditions:
      1. International Travel – DND Employees Work-Related. International work-related travel for DND employees may be approved through the pre-COVID-19 pandemic DND/CAF process provided that the starting, destination and any countries transited do not prohibit such travel. Federal or host nation restrictions will be adhered to. The level of authority to authorize such travel is to be determined by the L1 and in accordance with refs D and E;
      2. International Travel – CAF Members Duty-Related. International duty-related travel for CAF members may be approved through the pre- COVID-19 pandemic DND/CAF process provided that the starting, destination and any countries transited do not restrict such travel). Federal or host nation restrictions will be adhered to. The level of approval authority for such travel is to be determined by the L1 and in accordance with refs D and E. Due to the unique considerations and environments in which the CAF operates, it is recognized that it may not always be possible to adhere to all of the GC international travel restrictions when undertaking duty-related travel (including travel for compassionate reasons, HHTs/DITs and HLTAs). For this reason, the GC has provided specific exemptions for the CAF. In these instances, the approving authority is to seek guidance through their SMA for testing and quarantine requirements related to CAF duty travel;
      3. International Travel for Compassionate Reasons. In accordance with, refs F-I, international travel for compassionate reasons will continue to be applied as per QR&O 16.17. Mandatory quarantine leave will be granted in accordance with ref J, 5.17.Special Leave (COVID-19 Mandatory Quarantine in accordance with refs H and I) to account for the time in quarantine, this does not entitle members to reimbursement of expenses incurred during this period. If approved, the application of Compassionate Travel Assistance for personnel travelling from OUTCAN is limited to the provisions of Military Foreign Service Instruction Section 10.23. If approved, the application of Compassionate Travel Assistance for personnel travelling from Canada is limited to the provisions of CBI 209.51. Consideration shall be given prior to approval as to plans for risk mitigation, including the ability to get health care, whether medical insurance is in place, and repatriation of the member if the COVID-19 situation should deteriorate at the planned destination. The level of approval authority for international travel for compassionate reasons is to be set by L1s in accordance with ref J;
      4. International HHTs/ DITs. Notwithstanding direction provided during APS 2021 (ref M) or forthcoming direction for APS 2022, HHTs/DITs are permitted only to those destinations where there are no quarantine requirements at destination (and, when applicable, quarantine is permissible and can be completed upon return to origin within the member’s principal residence). However, a member may proceed on an HHT/DIT unaccompanied if there is an exemption for travel in place that permits a military member travelling for the performance of military duties not to have to quarantine on arrival (and, when applicable, quarantine can be completed upon return to origin within the member’s principal residence). Any testing or other requirements associated with that exemption must be followed. HHTs after COS remains an option if travel restrictions do not permit a member and their dependents to conduct a HHT before COS;
      5. HLTAs. HLTAs can be approved in accordance with direction to be promulgated by CJOC, CANSOFCOM and the VCDS in accordance with Military Foreign Service Instruction 10.21. If approved, reimbursement of expenses is limited to the provisions of Military Foreign Service Instruction Section 10.21.04 – 10.21.07. Mandatory quarantine leave can be granted in accordance with ref J, 5.17.Special Leave (COVID-19 Mandatory Quarantine in accordance with refs H and I) to account for the time in quarantine, this does not entitle members to reimbursement of expenses incurred during this period; and
      6. International Travel – CAF Members Non-Duty-Related. Non-duty international travel can be approved through the pre-COVID-19 pandemic DND/CAF process in accordance with ref J and provided that the starting, destination and any countries transited do not restrict such travel. Federal or host nation restrictions will be adhered to. Unless stated otherwise at refs F- I all periods of quarantine required by local public health authorities at the travel destination, and at any points in between, must be covered by annual leave or special leave (COVID-19 Mandatory Quarantine in accordance with refs H and I). If required to quarantine upon return to place of residence, the member’s chain of command will be responsible for managing whether remote work is feasible for the quarantine period and, if not, annual leave will be required for that period of time (unless the member is granted sick leave). Members are also responsible for making the arrangements to meet COVID-19 testing requirements from local public health authorities and all costs incurred will be at their own expense. The approval authority for non-duty-related international travel is to be set by L1s in accordance with ref J.
    5. CDS/DM Operational Testing Priorities. As CF H Svcs Gp possesses limited capacity for integral COVID-19 operational testing, it will remain critical that this resource be used in a deliberate and prioritized manner and in support of the LRMS. Integral testing will be used to support activities in accordance with the following priorities:
      1. Operational Activities. This includes domestic and international deployed operations, NORAD (Quick Reaction Alert Aircraft and Air-to-Air Refueling), Ready Duty Ship, Search and Rescue, CANSOFCOM Critical Capabilities, and Critical Command and Control Capabilities;
      2. Force Generation Activities. This includes specific force generation activities for domestic and international deployed operations, students, instructors and key personnel at CAF training institutions; and
      3. Regular duties. All remaining DND employees and CAF members. Anomalies or situations outside what is covered here should be raised through the SMA to CF H Svcs Gp.
    6. Travel Testing Framework. See Annex E for the COVID-19 Travel Testing Decision tool which provides guidance with respect to pre/post-travel testing considerations;
    7. Masks. Masks remain an effective PHM by preventing respiratory droplets from contaminating others or landing on surfaces. PHAC guidance recommending that NMMs be made of 3 layers remains extant. The following is the enduring DND/CAF direction on the use of NMMs:
      1. NMMs must be well-fitted (non-gaping). NMMs can become contaminated during use. You must avoid moving the mask around or adjusting it often. NMMs should not be shared with others;
      2. All DT members will wear a NMM, subject to para 11.g.(4) in indoor common/public areas, whether or not physical distancing and other PHMs can be adhered to. This includes in all closed spaces, while transiting from one’s work station/office to another location, within public spaces (e.g., canteens, kitchenettes, sitting areas) and in poorly ventilated open-space workspaces; 
      3. It is especially important for individuals to keep their masks on when speaking in the vicinity or in an enclosed room with others, even when other PHMs such as physical distancing can be maintained; and
      4. The removal of face coverings may be considered while adhering to other PHMs:
      5. If you are alone and there is no possibility of encountering another person unexpectedly before the face covering can be donned;
      6. Outdoors where physical distancing is maintained at all times and incidental contact with others is unlikely;
      7. Indoors where a person is at their normal workstation, in a well-ventilated open space, working quietly, (including speaking in a normal tone and volume on the telephone) at least 2 metres from others;
      8. Other short-term scenarios where the wearing of a face covering is not possible and appropriate, such as when a person is eating or drinking; and
      9. While doing a CAF fitness test (i.e., FORCE test).
      10. Cloth masks should be changed as soon as they become damp or soiled. They should be placed directly into a washing machine or a disposable bag that can be emptied into a washing machine and then discarded. Cloth masks can be laundered with other items using detergent and a hot cycle, and then dried thoroughly. Masks that cannot be washed should be discarded and replaced as soon as they become damp, soiled or crumpled;
      11. Used masks should be considered as potentially contaminated. When removing a mask, do not touch the front or the inside of the mask; instead remove it by grasping the ties or straps with your fingers. Carefully place disposable masks in regular garbage containers and immediately conduct hand washing; and
      12. The new mask framework at Annex C provides considerations for the chain of command to assess the requirement for a higher level mask to be included as part of the LRMS. A 3-layer NMM remains the standard recommendation for most workplace settings, especially office type environments. Examples of situations that may lead to a decision to opt for a mask above a NMM, such as a KN-95, include (but not limited to), inability to maintain other PHMs such as distancing, the amount of time that DT members are confined in an enclosed room together, and poor or inadequate ventilation. SMA advice should be sought when considering whether a mask type above and beyond the standard NMM is needed.
    8. RADT Testing Program. DND/CAF will evolve its RADT program by continuing to provide early detection of COVID-19 transmission by identifying pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic cases and taking necessary PHM precautions to minimize viral spread amongst DT members. As part of the LRMS, the RADT program will involve screening in a deliberate and prioritized manner, DT members at higher risk of infection and where infections can have a disproportionate impact on operations. The RADT Framework is found at Annex D and its considerations include:
      1. The RADT program is not a replacement for diagnostic testing. Symptomatic DT members should assume they are positive and local public health authorities and/or CF H Svcs will provide required follow-on steps;
      2. RADTs must be done as part of a regular testing program and are not effective if completed as a one-time screening before a specific event or activity;
      3. RADTs are not the ultimate solution to avoid COVID-19 and should not be utilized to reduce, minimize or detract from proven and effective PHMs (masking, physical distancing, hand-washing, etc.);
      4. Requests for RADT’s for CF H Svs clinics and deployed operation requirements will go through the existing medical supply request process as these are considered clinical requests;
      5. For all other non-clinical requests, irrespective of their use, the request process will be as per Annex D.
    9. Quarantine. For a DT member that has tested positive for COIVD-19 with either a PCR test or via the RADT program, the current medical advice is that these individuals should isolate and not return to the workplace for a period of 10 days if they are fully vaccinated, or 7 days if they have received their 3rd/booster dose. A DT member that has been in close contact with a confirmed or presumed case of COVID-19, should quarantine based on local public health guidance, and be cleared to return to workplace following the prescribed period, provided they have remained symptom free. These guidelines may change as the COVID-19 environment evolves and in their current state may be more stringent than P/T or local public health restrictions. As managers and supervisors may require an earlier return to work based on critical or essential operational requirements, these requirements should be consulted with the SMA, Labour Relations, and local Workplace Health and Safety Committees, as applicable. If it is determined that a reduced quarantine period is necessary to allow for critical work to resume, the DT member must be asymptomatic or have had all symptoms dissipated, and managers/supervisors should consider employing additional or more restrictive PHMs as per Annex B as part of the LRMS in order to mitigate residual risks;
    10. Contact Tracing Strategy. CF H Svcs Gp is responsible for coordinating with local public health authorities to limit the impact and reduce the transmission of COVID-19. In most instances within Canada, local public health authorities will be the lead for contact tracing requirements related to DT members;
    11. Wearing of NMMs/PPE in uniform. NMMs remain part of the uniform until public health advice indicates otherwise. NMM must be worn within the CAF guidelines of uniformity, discipline and maintaining a positive military appearance. FG/L1s will ensure that NMMs worn while in uniform are conservative in design and colour, provide no overt support to industry, and shall not include slang language or offensive content. FGs will continue to refine, implement, and professionalize standards for the wearing of PPE and PHMs;
    12. Ceremonial. Military ceremonies such as Changes of Command, Depart with Dignity, promotions, and awards are an important aspect of CAF culture. Nonetheless, large gatherings continue to represent a risk of virus transmission. L1s and OUTCAN RA may authorize and delegate changes to restrictions on ceremonial events commensurate with P/T, host nations and local limitations;
    13. Access to Defence Establishments. Access to Defence Establishments may be assessed and approved by the local formation/base/wing Commander. Approval will be based on public health data and SMA advice with regard to community transmission of COVID-19 and whether appropriate physical distancing and PHMs are in place;
    14. Reporting. MPC/CF H Svcs Gp is to continue to provide reports on the COVID-19 vaccination uptake rate across the CAF including booster doses;
    15. Public Affairs Posture. The public affairs approach is active and closely coordinated with the GC and L1s in support of GC priorities. Alignment and synchronization of internal and external narratives and activities will enable support for DT activities. The PA approach should also be aligned with those of allies and partners, highlighting how DND/CAF continues to engage and contribute globally in support of GC objectives; and
    16. Lessons Learned. As indicated in tasks, the collection, consolidation, and sharing of lessons learned throughout the COVID-19 pandemic will require significant attention and effort to ensure the DND/CAF is better prepared to respond to future crises.

Concept of support

  1. Procurement and Distribution of PPE, NMMs, and RADT kits. While CAF supply chain and support systems are gradually returning to normal levels of activity, there remains a particular focus on PPE, NMMs, and rapid test kits.
    1. Procurement
      1. Medical PPE. Medical authorities will continue to gradually procure medical PPE, acquired from medical suppliers, to ensure CAF core missions and CDS/DM priorities are supported; and
      2. NMMs. NMMs will be procured in accordance with the requirements outlined in the ADM(Mat) Canadian Forces Technical Order which indicates the technical specifications as approved by CF H Svcs Gp. National procurement contracts are in place to maintain a ratio of at least three NMMs per DT member, allow for replacement of NMMs, and to prepare for a possible resurgence.
        1. Local Purchase Order (LPO). L1s are authorized to acquire NMMs through LPO for their DT members if necessary for reasons such as the inadequate fit of NMMs provided through national contracts. L1s may also acquire higher level masks through LPO to supplement their LRMS as per para 11.g. Any LPO of NMM must meet the requirements as outlined in the ADM(Mat) Canadian Forces Technical Order; and
        2. Accountability. NMMs will have a Permanent System Control Number attributed to them for tracking purposes, but will be treated as a consumable item. Inventory will not be managed below the formation/base/wing level and NMMs will not be placed on CAF members’ clothing documents.
    2. Apportionment and Distribution. Based on CDS/DM priorities and ongoing discussions between Strat J4 and L1 Log reps, apportionment of NMMs will be adjusted to ensure priorities are met; and
    3. RADT Kits. The procurement of test kits will be done centrally with VCDS/D Safe G acting as release authority in consultation with SJS and CF H Svcs/DHSO.
  1. Finance. L1s are to fund and capture all expenditures associated with this directive using internal financial coding and funding. L1s are to create their own Internal Orders (IOs) and charge all expenditures to this IO. All IOs are to be linked to the IO Group GEN039.20 for local fund expenses related to COVID-19. Any pressures are to be reported through the regular reporting process.

Command

  1. Office of Primary Interest (OPI). VCDS.
  2. Office of Collateral Interest (OCI). DOS SJS.
  3. POCs
    1. BGen Erick Simoneau, SJS Director General Plans, 613-904-5231;
    2. Col Colleen Forestier, CMP Director Health Service Operations, 613-901-9889;
    3. Col Richard Jolette, SJS Director Plans North America, 613- 901-9281;
    4. Chris Charron, EM Section Head, 613-904-5824; and
    5. Chantal Cloutier, SJS Strategic Advisor, 613-434-3696.

W.D. Eyre
Genera
Chief of the Defence Staff

Bill Matthews
Deputy Minister

Annexes

  1. Annex A – Glossary – Lexicon
  2. Annex B – PHM Qualitative Comparison Framework
  3. Annex C – Mask Framework
  4. Annex D – RADT Framework
  5. Annex E – Travel Testing Framework

Distribution List

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