Your Ask Anything: COVID-19 questions answered: Balancing childcare with business resumption; training courses; and PPE

July 10, 2020 – Defence Stories

Balancing childcare with business resumption; training courses; and PPE

The following is a high-level summary of the most commonly received questions recently submitted by Defence Team members to Ask Anything: COVID-19.

Prop to submitting questions to the Ask Anything: COVID-19 inbox, staff are reminded to contact their supervisor or chain of command for information that is most relevant to your team, local public health situation, and the specific circumstances of your workplace and operational requirements

Visit the Resuming work FAQs and stay tuned for more information and updates in response to your questions.

Balancing childcare with business resumption

We know that balancing work and home responsibilities has become much more difficult during this time and will continue to pose challenges for our Defence Team members. There have been ongoing discussions across DND/CAF Senior Management, as well as with TBS and OCHRO to determine the best way forward in effectively supporting and performing remote work and we will continue to monitor these developments closely.

The phased approach to business resumption requires continuation of the current way of working into the foreseeable future for a significant portion of the workforce.  The Flexible Workplace Program offers guidance and tools to support the use of workplace flexibility. Leave Code 699 can currently be taken if an individual is experiencing child care challenges, but no official guidance on the use of leave (699) for prolonged home school/remote learning for public servants has been issued. We expect that employees continue to adopt a good faith approach in using this leave, keeping in mind their important roles in providing services to the Defence Team. If your manager has any questions or needs any clarification, they can connect with their Labour Relations Officer.

Flexible working arrangements continue to be an alternative to taking leave in many circumstances. The re-designed and soon-to-be-relaunched Flexible Work Program is a tool which 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.  Managers must consider feasibility of remote and flexible work and the program supports with guidance and tools for working in a varied, remote and/or on-site mixed workforce situations.

There may also be stress and anxiety related to returning to the workplace so it is important to remember that the return will be gradual and done respecting all public health measures. We encourage you to discuss your personal situation with your supervisor to determine the best solution for you and your family.

If you need to talk to someone for assistance coping with the stress and anxiety of the situation, there are a number of tools and resources available to Defence Team members.

Trades Training Courses

The restart of courses will be specific to each trade, as each Service and CMP are restarting according to different schedules based on local circumstances/restrictions. It is expected that, in general, all foundational training will have resumed by 01 Jul 20.

When it is safe do so, Individual Training will resume in a controlled, deliberate way. We know that in some places across the country some of our other Service schools have restarted modestly and are experiencing success.   That is because they are being careful and are following the right protocols but at the same time have a plan in case there are set backs.

The priority of students who will restart training will be based on several factors, the first of which is the sequencing of those who were part way through their training.  Next will be those who had not yet commenced their training.  The CAF will remain flexible and deliberate as every restart plan is conditions based.  If the right conditions are not in place (e.g. known safety protocols in place, all receive training, PPE issued to all trainees and trainers, principal restrictions lifted) then we will re-assess our plans and, if we cannot mitigate safety concerns, then it will not happen.

Personal Protective Equipment

If you are authorized to report for duty or work and you are unable to maintain 2-metre physical distancing while conducting your work related tasks, you must wear a non-medical mask.

A non-medical mask is only required when one cannot maintain the minimum 2 meter physical distancing. For example, if you are in your own cubicle/office, then a NMM may not be necessary.

If you are able to maintain 2 metre physical distancing but still wish to wear a NMM mask, you may wear a personally acquired or fabricated one. Civilian employees could be asked to wear their own cloth face mask, until their L1 or Commands are able to provide masks to them. All personally acquired or fabricated non-medical masks must be compliant with Public Health Agency of Canada specifications. Medical grade masks (including surgical masks and N95 masks) will not be issued to the majority of DT members. You can also read more in the DM/CDS Joint Directive.

Reach out to your supervisor or Chain of Command to learn how to acquire your mask.

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