Joint CDS/DM update on Defence Team COVID-19 Fall Posture
October 6, 2020 - Defence Stories
We are currently faced with multiple areas of resurgence across the country. Given that our current situation is different and more complex than we faced in March—we are issuing a single consolidated COVID-19 Fall Directive to refocus our efforts, and position National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (DND/CAF) for success this fall.
What success looks like
Our Defence Team must maintain the ability to function safely in a COVID-19 threat environment—one in which wider society is not locked-down, where children are in school, and where businesses and services are open to the degree the local health situation permits. We must be prepared to adapt rapidly to public health direction that varies from region to region depending on local circumstances. Most vitally, we must maintain critical capabilities and services that are essential to our protection of Canadians and our defence of Canada.
COVID-19 operating environment
We must accept that we now live in an environment that will remain altered by COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. To succeed in this environment, we must reject complacency.That means doing everything in our individual and collective power to prevent a return to the situation we faced earlier in the year.
The guiding principles of the COVID-19 Fall Directive include the understanding that:
- Protecting the health, safety, and wellness of our personnel is paramount to the preservation of the force.
- The COVID-19 situation will vary by region, work environment, physical location, area of responsibility, and many other factors. DND/CAF response will likewise be asymmetrical. Local commanders are empowered to respond to local conditions while respecting the DM/CDS intent reflective in the directive.
- L1 decisions on work stoppage and resumption will consider factors including:
- health status of members’ or members’ dependents;
- availability of community services at the local level;
- availability to access and use necessary technology, digital tools, records and files; and
- presence at home of children under active care during working hours.
- All planning will include Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) to identify employees’ experiences based on their various identity factors (i.e., age, ethnicity, gender, ability, sexual orientation, etc.).
- As rates of infection fluctuate, L1s might need to take extraordinary steps to preserve force health. If so, given the additional stress that our families are under, these steps and their rationale must be communicated broadly and effectively.
In the coming days, the directive will be made available on the COVID-19 Defence Team webpage, the HR-GO-HR App, the CAF App and other locations where orders and directives are housed. Please read the document in full.
In the meantime, we have communicated that all L1s must renew their business continuity plans to address the constraints of a COVID-19 environment in its current context. They must also be prepared to initiate these plans swiftly.
Thank you for your hard work, and your resilience. Keep safe, stay ready and continue to work as the phenomenal team we are both so proud and privileged to lead.
Deputy Minister of National Defence
General Jonathan Vance
Chief of the Defence Staff
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