COVID-19 update further to implementation of interprovincial border checkpoints

April 20, 2021 -  Defence Stories

Stricter measures to help contain the spread of COVID-19 were announced yesterday, including the implementation of interprovincial border checkpoints between Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec effective Monday, April 19.

As a reminder, federal employees who support critical services and cannot work remotely can continue to travel across provincial and territorial borders to go to their workplaces, as needed. Critical federal workers should always carry government identification and other photo identification when moving between territorial and provincial boundaries to go to work. Out of an abundance of caution, managers may wish to equip these employees with a letter outlining the criticality of their work. Human resources units were provided with a copy of this template letter in January.

In view of these strengthened restrictions, we would like to confirm that the clarified guidance on the use of ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ which came into effect on November 9, 2020, continues to apply. The guidance emphasizes that this leave may be granted on a case-by-case basis, and only after remote or alternate work, or flexible work hours have been considered, and generally only after other relevant paid leave, such as family-related leave, has first been used by the employee. Managers are to consult their labour relations advisor regarding individual requests relating to ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’. Labour relations advisors have received detailed guidance to assist managers in the decision-making process. More information is available at Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Employee illness and leave.

Employees should continue to consult the wide range of mental health services and supports available to them, including the 24/7 Employee Assistance Program, the flexibilities introduced under the Public Service Health Care Plan, and the mental health resource hub. The persistent nature of this pandemic and the recurring waves of restrictions are unquestionably taxing, and it is crucial that we all make efforts to take care of our mental health, and to watch out for one another.

As before, please continue to refer regularly to the Information for Government of Canada Employees and Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) websites for important information.

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