DM/A-CDS Directive: Reopening Strategy & Summer Posture Released
June 30, 2021 - Defence Stories
Across the country, high vaccination rates and strict public health measures (PHMs) have brought COVID-19 case numbers down. As an organization, we can now shift our focus to prepare for the re-opening of our facilities and resumption of activities that have been impacted over the past 15 months.
The pandemic has brought about significant institutional change. As we move through the next steps of Business Resumption Planning, we will take the many lessons learned into account to find new ways to sustain operational capabilities. To begin this process, the DM and A/CDS have released the Directive on DND/CAF Reopening Strategy (Summer Posture). This directive provides a framework from which the Defence Team can begin to adapt to these changes and transition to a more resilient post-pandemic workplace.
What will DND/CAF facilities look like in the immediate future?
Until a sufficient percentage of the population is fully vaccinated and the risk of transmission between individuals drops significantly, and where civilian rates of disease and of vaccination warrant, we will continue to apply our Layered Risk Mitigation Strategy in DND/CAF facilities. This includes restricting the number of people in facilities, continuing to enforce Public Health Measures (PHMs) like mask wearing and physical distancing, and implementing the voluntary Rapid Antigen Detection Test program in higher risk DND/CAF workplaces.
How quickly restrictions are lifted in each DND/CAF facility will depend on provincial/territorial and regional public health guidance, which is based on evidence and judgment around the different levels of risk that apply to different activities. L1 leaders will continue to adjust activities and PHMs according to local situations. In all decisions, leadership will carefully consider the health of Defence Team members, Senior Medical Authority advice, and guidance from regional health authorities.
What does the future of our workforce look like?
We’ve seen that a lot can be accomplished by a largely remote workforce. Remote work, virtual work, hybrid models, and other flexible work arrangements will continue to play a larger role than in the pre-pandemic context. However, some tasks must be done in person. Additionally, team cohesion and productivity can benefit greatly from in-person collaboration.
As managers and supervisors plan for the transition of their workforce to post-pandemic realities, there will be a lot of factors to consider, including:
- local PHMs;
- operational requirements for in-person presence;
- infrastructure changes that may impact inclusivity and accessibility;
- mental health challenges that require increased support services and flexibility by leaders and managers; and
- prevention of harassment related to COVID-19.
There will also be variation in each Defence Team member’s ability to fully resume job responsibilities and/or return to the office. It is understood that individuals will have different levels of personal risk according to their respective home and life situations outside the workplace. Careful consideration will be given to the following factors:
- dependant care responsibilities;
- mental and physical health conditions that may qualify someone as high-risk/vulnerable;
- the presence of high-risk/vulnerable family members at home;
- public transit limitations; and
- one’s ability/inability or choice to be fully vaccinated.
Even as L1 organizations begin to change their posture, there will be a portion of the workforce that will wish or need to continue to work from home. The intent is to very deliberately reopen DND/CAF workplaces and activities, but leadership will continue to steadfastly support and protect the health of the Defence Team. All Defence Team members are encouraged to have open and honest conversations with their chains of command to determine what will work best for them and their team moving forward.
The mental health strain on Defence Team members caused by spending over a year living through a global pandemic cannot be underestimated. As you have conversations within your teams about the future of our workforce, please do so with compassion and understanding of the challenges that each member is facing.
All Defence Team members are encouraged to read the directive in its entirety. You will find more information on:
- Travel constraints/conditions
- House hunting related to CAF postings
- Operational testing & contact tracing
- L1 responsibilities
Thank you for your continued hard work, flexibility, and understanding while working through the COVID-19 pandemic. The end is in sight and we will take the lessons we’ve learned through this pandemic to emerge as a more resilient and dynamic Defence Team.
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