Approach to advance flexible work
To: Deputy Heads, Heads of Agencies (including separate Employers), Presidents of Regional Federal Councils, Heads of Human Resources, Chief Information Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Real Property Community
You are encouraged to share the following message with your staff
Building on earlier messages about our longer-term planning post pandemic, we would like to take a moment to focus on important near-term planning and next steps.
As vaccination rates in Canada reach important thresholds, and federal, provincial/territorial, and local public health restrictions across the country begin to be lifted to varying degrees, we expect to see a gradual increase in occupancy of federal worksites beginning this fall. We will take a measured approach to planning for this increase that will build flexibility into the workforce and workplace.
In the near term, we expect that:
- occupancy will be focused on employees whose work and/or ability to work requires them to be on-site or where employees want to return for mental health or other reasons
- most employees whose work can be done effectively remotely will continue to work remotely
- departments and agencies will continue to plan longer-term for their workforce
- departments and agencies will continue to communicate their decisions and plans with employees in a timely manner
This planning will continue to follow the advice and guidance of public health authorities, including Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer and Health Canada’s Public Service Occupational Health Program (PSOHP), on all issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each department will develop its own roadmap, aligned with common principles and our planning framework, that considers the nature of their work environment and the services they provide to Canadians, both now and in the long term. In the safety and security, science, service delivery, and food and agriculture sectors, as just some examples, organizations adapted early in the pandemic to continue delivering on-site critical services. In the future, many such sectors will likely continue to require a model that includes significant on-site service delivery.
In the weeks and months ahead, central agencies and central service providers will continue to work with departments in their planning:
- Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) will continue to work with deputies to analyze their organizational footprint and begin to plan for their workplace of the future, especially those contemplating flexible, hybrid workforce models.
- PSPC will continue to ensure that HVAC systems in properties it manages meet or exceed the National Building Code of Canada and federal occupational health and safety regulations. As is always the case, ongoing assistance is available for operations and maintenance or if issues arise.
- Shared Services Canada will continue to work with the CIO community to develop prioritized plans to upgrade in-building network capacity to progressively optimize the full use of M365 collaboration tools (i.e., Teams) as well as offer support for the various department and agency working models, including a hybrid workforce.
- The Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer will continue to work with departments on people management, balancing consistency in principles that can apply across the public service with the needs of each organization.
Together, we will continue to work with you to innovate and develop agile guidance for an enterprise approach that is easily adaptable to departmental and operational needs and that supports a diverse, dynamic and flexible workforce and workplace. As we learn how to optimize our resources and enhance our services to Canadians by leveraging flexible work arrangements, we will determine our more permanent way forward in collaboration with the diverse group of stakeholders, including bargaining agents, that make up the federal public service.
Thank you for your continued collaboration.
Chief Human Resources Officer
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat / Government of Canada
Shared Services Canada / Government of Canada
Chief Human Resources Officer
Public Services and Procurement Canada / Government of Canada
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