Summary: Guidance in response to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions

From the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer

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Organization: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Date published:


Ensure effective delivery of programs and services to Canadians during the gradual, safe, and sustainable easing of COVID-19 restrictions, while supporting the physical and mental health of federal public servants.


  • Health, safety & wellness of public servants
  • Align with Public Health instruction
  • Maintenance of programs & services to Canadians

Key decisions & actions

  • Appoint an OPI in your organization to lead the development of a plan to address the gradual and sustainable easing of workplace restrictions
  • Prioritize efforts to resume services to Canadians and support to government priorities, through telework, technology and further re-opening of workspaces
  • Define ways to maximize remote work and increase productivity for all workers
  • Implement the appropriate measures to minimize the risk of transmission (e.g. physical distancing, PPE, work schedules, protective barriers, etc.)
  • Continue to monitor COVID-19 cases through the enterprise application

Keep in mind

  • Adapt your pace based on geography, function, physical space and individual employee circumstances
  • Test your plan from the perspective of the workforce, the workplace, the work and the stakeholders
  • Align with Public Health instructions
  • Protect employees’ physical and psychological safety
  • Comply with collective agreement provisions
  • Inform and consult bargaining agents and the department’s OHS committees
  • Optimize operational capacity and flexibility, allocating resources by service criticality
  • Leverage recent IT investments and digital skills to optimize productivity for remote and onsite work
  • Continue to ensure the proper and secure handling of all documents including in remote locations
  • Provide equivalent support to employees working onsite and remotely
  • Incorporate wellness, accessibility, inclusion and diversity, (e.g. GBA+ to understand and address employee experiences)
  • Gather best practices and lessons learned to maximize opportunities to modernize the public service and adapt to the future of work
  • Determine how best to align to local economic activity as it increases across Canada
  • Plans must align to the First Ministers’ April 2020 Joint Statement, with due consideration for provincial and territorial decisions


Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)

Provide evidence-based public health guidance

Health Canada (HC)

Provide occupational health guidance to government departments

Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO)

Provide guidance on the development and implementation of workplace plans and the management of the workforce

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC)

Provide guidance on the workspace and manage procurement

Shared Services Canada (SS)C

Provide key IT infrastructure for the federal public service

Custodial departments

Manage custodial worksites in accordance with guidance

Deputy heads

Develop, implement and monitor return to workplace plans for their organizations


Maintain two-way communications with employees to assess needs and address concerns


Respect instructions and make use of the tools and advice to preserve their safety and that of others


  • Ensure mental and physical safety
  • Maximize working remotely
  • Be inclusive
  • Deliver programs and services
  • Support productivity

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