The following message was sent by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s Chief Human Resources Officer.
We are clearly entering a new phase in our country’s efforts to fight the new coronavirus. As recent data shows a flattening of the curve of new COVID-19 infections in multiple jurisdictions across Canada, provinces and territories are announcing plans to ease restrictions and gradually re-open economies.
To guide your organizations’ plans in response to this easing of restrictions, OCHRO, Health Canada and Public Services and Procurement Canada have assembled guidance in the form of a Guidebook for Easing Restrictions: A guide to support a gradual, safe and sustainable easing of COVID-19 restrictions at federal worksites. It has benefited from contributions from a cross-section of deputy colleagues and members of the National Joint Council. Essential excerpts can be accessed here; for your convenience, I am providing direct links to OCHRO’s guidance, PSPC’s guidance and Health Canada’s occupational health tool kit.
Your organizations’ plans will need to be consistent with the same principles that have guided our collective response to the pandemic to date: being informed by the decisions of public health authorities, the direction of provinces and territories, and the local public health situation; putting the physical and psychological health of our employees first; and, preserving the delivery of services and programs.
As you adapt your plans to the particular circumstances of our diverse workforce, your worksites, your partners’ and stakeholders’ needs, and to the nature of your work, I invite you to continue to involve bargaining agent representatives in your planning through your respective Occupational Health and Safety tables.
This unprecedented situation will challenge the public service on all levels for some time, and we will continue to seize this unique opportunity for us to shape the future of our work. For example, employees of all levels will be able to continue working from home as we maximize the contribution of all members of our workforce through new telework collaboration tools and an expanded onsite presence.
I would like to thank you for your ongoing efforts towards a successful and sustainable transition, most recently through the participation of your designated lead planners to ensure a coherent approach in this significant government-wide transition exercise. This is a time for leadership at all levels to shine.