Tag Archives: teletravail

Largest federal unions launch major fightback campaign against new in-office mandate

person working from home

In a unified action, Canada’s largest federal unions representing more than 270,000 federal public service workers have filed a series of legal challenges and will be taking action across the country in opposition to the Liberal government’s new mandate requiring its workers to report to the office three days per week.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE), and the Association of Canadian Financial Officers (ACFO) are launching a united fightback campaign to oppose the government’s one-size-fits-all approach to hybrid work, which violates the hard-won rights of employees and fundamentally breaks the trust of workers and unions in this government.

“The decision to force workers back into ill-equipped and poorly maintained offices is purely political, and puts the services Canadians depend on at risk,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC national president. “The Liberal government props itself up as a friend of public service workers, yet at every turn they continue to ram through backroom decisions without any consultation that impact the well-being of workers and their families.”

“Workers feel betrayed, and we will be using every recourse we have available to fight this mandate and enforce a telework model that works for workers.”

The government was already struggling to implement its previous mandate requiring workers in the office two days a week due to the lack of adequate workspaces and proper tools for workers. In the federal budget, the government has doubled down by committing to sell half of all federal buildings, which will only put more strain on office space for workers.

“This isn’t just about an extra day in the office for workers,” added Aylward. “This misguided decision sets up workers to fail, pushing them into physical offices that don’t have enough workspaces, where they don’t have the right equipment to do their jobs effectively, only to spend their days on virtual calls with their coworkers who work all across the country.”

This week, PSAC filed a series of legal challenges against the government, and will also encourage members to file individual grievances to force this government to withdraw their mandate.

Letter to President of the Treasury Board

Joint letters calling for urgent action were sent to Treasury Board President Anita Anand and NPD leader Jagmeet Singh.

In the letter to Treasury Board President Anita Anand, these unions express their outrage and opposition to the recent, unilateral amendment of the government’s telework mandate.

We’re calling for immediate action and accountability on a number of issues including: lack of consultation and erosion of labour relations, the advisory process, the inability to implement policies, the impact on workforce productivity and well-being, and lack of trust and respect.

Letter to NDP leader

In the letter to NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, the same unions express their concern that the NDP continues to support a government that so flagrantly disregards the rights and well-being of workers. We ask the NDP to use their influence through the Liberal-NDP Confidence and Supply Agreement to hold the Liberal government accountable and champion the rights of workers.

Critical issue at the FB bargaining table

Since the mandate was announced, more than 26,000 PSAC members have sent letters to Treasury Board President Anita Anand and their MPs demanding the government withdraw its one-size-fits-all telework mandate on telework.

“This government better prepare for a summer of discontent,” said Aylward. “Workers are incredibly frustrated and outraged, at this government’s flagrant disregard for workers’ rights, and they’ll be taking to the streets and their workplaces in concerted, coordinated actions across the country.”

More than 50,000 members – nearly one third of all PSAC Treasury Board members – responded to our survey on the new mandate in just a few days, highlighting the widespread opposition to the policy change. Notably, 85% of respondents strongly oppose the three-day in-office mandate, with 90% prepared to take action against the government, and nearly half are prepared to give PSAC a strike mandate in the next round of bargaining over the government’s approach to telework.

PSAC members also overwhelmingly said the government’s increased in-office mandate would harm their ability to balance work and personal responsibilities (90%), their mental well-being (85%), job satisfaction (81%), and productivity and efficiency (78%) following the decision.

Telework is a critical issue at the bargaining table for 9,000 PSAC members at Canada Border Services Agency, who will wrap up strike votes for May 15. If an agreement isn’t reached on key bargaining issues including telework, fair wages and equitable pension reform, Canadians can expect major delays at border crossings and ports of entry across the country this summer.

Content in this article was first posted on the PSAC website.

Three-day in person mandate: Have your say


On May 1, 2024, with blatant disregard for the well-being of its workers, Treasury Board announced that by September 9, federal public service workers will be required to be in-office a minimum of three days per week.

Your experiences and perspectives are essential to shape the union’s strategy to fight back against the employer’s misguided and unilateral decision.

Please take 5 minutes to complete this survey. Your personal information will be kept confidential. The deadline for completing the survey is May 20, 2024.

Together, we can show the government that we’re prepared to take action.

Thank you for your participation.

Chris Aylward

This article was first posted on the PSAC website.

PSAC members furious over three-day in-person mandate, union to pursue legal action


Today, with blatant disregard for the wellbeing of its workers, the government announced that come September, federal public service workers will be required to be in-office a minimum of three days per week.

PSAC members are incredibly frustrated and angered by this announcement. In every corner of the country, we have seen how the current in-office requirements aren’t being consistently or equitably managed by most departments.

We hear time and time again from workers obligated to report to offices where instead of conducting in-person work, they spend all day on virtual meetings with colleagues across the country.

In many offices our members are regularly forced to camp out in cafeterias or cram into awkward hallway meetings because of a shortage of available workspaces, and these problems will only continue to pile up.

Despite this, Treasury Board confirmed on a call today with bargaining agents that they are planning to proceed with reducing 50% of existing government office space. Their decision is not just a misstep; it’s a failure by Canada’s largest employer to adapt, innovate, and truly lead in the face of change to the way work is done.

As recently as last week, PSAC and other unions specifically requested an update at the National Joint Council about the allegations that there may be a change to the policy. Treasury Board officials blatantly misled unions, denying any upcoming announcements about telework.

In addition, as part of PSAC’s agreement in the last round of negotiations, Treasury Board was obligated to consult with the union with the purpose of reviewing the outdated Directive on Telework. However, at no point during those discussions was there any indication of an increase to in-office attendance.

This decision has not only broken the trust between PSAC members and their employer, but very concretely, it violates the collective bargaining rights of thousands of workers.

Telework is currently a critical issue at the table for the FB group, currently holding strike votes across the country for more than 9,000 members at Canada Border Services Agency. Any changes to their terms and conditions of work while bargaining directly undermines their collective bargaining rights.

In response, PSAC will be filing an unfair labour practice complaint and examining additional legal options.

PSAC will be updating members and taking further action in the coming days.

This article was first posted on the PSAC website.

PSAC working to implement remote work agreement, joint panels for federal public service workers

As part of the last round of negotiations for 155,000 federal public service workers, PSAC secured stronger remote work language that protects workers from arbitrary decisions from the employer.

The letter of agreement we negotiated alongside the collective agreements will ensure members have their remote work requests assessed individually and have access to review remote work arrangements and prevent “one-size-fits-all” mandates in the federal public service.

Since the collective agreements were signed, PSAC has been working with Treasury Board, Canada Revenue Agency, and federal departments to implement the letter of agreement and modernize the government’s outdated telework directive.

While we know this process will take time to fully implement, there are early indications that Treasury Board is pushing back on the letter of agreement, although it remains to be seen what their final position will be.

If the government fails to meaningfully collaborate on implementing the improvements in the letter of agreement within a reasonable timeframe, PSAC is prepared to take legal action to expedite the process and ensure members’ rights are protected.

Joint union-management panels on remote work

PSAC has been working with components and federal government departments to create joint panels that will review employee remote work grievances. The panels will provide recourse for members who are dissatisfied with a remote work decision.

Treasury Board developed draft guidance for departments to use when developing the panels and their terms of reference. PSAC’s key feedback on the draft guidance was to ensure that the scope of the panels focuses on the Directive on Telework, requests for telework are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and the employee is the one to refer their denied grievance to the departmental joint panel.

Modernizing the directive on telework

We are in discussions with Treasury Board to review and modernize the outdated Directive on Telework. The last version was developed in 2019/20, prior to the pandemic, and doesn’t reflect the evolution of remote work over the last three years. Our aim is to ensure the policy aligns with the needs of our members.

PSAC has established a reference committee of representatives from the components to coordinate the work underway to both set up the joint panels and guide the consultation of the Joint Consultation Committee (JCC) on telework.

We expect to see a serious commitment to meaningful consultation on our joint recommendations for modernizing the directive when we meet with Treasury Board this month.

Challenging remote work arrangements

Once fully implemented, the letter of agreement will grant more protection for workers around remote work agreements. The process to challenge decisions will be fully in place once the joint panels are established and the dispute process is finalized.

We will continue to keep members up to date as these panels are developed and the grievance process is established.

This article was first posted on the PSAC website.

Government must stop flawed hybrid work plan for federal public service workers


Despite a week of denials, Treasury Board announced today it would unilaterally impose a restrictive hybrid work policy for all federal public service workers in the core administration.

This blanket policy mandates workers to come into the office 2-3 days per week, or 40-60% of their regular working hours; regardless of the operational requirements of their job.

The policy comes into effect January 16, 2023, and will be fully implemented by March 31. Agencies and separate employers have been urged to put in place similar policies.

The government’s decision doesn’t have the best interest of workers at heart and is completely at odds with the direction the government has been moving towards for remote work.

It’s unacceptable that right before the holidays, workers will be scrambling to make new arrangements for child care, transportation, and possibly relocating if they’ve been hired remotely and are now being asked to come into the office.

We demand that the government halt their plan. PSAC is reviewing all our options in response to this announcement, and will take the necessary steps to protect our members’ ability to work remotely.

Federal public service workers have proven they can deliver the services Canadians depend on, whether working remotely or in the office.

Remote work must be negotiated at the bargaining table 

Remote work is a key issue at the bargaining table for PSAC’s 165,000 federal workers this round of bargaining, and unilaterally changing the terms and conditions of our members’ employment during negotiations is an egregious violation of workers’ collective bargaining rights.

The lack of clarity around the policy raises more questions than answers, and PSAC does not have confidence the government can put in place the health and safety requirements and the necessary tools for all federal public service workers to return to the office in the new year.

Members who have already returned to the office have told us they’ve come into the office without desks or chairs available for them, or returned to empty buildings to spend the entire day on video calls with colleagues working elsewhere.

We will continue to provide updates to PSAC members as we fight to protect our members’ rights.

This article was first posted on the PSAC website.