CAPE joins 12 unions urging TBS to provide centralized guidance regarding telework

On December 17, 2021, CAPE joined 12 other unions as a signatory on a letter led by AFCO-ACAF to the Honourable Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board, asking for “strong leadership and consistent, centralized guidance to government departments and deputy heads around the following: telework and essential and critical employees without access to a third booster shot.” 

As the Omicron variant spreads, the signatory unions believed clarity was required for not only short-term decisions around teleworking but also continuing management as the pandemic continues. There are inconsistencies across departments due to vague guidelines currently.

CAPE and the other signatories were clear to Minister Fortier – that telework should be the best option for most employees who can work from home. For essential and critical employees who cannot do their jobs from home, and who cannot get access to their third dose, the government should step in to assist with doses in the absence of rapid testing.

Minister Fortier responded to the letter, noting that Health Canada Public Service Occupational Health Program (PSOHP) had asked: “departments and agencies to pause any planned increase to building occupancy, review current occupancy levels and consider increasing remote work”. However, Minister Fortier continued to say that “recognizing each department will have its own operational requirements, there can be no one-size-fits-all approach”. She also continued to say that third doses fall under the purview of provincial health agencies for most populations. 

This was also summarized in an article in the Ottawa Citizen on January 17, 2022.