CAPE withdraws from federal government’s committee on telework

Ottawa – June 13, 2024 – The Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE) announces today that it is withdrawing from the federal government-led Joint Consultation Committee on Telework set up in September 2023 with federal unions to fulfill a bargaining promise made during the 2023 collective bargaining cycle. 

After signing a letter of agreement on telework with the employer as part of the last round of collective bargaining, CAPE joined the new Joint Consultation Committee on Telework in good faith, hoping this mechanism would allow unions to engage in open and constructive discussions with the employer on return-to-office and telework policies.

Yet, the unexpected government announcement on May 1 mandating many federal employees to return to the office three days a week seriously undermined the trust and goodwill fostered by the letter of agreement. The news, leaked to the media in April, caught all federal unions off guard, as they were not consulted on this decision, which they felt was made in defiance of the agreement.

Furthermore, despite months of hard work researching and presenting recommendations to the committee, CAPE asked that the employer provide responses to those submissions. This request was denied. CAPE also asked that the Direction on Prescribed Presence in the Workplace be discussed as part of the committee’s scope of work. The employer refused this.

“After our recommendations to make the committee’s work meaningful were dismissed, it has become clear that the employer was insincere during bargaining, as it is not approaching the promised consultation with unions in good faith and by doing so, is violating the terms of the letter of agreement around telework,” said Nathan Prier, CAPE president. “The employer has no intention of listening to our members’ concerns on this issue, so the committee is a sham.”

Since these consultations began, CAPE has been clear on the need for the employer to recognize the impact various policy instruments have on each other, including the challenges posed by the Direction on Prescribed Presence in the Workplace on the fair and equitable application of the Directive on Telework

CAPE strongly believes in the benefits a modern workplace will have on the work-life balance of federal public sector workers, especially for CAPE members, whose roles fall under policy, research and other similar duties that are well suited to working from home. This would also benefit Canadian taxpayers who continue to pay for inefficiencies and lost productivity associated with the lack of progress on modernizing the workplace.

Public sector employees continue to be called into inadequate and unsafe workplaces only to attend video meetings with colleagues across the country. 

CAPE will continue to fight for telework rights and a flexible and respectful workplace, pursuing these goals through alternative channels. It is willing to reconsider its involvement in the committee once the employer demonstrates genuine sincerity.



Katia Thériault
(819) 431-1015, ktheriault @