Departments and Agencies to resume return to workplace planning

CAPE has been informed that all Departments and Agencies will be resuming their plans for a gradual return to the workplace which were paused during the Omicron peak. Federal Departments and Agencies are required to tailor their COVID-19 preventative measures to their work settings and employee functions, taking into account local COVID-19 considerations.

The Public Service Occupational Health Program has updated its COVID-19 Guidance to assist Department and Agencies in developing their return to workplace plans. The guidance includes the following highlights:

  • Masks should be worn indoors at all times regardless of whether physical distancing is possible. Mask will also be required outdoors when distancing is not possible.
  • Physical distancing in indoor spaces should be maximized when the setting or operations allow, for example, space workstations at least two metres apart, where operationally feasible.
  • In-person interactions should be minimized, and physical distancing maximized with clients, visitors, and the public (at least two metres), based on operational requirements.
  • Normal occupancy requirements should be respected in elevators. All occupants should wear a mask or respirator in elevators.
  • All meeting participants should wear a medical mask and maintain physical distancing of at least two metres. The duration of the meeting and number of participants should be limited.
  • The layout for shared spaces, such as lunchrooms and cafeterias, should be configured to allow physical distancing of at least two metres during breaks and meals. Employees should be encouraged to eat with as few other people as possible.
  • Departments and agencies will continue to provide employees with hand-sanitizing stations, including at building entrances.
  • Travel guidelines will follow domestic and international advisories.
  • The screening questions prior to entering the workplace have been updated.
  • Ventilation is an important part of reducing the risk of indoor transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses (for example, influenza), now and after the pandemic. For more information on ventilation, refer to: COVID-19: Guidance on indoor ventilation during the pandemic.
  • At some worksites, rapid testing is being used as another tool, either on a voluntary basis or as an accommodation for employees who are unable to be fully vaccinated or as a temporary measure for those who are partially vaccinated and are required to work on-site.
  • Staying at home when ill should be part of a normal routine in the workplace, now and after the pandemic.

The President of the Treasury Board, Minister Mona Fortier, also issued a statement in which she indicates that the Treasury Board Secretariat will continue to support deputies in their transition to hybrid work models, where applicable and operationally feasible while stressing that there will be no “one-size-fits-all approach”.

CAPE will continue to advocate on behalf of its members in the elaboration of return-to-workplace plans and to ensure the ability to work remotely remains in place in all Departments and Agencies for those members who wish to do so.

If you have any questions that your manager doesn’t answer to your satisfaction you can reach out to your Labour Relations Officer.

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