An open letter to Treasury Board President Anita Anand

Originally published in The Hill Times on June 12, 2024.

Embracing the work revolution: Remote work is here to stay

Dear Minister, 

Over the past month, you may have seen public surveys that captured different opinions on federal telework and on the three-day return-to-office mandate, with the public weighing in, sometimes in favour, sometimes not. But the surveys that really matter are those that collect the views of those directly impacted and delivering for Canadians – your employees, our members.

In March, we ran a survey to collect our members’ perspectives on remote work, inviting them to provide us with an honest assessment of their experience with telework, and to state their preferred work model. Thousands of our members (more than 75 per cent of respondents) confirmed that work flexibility was important to them, citing increased productivity and better work-life balance when able to work remotely.

We are asking the federal government to embrace remote work as a pivotal strategy for enhancing productivity, cutting costs, and fortifying resilience. The pandemic's impact alone has underscored the viability of remote work, revealing its potential to elevate productivity, attract diverse talent, and ensure service continuity. By fostering a culture of flexibility and innovation, you can position your government as a trailblazer in the modern workplace, while also optimizing resource allocation, converting real estate into housing and reducing your environmental footprint. 

We want our members to enjoy the right to negotiate what works best for them. It is evident that our traditional notions of work are evolving at an unprecedented pace, and there are opportunities to revolutionize the federal workplace to serve everyone’s best interest. The type of work that most CAPE members do can be performed independently or collaboratively using digital tools and communication platforms. Telework is a good fit for them and many would like to have the flexibility to work remotely, part-time or full time.

During National Public Service Week, there is no better way to express your gratitude to your employees than trusting that they will excel in their roles, regardless of their physical location, and empowering them with the flexibility to achieve their best work-life balance through remote work arrangements. We encourage you to lean into this conversation with an open mind and show goodwill by revoking the return-to-office mandate. 

Yours sincerely, 

Nathan Prier 
Canadian Association of Professional Employees


Remote works for everyone

Benefits for Canadians: 

  • millions of dollars saved in federal office real estate
  • more real estate available for housing and other social services
  • less commuter traffic and reduced greenhouse gas emissions
  • greater investment in local economies, suburbs and communities
  • employment opportunities for Canadians living in remote areas across the country


Benefits for federal employees:

  • better work-life balance and family life
  • more efficient and productive workdays
  • fewer sick days used
  • more women able to fully participate and advance their careers
  • reduced barriers for employees with disabilities
  • greater employee satisfaction and higher attraction and retention rates