Monthly Archives

August 2021

Latest (deleted) message from the Chief Human Resources Officer: required vaccination

By COVID-19

The Chief Human Resources Officer for the federal public service sent a message to departments on Friday, following news from Treasury Board that vaccinations against COVID-19 would be required for all federal public servants.

The largely generic message titled, “Required Vaccination : What it means For The Public Service,” highlighted working with departments and stakeholders, specifically unions through the National Joint Council to figure out next steps and how this would be implemented.

The messaged made reference to the public servants who will unable to be vaccinated and that discussions will happen about accommodations that could potentially be put in place.

Despite generally being collaborative and positive in tone, the message also made reference to public servants who may refuse being vaccinated, “For those who refuse vaccination, we will need to consider alternative measures, such as testing and screening. Our overall objective will be to protect broader public health by reducing the risk of COVID-19.”

The message was taken down from Treasury Board’s website on Monday after the line about about public servants refusing vaccinations and being tested instead was picked up the media and became the subject of partisan debate.

However, the media and those on social media had already saved the message and were posting screenshots of it online, despite Treasury Board having removed it from its website.

Treasury Board had to clarify, saying the reference to testing and screening for public servants who may refuse vaccination wasn’t entirely clear, which is why they decided to remove the message.

Treasury Board did not indicate whether an updated, more accurate message would be posted online.

Reaction on social media included some saying it was unfortunate that the health and well-being of public servants was being used for partisan advantage.

PM: “There will be consequences”

The Prime Minister said on Tuesday that, “[public] servants must be vaccinated. If anyone doesn’t have a legitimate medical reason for not getting fully vaccinated, or chooses not to get vaccinated, there will be consequences.”

The Public Service Alliance of Canada responds

In response to the Prime Minister’s comments, one of the largest federal public service unions, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), put out a statement titled, “Public service workers shouldn’t be disciplined over vaccination requirements”:

This week, national political party leaders have made concerning statements about disciplining or terminating federal public service workers who choose not to be vaccinated as part of the government’s vaccine mandate proposal.

PSAC supports vaccination requirements for federal workers to ensure the safety of our members in their workplaces, and to protect our communities, but using discipline and termination to enforce them is unacceptable.

PSAC has been in consultation with the federal government on their vaccination proposal, and our position is clear: employees with a valid medical reason for being unvaccinated, or for reasons protected by human rights legislation, must be offered a formal accommodation under the law.

In addition, if there are workers who are unable or unwilling to be vaccinated, the government must temporarily reassign those employees to other duties where possible or allow for alternate work arrangements such as remote work.

Where required, other measures should be explored, including regular screening and rapid testing.

PSAC will continue to play an active role in consultations as the federal government develops its vaccination requirements plan. We will do our utmost to ensure the safety of our members while protecting their rights in the workplace – including their right to privacy.

– Public Service Alliance of Canada, August 17, 2021

The Canadian Association of Professional Employees puts out expanded statement

Another union, the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (or CAPE) also put out an expanded statement on Tuesday, following their brief one from last Friday:

On August 13, 2021, the Federal Government announced a policy of mandatory vaccination for federal public service employees.

As the country enters a fourth wave of the pandemic and COVID cases continue to rise, it’s more important than ever for Canadians to do everything they can to protect each other, slow the spread of the virus in our communities and do what it takes to rid ourselves of the pandemic.

CAPE recognizes the importance of vaccinations and welcomes all efforts to increase vaccination coverage across Canada. As such, we strongly encourage all members who can get the vaccine to do so.

The announcement around mandatory vaccinations was sudden, provided little details around the consequences for non-compliance and failed to lay out any necessary exceptions. Without further information and meaningful consultation on what a policy on mandatory vaccination would require, CAPE cannot adequately guide or advise members.

It is important that any decision that seeks to implement vaccine requirements for federal public service employees, also consider exceptions for workers who cannot be vaccinated for reasons protected under human rights legislation.

The details of the government’s mandatory policy have yet to be outlined. CAPE is actively working with the government and other union partners, through the National Joint Council, as well as our National Executive Committee to provide meaningful input on the proposed policy. CAPE will also continue to advocate for the government to maintain other measures that help to reduce exposure to the virus, including telework, varied work schedules, and flexibility for family care.

CAPE will share additional information with its members as the consultation process unfolds and as details of the employer’s proposed plan are formalized.

– Canadian Association of Professional Employees, August 17, 2021

Other links:

Message from the Chief Human Resources Officer: Required Vaccination : What it means For The Public Service (link to deleted message)

PSAC: Public service workers shouldn’t be disciplined over vaccination requirements

CAPE: Mandatory Vaccinations: Next Steps

Other media:

Message from the Chief Human Resources Officer: Required Vaccination : What it means For The Public Service (deleted message):

Treasury Board announces intent to require mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for public servants

By COVID-19

Today Treasury Board announced its, “intent to require vaccination as early as the end of September across the federal public service” to help in the fight against COVID-19.

This would extend to employees in the federally regulated air, rail, and marine transportation sectors to be vaccinated, “as soon as possible in the fall and no later than the end of October.”

Treasury Board assured that they, “will engage with key stakeholders, including bargaining agents and transportation sector operators, as we plan for the implementation of these initiatives.”

At announcement time, only one union, the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, had responded to Treasury Board’s announcement:

“As the union representing the scientists who approved the COVID-19 vaccines, PIPSC welcomes all efforts to increase vaccination coverage in Canada. That includes a vaccine policy in the federal government that makes vaccines more accessible to our members and accommodates legitimate reasons for which an employee may not be vaccinated.”

– Debi Daviau, President, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

About next steps and how this will work, Treasury Board said that, “details will be communicated as the work unfolds. The process will include determining how this requirement will be implemented, through confirmation of COVID-19 vaccination and other means of protection, such as testing when necessary.”

UPDATE #1 (Friday August 13, 2021; 7:30 p.m.)

A second union, the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE), issued a statement:

“CAPE is disappointed by the lack of consultation around this decision and the absence of advance notice. Mandatory vaccination for all federal public service employees will have serious implications and will bring a new level of disruption that would have been better addressed through thoughtful discussions and coordination with unions.”

– Canadian Association of Professional Employees

UPDATE #2 (Friday August 13, 2021; 7:45 p.m.)

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), one of the largest federal public service unions also issued their statement citing privacy concerns and accommodating those who can’t be vaccinated:

“PSAC supports measures to increase vaccination rates, including vaccination requirements for federal public service workers to protect our members, their colleagues, and our communities.

Governments and employers have an obligation to ensure our workplaces are safe for public service workers and Canadians everywhere.

Although we support the goals of the government’s proposal, it’s critical that any eventual plan put forward by the government that would collect or verify the vaccination or medical status of our members respects their legal right to privacy. The government must also provide accommodations for workers who cannot be vaccinated for reasons protected under human rights legislation.

We expect the government to continue consulting with unions on the implementation of their vaccination requirements to safeguard our members’ right to privacy and ensure that their human rights are respected.”

– Public Service Alliance of Canada

Other links:

News release: Government of Canada to require vaccination of federal workforce and federally regulated transportation sector

A change announced to the senior ranks of the public service (August 12, 2021)

By Shuffles

On August 12, 2021, the Prime Minister announced the following change in the senior ranks of the public service:

Manon Brassard, currently President of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, will also serve as Interim President of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario, effective August 12, 2021.

Other links:

News release

Biography: Manon Brossard

“Pathfinder” return to workplace project gets off the ground at PSPC

By COVID-19

Public Services and Procurement Canada, one of the largest departments in the federal public service, announced last week in a news release that it was starting its “pathfinder” project: a totally voluntary and flexible return to the workplace pilot for its employees as of August 3.

Employees interested in the pathfinder project must register to participate and reserve their workspace in advance.

PSPC said that over 200 of its employees had already signed up.

The department reassured that, “cleaning and hygiene protocols, such as physical distancing and mask-wearing have been put in place and in addition, all PSPC employees must complete mandatory training on processes and guidelines related to health and safety in the workplace.”

PSPC also said that employees will need to complete a COVID-19 self-evaluation before arriving at the workplace.

GCcoworking

Participating employees have access to GCcoworking locations across the Ottawa/Gatineau national capital region (NCR), which include:

  • Downtown Ottawa;
  • Ottawa West;
  • Ottawa East;
  • Gatineau; and,
  • Place du Portage III.

The GCcoworking initiative describes itself as, “accessible GC workplaces which meet the security, workplace safety, ergonomic and telecommunication requirements of employees and programs for enhanced employee flexibility and mobility.”

The Gatineau, Orleans, and Kanata GCcoworking locations with moss walls.
Source: GCcoworking Twitter
The Gatineau, Orleans, and Kanata GCcoworking locations with moss walls.
Source: GCcoworking Twitter

PSPC said that, “the project will be active until PSPC is ready to transition to its next phase of gradual reintegration into the workplace. The data from the pathfinder project in the NCR will be used to shape the future of PSPC’s workplace.”

Treasury Board releases guidebook for departments on easing of restrictions

As the margin of new COVID-19 cases being reported in the public service continues to narrow from week to week and departments move ahead with their return to the workplace pilots, Treasury Board released its guidebook for departments on easing of restrictions at federal worksites.

The massive 51 page document covers everything from roles and responsibilities of central agencies, deputy ministers, managers and employees at all levels to a planning toolbox and checklists.

Latest message from the Chief Human Resources Officer

In addition, the Chief Human Resources Officer for the federal public service issued updated guidance about approaches to advance flexible work. The message highlights that:

  • occupancy will be focused on employees whose work and/or ability to work requires them to be on-site or where employees want to return for mental health or other reasons;
  • most employees whose work can be done effectively remotely will continue to work remotely;
  • departments and agencies will continue to plan longer-term for their workforce; and,
  • departments and agencies will continue to communicate their decisions and plans with employees in a timely manner.

The message reiterated there will be no “one-size-fits-all approach” and it will be up to departments to develop their own roadmap while working with central agencies.

Other links:

Guidebook for departments on easing of restrictions at federal worksites

Message from the Chief Human Resources Officer: approach to advance flexible work (July 26, 2021)

News release: Return to the workplace for Public Services and Procurement Canada employees in the National Capital Region

GCcoworking website

Latest numbers of reported COVID-19 cases in the public service (July 29)

By COVID-19

The number of reported COVID-19 cases in the public service since reporting began now stands at 5,311 as of July 29. The number of total reported cases has been:

  • 5,297 on July 15;
  • 5,256 on June 16;
  • 5,194 on June 2;
  • 5,151 on May 26;
  • 5,091 on May 19;
  • 4,967 on May 12;
  • 4,785 on May 5;
  • 4,581 on April 28;
  • 4,314 on April 21;
  • 4,011 on April 14; and,
  • 3,751 on April 7.

The breakdown is by province and the top five areas with the highest reported cases continues to be:

National Capital Region: 1,474
Quebec (minus the NCR): 917
Ontario (minus the NCR): 807
Alberta: 780
British Columbia: 725

The amount of reported cases in the public service outside of Canada remains at 62.

Province, region or territoryReported cases
Alberta780
British Columbia725
Manitoba225
National Capital Region (NCR)1,474
New Brunswick17
Newfoundland and Labrador21
Northwest Territories1
Nova Scotia49
Nunavut2
Ontario (Minus NCR)807
Prince Edward Island2
Quebec (Minus NCR)917
Saskatchewan228
Yukon1
Outside of Canada62

Other links:

Reported cases of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the federal public service

Latest numbers of reported COVID-19 cases in the public service (July 15)

By COVID-19

The number of reported COVID-19 cases in the public service since reporting began now stands at 5,297 as of July 15. The number of total reported cases has been:

  • 5,256 on June 16;
  • 5,194 on June 2;
  • 5,151 on May 26;
  • 5,091 on May 19;
  • 4,967 on May 12;
  • 4,785 on May 5;
  • 4,581 on April 28;
  • 4,314 on April 21;
  • 4,011 on April 14; and,
  • 3,751 on April 7.

The breakdown is by province and the top five areas with the highest reported cases continues to be:

National Capital Region: 1,470
Quebec (minus the NCR): 915
Ontario (minus the NCR): 804
Alberta: 778
British Columbia: 724

The amount of reported cases in the public service outside of Canada has jumped to 62 from 57.

Province, region or territoryReported cases
Alberta778
British Columbia724
Manitoba224
National Capital Region (NCR)1,470
New Brunswick17
Newfoundland and Labrador21
Northwest Territories1
Nova Scotia49
Nunavut2
Ontario (Minus NCR)804
Prince Edward Island2
Quebec (Minus NCR)915
Saskatchewan227
Yukon1
Outside of Canada62

Other links:

Reported cases of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the federal public service

Changes announced to the senior ranks of the public service (August 6, 2021)

By Shuffles

On August 6, 2021, the Prime Minister announced the following changes in the senior ranks of the public service:

Nathalie G. Drouin, currently Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General of Canada, becomes Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council and Associate Secretary to the Cabinet, effective August 23, 2021.

François Daigle, currently Associate Deputy Minister of Justice, becomes Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General of Canada, effective August 23, 2021.

Christyne Tremblay, currently Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council, Associate Secretary to the Cabinet, and Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, becomes Senior Official at the Privy Council Office, effective August 23, 2021.

Michael Vandergrift, currently Associate Deputy Minister of Public Services and Procurement, becomes Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Privy Council Office, effective August 16, 2021.

Dylan Jones, currently Deputy Minister of Western Economic Diversification, becomes President of the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada and Interim President of Prairies Economic Development Canada, effective August 6, 2021.

Paul MacKinnon, currently Executive Vice-President of the Canada Border Services Agency, becomes Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Governance), Privy Council Office, effective August 30, 2021.

Paul Halucha, currently Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Economic and Regional Development Policy, Privy Council Office, becomes Associate Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change, effective August 16, 2021.

Arianne Reza, currently Assistant Deputy Minister, Procurement, Public Services and Procurement Canada, becomes Associate Deputy Minister of Public Services and Procurement, effective August 16, 2021.

Scott Jones, currently Deputy Chief, Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, Communications Security Establishment Canada, becomes Federal Lead, Proof of Vaccine Credentials, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, effective August 16, 2021.

Other links: