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Ottawa to allow federal bureaucrats to work from home if possible to prevent coronavirus spread

13-03-2020

"Parliament Building with Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada"

 

OTTAWA – Federal bureaucrats will be allowed to work from home if possible for the foreseeable future amidst the COVID-19 virus pandemic, the National Post has learned.

 

“Let me be crystal clear, we’ll be as flexible as humanly possible,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, president of the Treasury Board.

 

The new directive from the Treasury Board Secretariat, which acts as the federal government’s employer, will be issued on Friday to all federal departments.

 

Thus, the roughly 300,000 federal employees will be allowed to stay away from their offices throughout the country as long as their job allows it. Each employee is encouraged to refer to their respective managers to see how this new order applies to them.

 

For others who’s presence at the workplace is vital to their job, such as some Parks Canada employees for example, new directives sent out Friday morning by the Chief Human Resources Officer ask to self-monitor closely for any symptoms of the virus.

 

“Self-monitoring means monitoring yourself for fever, cough and difficulty breathing and avoiding places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others if you become ill”, wrote Nancy Chahwan.

 

The directive also throws out the need for a bureaucrat to provide a medical note in order to self-isolate.

 

“In order to avoid overburdening the health care system, unless a manager has a bona fide reason to question an employee’s declaration that they must self-isolate, no medical certificate should be requested,” Chahwan’s directive notes.

 

In the meantime, TBS assures that each department has a business continuity plan in place to ensure that despite the absence of employees from the office, its mostly business as usual for government operations.

 

The directive also orders employees who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have been close to someone who caught the virus, to self-isolate and to follow strict guidelines while doing so.

 

“Self-isolation means limiting contact with others.

 

Do not leave home unless absolutely necessary, such as to seek medical care.
Do not go to school, work or other public areas and do not use public transportation (e.g., buses, taxis).
Arrange to have groceries and supplies dropped off at your door to minimize contact.
If possible, stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom from others in your home.
If you have to be in contact with others, keep at least 2 metres between yourself and the other person. Keep interactions brief and wear a mask.
Avoid contact with older adults and with individuals with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
Avoid contact with pets if you live with other people who may also touch the pet.”

 

https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/ottawa-orders-federal-bureaucrats-to-work-from-home