Feds lay out guidelines for returning public servants to workplaces

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OTTAWA — Canada’s roughly 250,000 federal public servants are being primed for an eventual return to their workplaces, though many are expected to continue working remotely for the foreseeable future.

The preparations, which include the distribution of a 30-page guidebook, come as provinces continue easing restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 and more Canadians return to their offices and other places of employment.

The vast majority of federal public servants have been working from home since mid-March, during which time many have been called upon to help roll out new support programs for Canadians affected by the pandemic.

In a message to public servants this morning, Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos, who oversees the bureaucracy as a workforce, says the re-opening of federal worksites will vary based on local conditions and each department’s requirements.

The federal public service has been praised for the speed with which it has rolled out a variety of support programs such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit during the pandemic.

Yet it has also been criticized for the closure of Service Canada offices across the country since March, particularly as minimum-wage employees in grocery stores and other workplaces continued to work.