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* An asterisk indicates a new question and answer.
Other Frequently Asked Questions of Interest:
Q1. Where can I find information about the H1N1 flu virus (also known as the swine flu)?
A1. The Government of Canada's Internet portal Fightflu.ca offers Canadians a one-stop source of information on the H1N1 flu virus including tips on what individuals can do to help stop the spread of infection.
Health Canada is responsible for issuing Occupational Health and Safety Advisories for the core public administration. To obtain these advisories, please email Health Canada at email@example.com.
Individual departments and agencies are taking appropriate steps to provide information to respective staff. Employees are encouraged to consult the intranet site of their organization or to talk to their manager.
Canadians and federal employees who may not have access to the Internet can also call, toll-free, the Information Hotline at 1‑800-454-8302, or talk to their doctor.
Q2. What should I do to avoid getting the flu?
A2. Public service employees should follow the advice provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada to the general population.
Employees can play an active role in staying healthy and preventing the spread of the H1N1 flu virus. Follow these simple steps recommended by the Public Health Agency of Canada:
For more information on H1N1 flu virus prevention, consult Fightflu.ca.
Health Canada's Workplace Health and Public Safety Programme is responsible for issuing specific occupational health advice on personal protective measures for public service employees, such as health care workers.
Q3. Why is so much attention being paid to hand hygiene?
A3. The Public Health Agency of Canada has indicated that hand washing with soap and water is the best defence against common infectious diseases. Should soap and water not be readily available, employees should be encouraged to use hand sanitizer. Scent-free hand sanitizers should be available to employees in the workplace when soap and water are not readily available.
Q4. Where should employees seek guidance regarding workplace risk of exposure to the H1N1 flu virus?
A4. Employees who are concerned about their health and safety should consult with their manager to discuss their concerns.
Q5. Who is responsible for employees' occupational health and safety?
A5. Under the Canada Labour Code (Code), Part II, the employer (manager/supervisor) is responsible for the occupational health and safety of his/her employees.
Under the Code, employees also have a role to play to ensure their own occupational health and safety as well as the occupational health and safety of other employees and any person likely to be affected by their acts or omissions.
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada's Labour Program created a brochure, Pamphlet 2A - Employer and Employee Duties, which outlines the duties of both the employer and employees under the Code.
Q6. How is the Government of Canada working to protect its employees?
A6. The Government of Canada is proactively providing information to its employees on how to protect themselves against the H1N1 flu virus including general public health information provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada and Occupational Health and Safety Advisories issued by Health Canada's Workplace Health and Public Safety Programme. Individual federal public service organizations are responsible for providing specific information to their own employees to address unique organizational circumstances.
Q7. What is the Government doing to protect employees working and travelling abroad?
A7. Due diligence is imperative in relation to employee travel during an influenza pandemic. Managers and employees should consult Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada's Travel Reports and Warnings to find out about health, safety, security conditions, and entry requirements for the country or countries of destination.
Travelers should also consult the Public Health Agency of Canada for Travel Health information, including personal protective measures and locations of travel medicine clinics.
Q8. As a manager, what are my responsibilities in the context of the H1N1 flu virus?
A8. Managers are responsible at all times, both by policy and by law, to provide their employees with a healthy and safe work environment. In the context of the H1N1 flu virus, managers must remain informed of orders, directions and guidance issued by the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and from their own organizations. They also have the duty to inform their employees of these orders, directions and guidance.
Managers can obtain advice from their Departmental Occupational Health and Safety Coordinator regarding health and safety processes and procedures but, as a minimum, must familiarise themselves with their responsibilities in dealing with an employee's right to refuse dangerous work, and/or health and safety complaint. These processes are set out in the Canada Labour Code and are explained on the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada webpage on occupational health and safety.
Q9. How do managers/supervisors address the high level of anxiety that some employees may be experiencing?
A9. Under circumstances such as these, it is natural to experience anxiety. Employees may wish to speak to their manager/supervisor, who will be able to advise them on what services are available to help employees, including programs such as the Employee Assistance Program.
Q10. Is the manager/supervisor obligated to pay for transportation of an employee who becomes sick at work?
A10. The employer has an obligation to ensure that all employees have a healthy and safe work place and must provide for the prompt rendering of first-aid to an employee for an injury, an occupational disease or an illness.
"Where it appears that a physician's attention may be required, the employee shall be promptly referred to a medical treatment facility, and the employer shall ensure that suitable transportation and escort, if required, is arranged. Any ambulance or other transportation costs shall be borne by the employer."
Managers should also consider alternative methods of transportation (taxi, family member, co-worker, etc.) if an employee must return home for an emergency and is in no condition to drive home alone or to take public transportation safely, to ensure that that employee is provided with a safe mean of transportation.
Q11. As an employee, what are my responsibilities in the context of the H1N1 flu virus?
A11. Employees have the responsibility to inform themselves by consulting information provided by health authorities and by their employer, such as Fightflu.ca. They are responsible for following their management's directions regarding reporting to work and workplace health procedures in the context of the H1N1 flu virus.
Section 126 of the Canada Labour Code outlines reasonable expectations for all employees regardless of their position in the organization. Employees' duties include, among others:
While at work, employees must also report to the employer any thing or circumstance in a workplace that is likely to be hazardous to the health or safety of employees or other persons granted access to the workplace by the employer.
To avoid spreading the virus to colleagues and clients, employees who have symptoms of the H1N1 flu virus have a duty to stay at home as long as they present symptoms or as long as directed by their doctors.
Q12. What are the employees' rights?
A12. Employees have specific rights related to working conditions and leave provisions that are outlined in collective agreements and Treasury Board policies. If employees require assistance in understanding these provisions, they should talk to their manager/supervisor or their union representative.
In addition, employees have three specific rights stemming from the Canada Labour Code, Part II, in relation to their health and safety in the workplace:
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada's Labour Program created a brochure, Pamphlet 1 – Summary Health and Safety, which contains general information on the Code, Part II. The three rights mentioned above are explained in this brochure.
Q13. Am I expected to report to work in the context the H1N1 flu virus?
A13. The health, safety and well-being of federal public service employees across the country are of the highest importance to the Government of Canada. Federal employees will be expected to report to work unless advised otherwise by their management based on the advice of health authorities.
Q14. Do I have the right to refuse to work for health and safety reasons?
A14. Under the Canada Labour Code, employees have the right to refuse to do a job if there is reasonable cause to believe that the job presents a danger to themselves or another employee. Employees must be at work in order to legitimately refuse to work.
Part II of the Code, which deals with health and safety in the workplace, sets out steps for an employee to follow. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada's Labour Program created a brochure, Pamphlet 4 – Right to Refuse Dangerous Work, that explains the process.
*Q15. Can I request to stay home if I fear being infected or exposed to H1N1 in the workplace?
*A15. The Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada do not recommend self-imposed quarantine as a preventative measure against H1N1. Employees are responsible for following their management's directions regarding reporting to work and workplace health procedures in the context of the H1N1 flu virus.
Each employee's circumstances will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Communication between employees and managers is essential. If an employee requests to voluntarily isolate themselves, they may request certain types of leave (e.g. accumulated compensatory leave or annual leave), subject to management's approval and according to the provisions of the employee's collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment. Finally, it is the manager's discretion to consider requests for alternative working arrangements subject to operational requirements.
Q16. Do I have the right to refuse to attend meetings and other workplace gatherings if I suspect that I could risk being contaminated with the H1N1 virus?
A16. Employees are responsible for following their management's directions regarding reporting to work and workplace health procedures in the context of the H1N1 flu virus. Managers can consider alternatives to meetings and gatherings such as teleconferencing or emailing. Notwithstanding, under the Canada Labour Code, employees have the right to refuse to do a job if there is reasonable cause to believe that the job presents a danger to themselves or another employee.
Q17. What can I do if my work involves close contact with clients?
*Q18. If an employee advises management that they have been diagnosed with the H1N1 virus, what are the obligations of the manager to ensure an employee's privacy, while balancing the well-being of the rest of the team?
*A18. The manager must protect the employee's personal and/or medical information and normally must not share specific information about the employee. If there are exceptional circumstances where disclosure is being considered, managers must consult with their Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) and Legal advisors of their department.
The well being of other employees is best protected by regular reminders to staff of the key principles of reducing their chances of infection through tips listed on Fightflu.ca.
*Q19. Can a supervisor request an employee to confirm if they have H1N1?
*A19. No, not in the vast majority of situations. However, there may be very exceptional circumstances where legal authority exists for the collection of such information. Prior to collection, consultation should take place with their Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) and Legal advisors of the institution.
Q20. What do I do if I think a client is ill?
A20. You should bring this to the attention of your supervisor/manager, who will decide on the best way to provide the service to the client, such as via Internet, telephone, mail or increased social distancing.
Health authorities will continue to provide advice on appropriate measures to take to protect the health of employees and to stop the spread of the virus.
Q21. We have employees who have recently returned to work from travel to affected areas, and colleagues are concerned about exposure. What should we do? Can we ask employees to provide us with a medical certificate?
A21. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that anyone who is sick should stay home and should consult a health professional if they are experiencing severe flu-like symptoms.
If the employee does not exhibit any flu-like symptoms, the supervisor/manager cannot ask the employee to stay home or to provide a medical certificate solely on the basis that he/she is returning to work from travel to an affected area.
*Q22. Will departments and agencies set up workplace flu clinics?
*A22. The Public Health Agency of Canada encourages all Canadians to get immunized and play an active role in staying healthy and preventing the spread of the H1N1 flu virus. For more information on flu prevention, please refer to Your H1N1 Preparedness Guide, especially the H1N1 Flu Vaccine Information page.
The timing and manner of distribution of both the seasonal flu and the H1N1 vaccines are provincial and territorial decisions.
If and when provincial or territorial distribution plans are encouraging as many access points as possible including workplace clinics for seasonal flu and/or H1N1 vaccinations, Deputy Heads can make clinics available within their organizations by making arrangements with their local health authorities.
Generally, flu clinics have convenient hours, and employees who wish to be vaccinated are encouraged to do so after work hours. In accordance with the Directive on Leave and Special Working Arrangements, employees who require time away from work to get their vaccine may be able to take up to half a day as paid time off for a periodic medical appointment.
Q23. Will I be permitted to take time off to get vaccinated?
A23. Generally, flu clinics have convenient hours and employees wishing to be vaccinated are encouraged to do so after work hours. However, if time away from work is required, departments should consider such time as a "periodic medical appointment", which would therefore not be charged against an employee's sick leave bank.
Q24. Will certain specific groups of employees for whom there would be an operational need, such as health care workers, be required to be vaccinated in order to remain in the workplace?
A24. Although vaccinations are generally conducted on a voluntary basis, consideration may be given to requiring vaccination for a very small group of employees for whom there is an operational requirement. If an employee within this small, restricted group refuses to be vaccinated, options such as a re-assignment will be considered.
Q25. What is the planned course of action on the use of personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves?
A25. As of September 2009, the recommendation of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Health Canada's Workplace Health and Public Safety Programme (WHPSP), is that masks and gloves are not required for normal interactions with individuals. For more information, please consult Information - Public Health Agency of Canada Recommendations on use of Masks in Public Settings to Prevent Transmission of the H1N1 Flu Virus (Human Swine Flu).
Nonetheless, as part of their obligation under the Canada Labour Code's Hazard Prevention Regulations, Deputy Heads must ensure that a hazard analysis is carried out, by linking current science-based health advice to their specific and unique operational requirements, to guide them in their efforts to eliminate the hazard, to reduce it to a minimum, or to procure and use personal protective equipment where the hazard cannot be eliminated or reduced.
Q26. How will the employer promote coherence in the use of personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, across government?
A26. Deputy Heads will conduct their risk assessments taking into first consideration the advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Health Canada's Workplace Health and Public Safety Programme, including risk mitigation strategies. If an approach different than the science-based advice is contemplated, the Deputy Head should consult with the Deputy Minister of Health, and, as appropriate, the Chief Human Resources Officer of the Treasury Board Secretariat, to determine the most appropriate course of action.
*Q27. What is the preferred approach when employees insist on wearing masks as a precaution against contracting the H1N1 virus contrary to the science-based advice from the health authorities?
*A27. In order for management to carry out a proper risk analysis, dialogue and information sharing will be essential so that interested parties share up-to-date facts as well as any pertinent factors based on activities carried out by an employee.
Should an employee continue to wear a mask in spite of the latest health advice and contrary to management's risk analysis, management should make an effort to discuss and educate the employee as to the possible negative health impacts. For example, some may use masks incorrectly, or contaminate themselves when putting masks on and taking them off, which could actually increase the risk of infection. As the health advice does not support the use of masks (except in limited circumstances), the employee should understand that the mask is not a work requirement. If the employee still refuses to remove the mask, the manager should discuss further with his or her human resources advisor. To address an employee's underlying concerns, options such as reassignment or telework may be considered based on operational requirements.
Q28. At which point will the Government of Canada tell employees not to report to work?
A28. At this time, it is impossible to say when or if public service employees may be instructed not to report to work. Any such decision will be based on the directives given by public health authorities.
The Government of Canada will ensure that societal disruption and illness are minimized and that critical services are maintained.
*Q29. How do we manage situations where public transit services are interrupted or reduced as a result of H1N1?
*A29. Employees are responsible for making arrangements for getting to and from work. Management should make every effort to accommodate requests from employees while they sort out their alternative arrangements. This could include:
*Q30. How do we manage situations where employees choose to avoid public transportation for fear of becoming infected with the H1N1 virus?
*A30. There is currently no public health advice recommending that individuals should avoid using public transportation. An employee who has such concerns remains responsible for making arrangements for getting to and from work.
Q31. I've been hearing a lot about teleworking. Can I decide to work from home to avoid getting sick?
A31. It is up to management to review and approve where appropriate any request to telework. Under the Telework Policy, employees of the core public administration can be authorized to perform the duties of their position, which are ordinarily performed at the employee's designated workplace, at an alternative location, usually the employee's home.
Managers and employees are responsible for ensuring that the operational needs of the organization are met and that neither productivity nor costs are negatively impacted by telework arrangements.
Q32. I want to work from home but am not set up to do so. What do I do?
A32. An employee's manager is the first point of contact in establishing whether or not an employee should telework. Both employees and managers are responsible to ensure that operational needs of the organization are met and that neither productivity nor costs are negatively impacted by telework arrangements.
Q33. Can I work on sensitive / protected / classified information from home?
A33. Employees are responsible for safeguarding personal or sensitive information outside the workplace. Departments and agencies should assist employees with the aspects of safe custody and control of sensitive information, and make the necessary arrangements for employees to meet their obligations, when working away from the designated workplace. For more information, please consult your departmental security office.
Q34. Will teleworking arrangements be made for all employees who provide critical services?
A34. No, as some functions cannot possibly be fulfilled from another location than the designated workplace. This is why an employee's manager will review and approve any request to telework.
Q35. Who is responsible for extra costs incurred by increased teleworking arrangements?
A35. These costs are usually borne by the employer.
Q36. Will changes be made to the Telework Policy in response to the flu pandemic?
A36. No changes are planned to the Telework Policy specifically in relation to H1N1.
Q37. For employees in the core public administration that are symptomatic and/or infected with the H1N1 virus, how will leave provisions be applied and will medical certificates be required?
*A37. Should either a symptomatic employee, or an employee infected with H1N1 report to work, he or she should be sent home and/or referred to a medical treatment facility. The absence from the workplace should be covered by sick leave. If the employee does not have sufficient sick leave credits, management should consider advancing sick leave credits in accordance with the collective agreement or the terms and conditions of employment for unrepresented employees. Employees may also request other appropriate paid leave (such as annual leave, accumulated compensatory leave) in accordance with their relevant collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment. Managers may exercise their discretion in approving such requests. If an employee provides management with a medical certificate confirming that despite being sent home, they were indeed fit to work; sick leave would not be required to cover the absence from the workplace.
Except in very limited circumstances, such as if a manager questions whether an employee is truly sick, a doctor's certificate should not be required.
Q38. How do I keep myself informed of office closures?
A38. Employees must discuss with their managers who will inform them of decisions made in accordance with their departmental Business Continuity Plan.
Q39. What advice can be provided to employees that are considered more at risk of complications, such as pregnant employees?
A39. Based on current health advice, there are no specific measures required for employees that are considered more at risk of complications. For pregnant women, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that they continue normal activities, like going to work, but that they should be even more vigilant about hand-washing and carrying hand sanitizer, amongst others. However, should individual employees raise concerns, alternative work arrangements, that is to say temporary re-assignment or teleworking, may be considered based on operational requirements.
Q40. How do I know if my services are required during an operational shut down?
A40. Employees must discuss with their managers who will inform them of decisions made in accordance with the critical services section of their departmental Business Continuity Plan.
Q41. As an employee, if I'm instructed not to report to work due to an office closure, do I have to claim the time in sick or vacation days?
A41. No. Employees are not required to submit leave forms for periods where management has suspended normal business operations.
Q42. If I am able and willing to report to work but told not to, will I still get paid?
A42. All employees, including casual employees and students, who are unable to report to work due to office closures will continue to be paid for their regularly scheduled hours of work during the period of these office closures.
Employees in acting situations at the time of the office closures will continue to be paid at their acting level.
Q43. If a temporary help agency employee or a contractor is able and willing to report to work but told not to due to an office closure, will he or she still get paid?
A43. In the event of an office closure, temporary agency personnel and contractors should contact their employer to obtain further information and clarification on their individual situation. The obligations of the department to the temporary agency or the contractor, if any, must be determined in accordance with the contract for services.
Q44. I requested vacation leave and it was approved by my manager, but then the office closed down because management had suspended normal business activities. Do I still have to use up my vacation days?
A44. Yes. If an employee's leave (e.g., annual, sick, family-related, or leave without pay) was previously approved before the building closed down, he or she had already planned on not reporting to work during that time. Therefore, the employee would not be affected by the office closure.
Q45. Is there a leave policy that pertains specifically to the H1NI flu virus?
A45. No, collective agreements or the terms and conditions of employment for unrepresented employees continue to apply. It is worth noting that the Treasury Board Secretariat, in its continuing efforts to ensure that its suite of management policies meets its ongoing commitment to enhanced accountabilities and management excellence, has recently issued an updated Policy on Terms and Conditions of Employment and a new Directive on Leave and Special Working Arrangements as one of its supporting directives.
*Q46. Can an employee apply for leave with pay for family-related responsibilities if a family member becomes ill with H1N1?
*A46. Each employee's situation should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and open communication between management and employees is encouraged. Granting leave with pay for family-related responsibilities is subject to management's approval and conditional to the applicable provisions of the employee's collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment for an unrepresented employee.
*Q47. Can an employee apply for leave with pay for family-related responsibilities if his/her child's daycare or school is closed because of H1N1?
*A47. The leave with pay for family-related responsibilities provision of collective agreements or terms and conditions of employment for unrepresented employees does not apply to school and daycare closures. However, other types of leave such as annual leave could be used if employees are unable to make alternative care plans for their children.
Q48. If I need to take time off to care for family members who are ill, can I claim it as compassionate care leave? Am I then also eligible for compassionate care benefits?
A48. Under the Employment Insurance Act, compassionate care benefits may be paid up to a maximum of 6 weeks to an employee who has to be absent from work to provide care or support to a gravely ill family member at risk of dying within 26 weeks.
For more information on compassionate care leave, please consult the information notice, Compassionate Care Leave.
*Q49. Are there any situations where leave with or without pay for "other reasons" might be approved in the context of H1N1?
*A49. Leave with pay under the clause "Leave with or without pay for other reasons" is discretionary, but the situation faced by an employee must meet the criteria in this provision. That is to say, that the circumstances preventing the employee from reporting to work were not directly attributable to him or her and that the leave was for purposes other than those specified by the applicable collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment. Leave with pay for "other reasons" cannot be used to compensate employees who have exhausted their leave allotment from another existing clause. When faced with that situation, management and the employee can consider options such as the use of annual leave or compensatory leave.
Leave without pay is also discretionary and should only be granted for purposes other than those specified by the applicable collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment.
Q50. Will changes be made to the leave policy or the Public Service Health Care Plan in response to the flu pandemic?
A50. No changes are planned to either specifically in relation to H1N1.
*Q51. How will workers' compensation claims by employees in the core public administration alleging that they became infected with the H1N1 flu virus be managed?
*A51. The claims process is well established, and claims will be carefully reviewed by the appropriate provincial workers' compensation authority to determine whether there is a causal link between an employee being infected by the H1N1 flu virus and the workplace. However, given that the H1N1 flu virus is a widespread public health issue, it will likely be difficult to establish a clear causal link between the illness and the workplace.
Q52. Will an employee shortage affect pay services?
A52. Public Works and Government Services Canada, which is responsible for issuing pay cheques to employees and pensioners, has a rigorous pandemic plan in place that will allow it to maintain its critical operations.
Q53. What is the Government doing to minimize disruptions to its operations in the context of the H1N1 flu virus?
A53. The Policy on Government Security identifies the requirements for federal departments and agencies to establish business continuity plans. In the event of a disruption (i.e. emergency, crisis, disaster), business continuity plans ensure the continuity of critical services and the availability of associated assets in order to assure the health, safety, security, and economic well-being of Canadians, and the effective functioning of government.
Q54. What is a business continuity plan?
A54. Business continuity plans provide for the continued availability of services that are critical to the health, safety, security or economic well-being of Canadians, or the effective functioning of government. These services would likely cause a high degree of injury to Canadians and the government if they were disrupted.
Business continuity plans also establish a governance structure that delineates clear lines of authority, accountability and responsibility for activities deemed necessary. The plans include:
Q55. Where can I find out more about my department's business continuity plan?
A55. For more information on your department's business continuity plan, please contact your Departmental Security Officer.
The Policy on Government Security calls upon departments to continuously review, test and audit their business continuity plans. In addition, Canada's National Security Policy identifies Public Safety Canada as responsible for reviewing, testing and auditing the plans of federal departments to ensure their ability to continue operating during emergencies.
Your Departmental Security Officer would have the most current information on your department's business continuity plan.
*Q56. What is the Public Service Readiness Plan?
*A56. The purpose of the Public Service Readiness Plan (PSRP) is to provide the planning architecture, processes and guidance required for Deputy Heads to horizontally manage the cross-cutting, public service-wide consequences of an emergency. The PSRP may be activated when emergencies result in workforce and service delivery issues impacting a number of departments and agencies that cannot be effectively managed within the scope of individual departmental business continuity plans. The PSRP engages a small group of Deputy Heads who will consider interdepartmental solutions to facilitate the delivery of critical services.
*Q57. What is the relationship between the Public Service Readiness Plan and business continuity plans?
*A57. The Public Service Readiness Plan (PSRP) supplements other existing federal emergency management plans, including business continuity plans (BCPs). Departmental BCPs are always triggered first in any emergency situation. Should multiple departments encounter workforce and service delivery issues that cannot be managed within their individual departmental BCPs, the PSRP allows for interdepartmental coordination.
Q58. How will federal departments and agencies keep bargaining agents informed?
A58. The Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) has recommended that business continuity planning and pandemic planning be standing items at Departmental Labour Management Consultation Committees, and, if appropriate, at Departmental Occupational Health and Safety Policy Committees to ensure that employees receive regular updates on planning through their bargaining agent. Also, TBS is communicating with bargaining agents at the national level through the National Joint Council.
Q59. How will the government determine which services are critical and which are not?
A59. As part of the overall business continuity planning process, departments are called upon to:
(Operational Security Standard – Business Continuity Planning Program, Section 3.2 c and d, business impact analysis)
Q60. What's the difference between "critical" and "essential" services?
A60. Critical services: Under the Policy on Government Security, business continuity plans require employers to identify employees who provide support for critical services in the event of an emergency. If disrupted, critical services are likely to cause a high degree of injury to the health, safety, security or economic well-being of Canadians, or to the efficient functioning of the Government of Canada.
In the event of an emergency, the Government of Canada's first priority will be to call upon those needed on an urgent basis to uphold safety and security, such as police officers and search and rescue workers. It then puts the focus on staff members who deliver direct services on which many Canadians depend on a daily basis, particularly in areas such as health, safety and income security. As appropriate, the government will then expand to additional areas.
Essential services: Under the Public Service Labour Relations Act, employers and bargaining units enter into essential services agreements to identify the types and numbers of positions that are necessary for the employer to provide essential services during a labour disruption. Essential services are services, facilities or activities of the Government of Canada that are, or will be at any time, necessary for the safety or security of Canadians.
In the event of a strike, employees who are designated as supporting essential services would report to work as if a strike were not taking place.
Q61. Do I get extra pay if I provide a critical service?
A61. No. Should an employee be asked to substantially perform duties of a higher classification level or authorized work in excess of the employee's scheduled hours of work, then they may be entitled to acting pay or overtime pay subject to their collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment.
Q62. If I provide a critical service, am I able to take time off to care for a family member who is ill?
A62. Yes, if the provisions of your collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment allow you to do so, however, managers retain a certain amount of discretion to grant or deny certain types of leave.
Q63. Can the Government assign me to perform work normally done by others?
A63. Subject to collective agreements and statutes, such as the Canada Labour Code, employees may be required to perform a different mix of duties other than their ordinary duties, or duties they have not been previously called upon to perform, in the context of an emergency. This may include temporary re-assignment to another department or agency.
Every step should be taken to ensure that employees are only reassigned if: