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Treasury Board president urges managers to be flexible on exemptions for new 3-day office mandate

The president of the Treasury Board is standing by the federal government’s new hybrid office mandate for federal public servants, but is urging managers to be flexible for staff requiring exemptions.

Anita Anand spoke at the Mayor’s Breakfast at Ottawa City Hall on Thursday, three weeks after the Treasury Board Secretariat announced all public servants in the core public administration will be required to be in the office a minimum of three days a week. All managers are expected to be on-site a minimum of four days a week.

“That decision was made by the public service, it was not a political decision,” Anand said.

Dozens of public servants attended a rally, organized by the Canadian Association of Professional Employees, outside of Ottawa City Hall while Anand spoke.  The unions have vowed to launch legal challenges over the new mandate.

“In terms of hybrid, that hybrid work is important,” Anand said.

“It is important to have flexibility, it is important to be able to hear from public servants and employees generally about what they need to cope in the workplace.”

“So, the move from two to three days to three days, it is still within the range that was put down in the policy before I became Treasury Board president, and it’s four days for managers – so hybrid still exists in that respect.”

The president of the Treasury Board is urging managers to accommodate staff requesting exemptions to the new office mandate.

“We should focus our attention on accommodations and exemptions for public servants who need and require those exemptions,” Anand said.

“I really have faith that we will do more with the telework options so that public servants feel continually supported. My view is that we got through the pandemic with the public servants supporting our country so well and we need to continue to support them.”

The Public Service Alliance of Canada says 45,962 letters have been sent to Anand and all MPs to demand the government withdraw the new hybrid office mandate.

“Every worker’s job and situation are unique, and a cookie cutter approach to telework can’t be applied to Canada’s diverse public service,” PSAC says on its website. “Overwhelming evidence proves that telework improves work-life balance and increases productivity for workers.”

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