PIPSC challenges sudden shift in federal office mandates


Recent rumors have surfaced in the media suggesting that the federal government will increase the mandate to three days in the office per week for federal public service workers.  

This comes as a complete surprise as there has been no consultation with PIPSC on this critical issue, nor with other unions, based on media reports. For a government that professes a commitment to collaboration, this move is not only disappointing but deeply concerning.

While there is no official confirmation from the Treasury Board regarding changes to the common hybrid model as outlined in the Direction on Prescribed Presence in the Workplace policy, this would significantly diverge from the government’s stated direction on reducing office footprint and selling 50% of federal buildings.

Moreover, this abrupt shift goes against the "presence with purpose" approach that PIPSC has long been advocating for — where being in the office should be justified by specific operational needs, not blanket mandates.

Our members continue to report challenges they are facing in the enforcement of the current mandate requiring 40% office presence. The government’s own studies from 2020 highlight the poor and inadequate conditions of federal buildings, many of which are still not conducive to productive work. 

Many members have expressed concerns about inadequate office space, which often leads to spending office days on virtual calls, negating the purported benefits of physical presence. Forcing more employees back into these environments does not align with operational needs or common sense.

Moreover, this abrupt shift disrupts the lives of our members, many of whom have had to make significant adjustments to their personal and professional lives to comply with previous management directives on presence in the workplace. These decisions not only waste time and resources but also cause unnecessary stress and disruption, diverting attention from the essential services our members provide to Canadians.

In our ongoing efforts, we are actively working to implement the telework agreement achieved in the last round of bargaining. We are establishing joint panels within each department to individually review denied telework requests to ensure these matters are addressed both effectively and fairly.

We urge the government to halt its push towards arbitrary and one-size fits all policy changes and to engage meaningfully with us to develop a rational and flexible telework policy. 

We have requested a meeting with Treasury Board President Anita Anand to discuss these critical issues urgently. Public service workers deserve a fair, well-defined approach to hybrid work that considers health, safety, and operational efficiency while delivering the services Canadians rely on.

We stand committed to advocating for a work environment that respects the needs and contributions of all public service professionals. 

We appreciate your continued support and engagement as we navigate these challenges together.