Treasury Board’s new guidance on hybrid works falls short of expectations

The Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) has released its latest guidance on the hybrid workforce.

PIPSC and the other federal public service unions submitted recommendations to the TBS on this issue earlier this year, as part of ongoing discussions around this future public service model – one that TBS President Mona Fortier has publicly committed to.

While the guidance focuses on telework, it is unfortunately based on the current policy that was developed pre-pandemic. We have been pushing the Treasury Board for over 2 years to provide a full, clear and consistent definition of the hybrid workforce. We expected a more substantial document that took our recommendations into account.

At a time when businesses, organizations and other unions across the country have started to embrace the new normal of 21st century work – a model that includes remote work – the government is showing that it lacks flexibility and remains stuck in a pre-pandemic mentality.

Its failure to evolve means it risks falling behind – and it will likely result in losing experienced public service professionals who will take their talents to employers that better embrace this new way of working.

A recent PIPSC survey found that a majority of our members preferred to continue working from home:

  • Over 60% prefer full-time telework
  • Over 25% prefer a hybrid model
  • 11% prefer returning to the workplace full time, with some flexibility to work occasionally from home

The survey also found that 60% of members indicated they can do all of their work from home. 25% said that most of their work can be done from home. Only 3% said that they cannot work from home.

We need to ensure that access to hybrid and telework arrangements is provided equitably, accommodates member preferences, and is approved without bias or unreasonable criteria. Accessibility and accommodations need to be considered. Home office expenses such as high-speed internet should be paid by the employer.

In addition, measures are needed to protect the right to disconnect and work-life balance. Departments and agencies must be transparent and work with our representatives on their plans to open up worksites. They must respect collective agreements and all applicable legislation.

Finally, there needs to be a clear plan and approach to open offices. Workplace strategies like hot-desking and hotelling need to be re-examined. 

We will continue to push the Treasury Board to improve and deliver on its commitment to a remote and hybrid work model. We will keep our members updated on a regular basis.