FAQs regarding COVID-19 for PIPSC members

COVID-19 in the workplace

Where do I find medical advisories with respect to COVID-19?

The Government of Canada is the best source of COVID-19 information for Canadians. Information from your provincial and local health authority is also very important for you to stay up-to-date on the situation in your own community.

Where do I find travel advisories with respect to COVID-19?

An official global travel advisory is in effect: avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice. You can get the latest updates at www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html

How is my travel insurance impacted by COVID-19?

The Government of Canada has announced an official global travel advisory: avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice. Travel benefits may be void if you decide to leave the country after these advisories have been announced. 

If you cannot safely return to Canada and you departed between January 18 and March 16, you will remain covered. Your PSHCP travel insurance is extended until further notice. More information about COVID-19 and travel insurance is available here.

Have there been changes to my health plan?

Many health insurance plans are making temporary changes to their policies to allow for greater flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, members of the Public Service Healthcare Plan  will no longer need to provide a prescription to obtain mental healthcare or physiotherapist services.  PSHCP claims for services provided by licensed social workers will also be accepted for plan members living across Canada – previously coverage was limited to those living in remote regions - also, effective April 24, 2020 services provided by a licensed psychotherapist are eligible for reimbursement under the mental health provision.

Note that these temporary changes are in effect until further notice,

PIPSC members covered by other plans should visit the website of their insurer for information on any changes to coverage.

Does my health plan cover telemedicine (online/telephone appointments) for things like psychology and physiotherapy?

In most cases – yes. If a healthcare provider is covered by your plan and permitted by provincial regulations to provide that service over the phone/internet, most healthcare plans will provide coverage. Many mental healthcare providers and a growing number of physiotherapists are able to conduct appointments using video or regular calls. If your regular physiotherapist or mental healthcare practitioner bills for online/phone appointments as they would for a regular appointment, coverage for online/telephone appointments is identical to in-person appointments.

Members may also benefit from an Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) which offers telephone or online appointments with a mental healthcare provider at no cost to you. Some EAPs also offer the services of accountants, legal professionals, dieticians, etc. For more information on your EAP, please visit the employee section of your employer’s website or consult your local HR representative. Different employers offer different EAP benefits.

This is a challenging time, can I access my Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) for counselling support?

Most PIPSC members with federal, provincial or private employers, have access to an Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP). Your EFAP provides counselling, referral services and sometimes other specialized support. All services are confidential and free. 

It’s okay to not be okay. We are all facing this challenge together and the EFAP is one more tool to support you. We encourage you to use it – learn more about your specific EFAP now.

Do my health benefits allow me to fill prescriptions in advance for self-isolation or quarantine?

Yes. The Public Service Healthcare Plan and most other healthcare plans will provide coverage for medication when it is filled for a period of up to three months. This will allow you to fill your prescription in advance to prepare for self-isolation or quarantine.

If your current prescription does not allow for three-month refills, you may request your pharmacist or doctor to change the period. Pharmacists in some provinces may also extend prescriptions or prescribe certain basic medications. Most healthcare plans allow for medication to be refilled ten days before your next refill.

Some pharmacies offer delivery or drive-through service. This reduces the risk of passing on the virus. There are also pharmacies that offer a mail order service at no extra cost. If your pharmacy does not offer a delivery service, you may contact a mail-order pharmacy to transfer your existing prescriptions. 

Do I go to work if a state of emergency has been declared by the provincial government?

If a state of emergency is declared, this will mean different things in different regions. State of emergency does not limit critical workers from reporting to work. However, it may mean closures of daycares, schools or other public spaces. If you are unsure how the state of emergency applies to your work or feel that you are being required to do work that is not keeping with the restrictions of the state of emergency, please contact us.

The Province of Ontario has declared a state of emergency. This does not limit critical workers from reporting to work; however, it does limit the size of gatherings of people, closes child care centers and reduces access to many public venues. If you are unable to arrange child care or are required by your employer to attend a gathering that exceeds the limitation, please contact us for advice specific to your situation.

If I am a critical public servant exposed to COVID-19 at work, what should I do?

Our members maintaining critical services are making great efforts to protect Canadians. We are proud of them. Any critical public servant who contracts COVID-19 because they are required to go to their workplace should file a workplace injury report. If you are unsure how to proceed in this case please contact us.

The bandwidth at my home is not sufficient to meet all of my family’s needs with me working from home. How do I balance these needs?

For individual cases, please contact your manager about flexible arrangements to permit you to continue working while sharing internet bandwidth. Please be mindful that needs are not the same as preferences.

You may also want to look for opportunities to coordinate schedules when multiple family members are working from home, where possible. In some families moving online extracurriculars like music lessons to outside work hours, downloading TV and movies for kids at night or planning some work that can be done offline – have been helpful solutions. This will not address the issue in all cases.

What if my home equipment breaks?

Contact your manager about being sent a replacement or virtual repairs.

I had to buy some office supplies to be able to work from home, am I entitled to reimbursement for these expenses?

Employees should always seek prior approval before purchasing equipment for work.

The Treasury Board has directed departments to only reimburse equipment expenses that have been pre-approved by the appropriate manager. You must also provide receipts for the expense.

The Treasury Board has instructed managers to prioritize equipment for indeterminate employees, employees on terms longer than three months, critical workers and workers who require accommodation. The duty to accommodate and the need to meet occupational health and safety requirements are top priorities for the Treasury Board.

Equipment will either be shipped to the employee or picked up at the workplace.


PIPSC Treasury Board Members

These questions and answers apply to members in the following groups:

Audit, Commerce and Purchasing (AV)
Computer Systems (CS)
Engineering, Architecture and Land Survey (NR)
Research (RE)
Health Services (SH)
Applied Science and Patent Examination (SP)
Canada Revenue Agency (AFS)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (NUREG)
National Energy Board (NEB)
National Film Board (NFB)
National Research Council (NRC)
Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI)
RCMP Civilian Members

Should I be working from home?

Yes. Deputy Heads, Heads of Agencies (including separate employers), and Heads of Human Resources have been told to make arrangements to allow telework across Canada. They are working as quickly as possible to communicate this to all public servants and make appropriate arrangements. 

Only in the case that you are deemed critical, should you be required to report to your worksite. Federal organizations must determine what to do in cases where telework is not possible, such as:

  • critical services requiring on-site presence
  • security limitations
  • other operational imperatives where there are no alternatives

It is essential that Government of Canada employees abide by instructions from local health authorities.

Please clarify, in writing, if you are required to report to your worksite with your supervisor as soon as possible. 

Contact us if you are concerned you’ve been misclassified or are not being allowed to work from home: https://pipsc.ca/news-issues/information-members-regarding-covid-19-coronavirus/coronavirus-covid-19-help-form

Which federal government services are “critical”?

The Treasury Board has responded to our request for a clear definition of “critical” services. 

“A critical service is one that, if disrupted, would result in a high or very high degree of injury to the health, safety, security or economic well-being of Canadians, or to the effective functioning of the Government of Canada.”

If you are deemed critical you may be asked to go to a worksite at this time. Telework should be arranged if possible in all cases.

Learn more here.

Interprovincial or regional travel has been limited in my area. Will I still be able to get to work?

Yes. If you are a critical federal worker when you present a valid government ID and a valid photo ID you will be able to travel to your workplace.

Deputy Heads, Heads of Agencies (including separate employers), Presidents of Regional Federal Councils, Heads of Human Resources have been given a template letter that managers can use to explain the critical nature of your work. 

To make things easier, please request your manager to complete a template letter for you.

If you have any difficulties travelling to your workplace please get in touch with us for support. 

If I had vacation time already approved, am I required to take vacation now?

No, you do not need to take prearranged vacation leave. You can cancel this vacation time and work from home. 

In the following cases you may access other leave with pay (699 code):

  • providing childcare for your children
  • contracted COVID-19
  • at high-risk or living with someone at high-risk of contracting COVID-19

If you are sick but not with COVID-19, please follow standard leave provisions for sick leave.

Can I refuse to work because my workplace is unsafe?

Like all workers, you have the right to refuse dangerous work. The nature of the pandemic is different across regions and workplaces so the risk varies and some members provide critical services. Each case must be assessed individually, please contact us now for assistance with this evaluation: https://pipsc.ca/news-issues/information-members-regarding-covid-19-coronavirus/coronavirus-covid-19-help-form

I am not ergonomically set up to telework from home. What if it is causing me pain to work from home?

You should report any work-related injury to your manager.

Ask your manager if the necessary ergonomic equipment can be sent to you. If you have your own personal equipment to work ergonomically at home, contact your departmental security office and your manager to determine if and how you could use that equipment.

You may also wish to contact your EAP for at-home resources on mitigating strain.

It may be that for health reasons, working from home may not be possible full-time or at all. If this is the case, please contact your manager as recommended by the Treasury Board. If you and your manager do not come to a good agreement please contact us for support.

I am a critical worker in the workplace, if I develop COVID-19 can I make a workers' compensation claim?

Yes. Workers' compensation coverage includes occupational diseases (such as COVID-19) contracted as a result of your work duties in the workplace. If you are a critical worker and you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have received that diagnosis, you should immediately:

Your diagnosis can be related to your work duties, especially if you work in health care. Our employment relations officers can provide guidance on what to expect from the workers’ compensation claim process.

If I am injured while working at home, can I make a workers’ compensation claim? 

Yes. Workers' compensation coverage includes anywhere you are doing your work, even your home. If you are working from home and you experience an injury due to a hazard in your environment, during the course of your workday, you should immediately advise your supervisor in writing and indicate that you have a workplace injury.

If the injury occurs outside of work hours and unrelated to your duties, it would not normally be covered. When you notify your employer, it is important to include the time of the accident, location in your home and what you were doing when the injury occurred.

Your employer has a responsibility to complete the appropriate documentation and you should complete the provincial workers' compensation injured worker form. In our experience, the federal government practice is to delegate claims management to the provincial boards. Employees of the federal government are subject to the Government Employee’s Compensation Act (GECA), unless the employer assigns the authority to administer a workers' compensation claim to the provincial board. Please contact our EROs if you have difficulties navigating this process.

I need pay documents and I don’t have access to VPN, what should I do? 

Pay documents like a pay stub or tax slip are now available from the Client Contact Centre using epost Connect. You can contact the Client Contact Centre directly to request these documents.

Generally, requests for documents or paystubs come from GoC employees on leave, former employees or retirees who do not have access to pay documents as they are considered inactive. However, given the current circumstances there are no restrictions as to who can receive this service.

Are there mental health supports available to me during this crisis, in addition to those offered by my Employee and Family Assistance Program? 

Yes, the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) will temporarily cover services provided directly by licensed psychotherapists and social workers. You will be reimbursed under the mental health provision in your benefits plan. This includes social workers in all regions.

Your Employee and Family Assistance Program also offers mental health support. 

Have there been changes to my dental plan? 

The Public Service Dental Care Plan (PSDCP) and the Pensioners’ Dental Services Plan have temporarily extended coverage for eligible dependents aging out of the plan.  To lessen the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on dental care, the eligible dependents of plan members will, in most circumstances, remain covered for certain treatment one year after the day in which non-emergency dental coverage is restored. Please see this website for more information.  

Members of other dental plans should contact their insurer or HR representative for information on that plan.

A member of my immediate family has passed away. Am I entitled to bereavement leave?

Yes, your collective agreement entitles you to bereavement leave with pay when a member of your immediate family dies.

Most collective agreements provide flexibility for bereavement leave, so you can take it now or week or months from now if there is a delayed memorial service.

Also, most collective agreements allow you to make a request to the deputy head (or equivalent) for bereavement leave to be granted in a different manner or for a longer period of time to meet your circumstances. The specific details are in your collective agreement. You can contact your steward or our labour relations team if you have questions.

Will my employer reimburse my parking costs?

No, unfortunately the Treasury Board is not reimbursing parking expenses to public servants.

We wrote to the Assistant Deputy Minister responsible, Stéphan Déry at Public Service and Procurement Canada. We made clear that you should not have to pay monthly to keep your reserved parking space while working from home during this crisis. 

He refused to assist, read the response to learn more.

As parking is not part of our members' terms and conditions of employment, we encourage you to discuss your personal parking contract directly with the service provider.

New Treasury Board Guidance for the use of ‘Other Leave With Pay (Code 699)'.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, federal government workers have done their utmost to provide assistance and services to Canadians. Federal employees who needed more flexibility to attend to caregiving duties, deal with health risks, or those who could not perform their tasks at home when their offices closed accessed ‘Other Leave With Pay (Code 699).’

At the beginning of the pandemic, many public servants did not have the tools and resources typically provided by the employer to do their job, and they were forced to use Code 699. As schools and daycares were closed, Code 699 also provided relief to parents who were not able to work with children and other dependents at home. The government's response, at that time, was both swift and appropriate given the need to protect the health and safety of its employees.

The use of Code 699 has now declined considerably as employees are equipped to work from home and because schools and daycare centres across the country have reopened. Code 699 is still required for some of the most vulnerable federal employees who may occasionally be unable to work due to childcare constraints, equipment shortage, health risks or other reasons.

It is a great disappointment that the Treasury Board has decided to change its guidance for management on the use of Code 699.

COVID-19 has exacerbated gender and other inequalities. Women’s participation in the labour force has declined to its lowest level in three decades. Women disproportionately shoulder the burden of unpaid work, and restricting access to Code 699 will have a significant impact upon women, caregivers and those with health risks.

PIPSC is pushing back.

PIPSC is consulting with all our members’ employers on a regular basis to ensure that members’ concerns are being addressed. This may include working from home, taking sick time or ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’. 

PIPSC has objected to the use of vacation and other forms of paid leave, such as family-related leave, in circumstances where members are unable to work due to COVID-19. When the new guidance is in effect, we will file a policy grievance.

Treasury Board has provided the following questions and answers for employees.

PIPSC has objected to this guidance and has filed policy grievances. See our full response.

PIPSC has raised its concerns to this guidance and will be filing grievances in objection. Despite this, until the grievances are resolved, it is important to follow the guidelines.  

We are also encouraging you to raise your individual concerns with your supervisor to try and have it resolved and for you to talk to a local steward, if difficulties are encountered following discussion with management. 

What is the new guidance that managers will use to approve the use of Code 699? 

Treasury Board has provided the following guidance to managers

 

“Requests for ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ must be examined on a case-by-case basis. The guidance on ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ posted on the Employee illness and leave page on Canada.ca, as updated on October 22, 2020 and all subsequent updates, shall prevail should any questions of interpretation or potential inconsistency arise. Managers should have discussions with employees on their specific circumstances, consult the evergreen guidance on the Canada.ca site and their departmental Labour Relations units to determine how to address specific requests from employees. Leave provisions must be provided in accordance with the applicable collective agreement, or terms and conditions of employment. Terms and conditions related to leave vary depending on the collective agreements.

Managers will need to examine individual requests relating to ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ on a case‑by‑case basis, in consultation with their Labour Relations Advisor. Generally, ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ can be considered if:

  • an employee would otherwise be available for work
  • options have been explored for
    • flexible work hours
    • remote or alternate work
    • other relevant paid leave, available through collective agreements or terms and conditions of employment

The use of ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ by public servants during this pandemic has gradually decreased since the initial onset of remote work in March 2020. For details, you may refer to the summary dashboard."

You have tested positive for COVID-19

Treasury Board has provided the following guidance:


“If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you must follow the guidance of your local public health authority. Do not report to a worksite; if possible, work remotely.
If you are too ill to work some or all of your hours, you are expected to use your existing sick leave credits.
If you do not have enough sick leave credits, you may be eligible for ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ to cover the infectious period.”
 

You have symptoms of COVID-19 and/or are required to isolate

Treasury Board has provided the following guidance:

“If you are experiencing symptoms and/or required to isolate or quarantine, you should arrange to be tested for COVID‑19 as soon as possible and in accordance with public health recommendations. You should not go to your worksite.

You may be eligible for ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ if:

  • you require time off to get tested
  • your work requires you to be onsite, and
  • remote work is not possible, and
    • you have been instructed to isolate or quarantine by a medical practitioner or public health authority

If you are too ill to work once your isolation period has ended, you are expected to use your existing sick leave credits.

If eligible, ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ could be available unless

  • you make a personal choice to be tested, or
  • you have travelled against public health advice and Government of Canada travel advisories and are required to isolate or quarantine”
You, or someone in your care, are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19

Treasury Board has provided the following guidance:

“If you work onsite, you may need to refrain from returning to the worksite (in accordance with public health advice) to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19 because:

  • you are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, as described by the Public Health Agency of Canada, or
  • someone for whom you have a duty of care is at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, as described by the Public Health Agency of Canada

If your regular duties cannot be performed remotely, you should discuss with your manager the possibility of alternate remote work.

If these options are not available, you should discuss your leave options with your manager. Leave options such as family-related or vacation leave should be used first, where applicable, after scheduling leave to cover what you would typically take as vacation during the year.

‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ could be granted, on a case‑by‑case basis, if the level of risk to you or someone in your care is significant, based on factors such as: 

  • your working conditions and the protective measures in place at your worksite 
  • the number of active COVID-19 cases in the community
  • how a return to the worksite increases your infection risk, in the context of the overall actions you take to limit your exposure to COVID-19
  • opportunities for you to manage the risk of transmission at home or to make alternate care arrangements

Note: you may be required to provide documentation from a medical practitioner in exceptional cases.”

 

You have a family member who has tested positive for COVID-19

Treasury Board has provided the following guidance to managers:

“Each situation should be evaluated on a case‑by‑case basis, and open communication with your manager is encouraged. Granting leave with pay for family-related responsibilities is subject to your manager’s approval and subject to the applicable provisions of your collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment."

You have family-related caregiving responsibilities

Treasury Board has provided the following guidance to managers: 

“There may still be employees who face caregiving challenges. You may find yourself in circumstances in which:

  • an unexpected loss of caregiving arrangements for a child, a family member or a dependent in your care has occurred
  • a child, family member or a dependent in your care is diagnosed with COVID-19, or is required to self-isolate
  • a child, family member or a dependent in your care is not attending school in person and their online education and learning activities requires your supervision
  • a child, family member or a dependent in your care is at high risk of developing severe symptoms from COVID-19, or lives with someone who is high risk

To help manage these responsibilities, you should:

  • attempt to make alternate care arrangements
  • discuss remote work or flexible/alternate work hours

If you cannot make alternate arrangements, paid leave, such as family-related or vacation leave should be taken, where applicable, after scheduling leave to cover what you would typically take as vacation during the year. You should discuss your leave options with your manager. 

‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ for caregiving could be available, on a case‑by‑case basis, after other available options have been considered. In cases where someone in your care is at high-risk, you may be required in exceptional cases to provide documentation from a medical practitioner.

‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ will not be available if you have access to school, daycare or community services for someone in your care, but have chosen to keep them home.

It is generally expected that you would continue to work some hours during the week if you are granted ‘Other Leave With Pay (699).’

Managers must use their discretion and this discretion must not be exercised in an arbitrary or discriminatory fashion or in bad faith. Combined with what has been mentioned above, managers should consider the specific circumstances of the employee when deciding when to grant ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’. Individual circumstances such as being a single parent, having special needs dependant, or other factors that may disproportionately disadvantage an employee when compared to other populations in the federal public service must be considered.”

 

You are not equipped to work remotely, and your worksite has not opened

Treasury Board has provided the following guidance to managers: 

“Increased network capacity to accommodate remote work has reduced the need for leave for these purposes. 

In limited situations, ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ could be granted if:

  • you do not have access to the tools (equipment, software, internet) to work remotely 
  • your work requires you to be onsite, however
    • your building is closed, or  
    • there are restrictions on the number of employees that can be onsite at one time
  • alternate duties, or alternate work locations, are not available to you."
Additional Resources

Treasury Board has provided the following resources for employees:

  • Canada.ca Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) webpage: COVID-19 outbreak updates, announcements and other related resources.
  • Directive on the Duty to Accommodate: provides direction to managers and heads of HR on their obligations with respect to duty to accommodate, with the objective of developing an inclusive, barrier-free workplace in which all persons have equal access to opportunities in the core public administration.
  • Directive on Telework: provides the framework for the management of telework for persons in the core public administration. It lists the key stakeholders’ roles and responsibilities and suggests a template for drafting a comprehensive telework agreement.
  • Mental Health and COVID-19 for Public Servants hub: this set of webpages from the Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the Workplace contains workplace mental guidance for managers and employees specific to the pandemic context.
  • Mental Health and COVID-19: FAQ for people managers: this resource, developed by the Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the Workplace, provides tips on how to support employees’ mental health during COVID-19 in the various circumstances, including leave situations.
  • Orientation Package to Support the Easing of Restrictions at Federal Worksites: Resources to protect, promote and support employee well-being during the easing of COVID-19 restrictions at federal worksites. Please note that some of the resources in the documents below are only available to Government of Canada employees.
  • Job aids on virtual teams, COVID-19 and mental health: A job aid is a tool to help you carry out your everyday responsibilities. They come in many types, including quick reference tools, checklists, decision trees and worksheets.

PIPSC’s advice on the new guidelines

The wellness of our membership is paramount. Please review our advice regarding the new Treasury Board Guidelines.

If you are exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19, have tested positive or are required to isolate:

Your manager should direct you to return home immediately, avoiding the use of public transportation. You should follow the advice of the local public health authorities regarding COVID-19 testing and self-isolation measures.
If you are asymptomatic and able to work please request to work from home.

If you or your family member are at high risk of contracting COVID-19: 

You should request to work from home.

If you are too sick to work you are entitled to sick leave: 

If you have insufficient sick leave credits to cover your absence, you are eligible for ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’ and are not required to request an advance of sick leave credits. 

If you believe you have contracted COVID-19 due to an exposure in the workplace:

You may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation and should immediately report the circumstances of your exposure to your manager.

In the above cases, we predict that the employer will require you to provide medical certification to support an absence due to COVID-19 or a request for an accommodation. If you anticipate or experience difficulties in obtaining medical certification, advise your manager and request to proceed by way of employee attestation. You may be eligible to use Code 699 while waiting for your medical certificate.  

If you are unable to resolve the issue with your manager, or require assistance, please contact your PIPSC steward. If you are unable to contact your steward, submit a request for help.

If the employer is unable to provide you with remote work in cases where the worksite is closed:

You should be eligible for ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’. 

If you are unable to work some or all of your normal hours due to family caregiving responsibilities: 

If you are a PIPSC member experiencing workplace issues related to COVID-19 and are unsure of what to do, we encourage you to:

  1. Keep accurate records of all communications regarding your situation and notes of your discussions with your manager. Communicate in writing where possible.
  2. Notify your PIPSC Steward immediately if you are denied a request for sick leave or ‘Other Leave With Pay (699)’.
  3. If you are unable to contact your Steward, submit a request for help.

These questions and answers apply to members with the following employer:

  • BC First Nations Health Authority (BCFNHA)
  • Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC)
  • Canadian Museum of History (CMH)
  • Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN)
  • Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL)
    • Chalk River Professional Employees Group (CRPEG)
  • House of Commons (HOC)
  • Nav Canada (NAVCAN)
  • National Gallery of Canada (NGC)
  • Senate (SEN)
  • Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC)
  • University of Ottawa IT Professionals (UOITP)
  • Regional Cancer Centres Employers Association
    • Ontario Medical Physicists (MP)
  • Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
    • Sunnybrook Mechanical and Electronic Technologists (SUN-MET)
    • Sunnybrook Radiation Therapists (SUN-RT)
  • Juravinski Cancer Centre
    • Radiation Therapists - Juravinski Cancer Centre (JCC)
  • Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
    • Radiation Therapist - Thunder Bay Regional (TBH-RT)
  • Windsor Regional Hospital
    • Windsor Radiation Therapists (WRH-RT)
  • Province of New Brunswick:
    • New Brunswick AG Group
    • New Brunswick Crown Counsel
    • New Brunswick Crown Prosecutors
    • New Brunswick EN Group
    • New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission //New Brunswick VS Group
  • Province of Manitoba:
    • Manitoba Association of Government Engineers (MAGE)
  • Yukon Hospital Corporation (YHC)
Are we required to take vacation time if we are unable to work-from-home and our office is closed?

These arrangements are being coordinated with your employers now. We are getting daily and sometimes hourly updates and we will keep you informed as things are quickly changing.

If you require support to manage an absence from the workplace, please contact us.

We have asked for leadership from your employer to do everything they can to support Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) guidelines, social distancing and proactive self-isolation measures.

How should I proceed with requesting sick leave or work-from-home accommodations if myself or a family member has been impacted by COVID-19? Is there special bank time I should be using?

Currently, you should make this request directly to your supervisor as you would any other request for leave. The details of leave arrangements are being coordinated with your employers now. We are getting daily and sometimes hourly updates and we will keep you informed as things are quickly changing.

Please contact us if you require support to manage sick-leave provisions or absence from the workplace. I encourage you to reach out to employer and community resources like the Employee Assistance Program and check in with your colleagues to support one another. These are challenging times.


Nurses

I am working as a nurse and I am not being provided with personal protective equipment (PPE). What should I do?

We are hearing that some nurses in Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) institutions are not being provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) for specific assessments. 

If you are being directed to perform an assessment without PPE, such as the intake of asymptomatic inmate transfers to federal institutions, and you deem it to be unsafe, you have a right to refuse this task.

If you are refusing work tasks due to unsafe conditions please contact our labour relations team right away for support.


Union activities

Are union activities taking place? When will they be rescheduled?

The wellness of our membership is paramount. Therefore, all in-person PIPSC activities or meetings from March 16 are postponed or cancelled. 

All Regional Councils and Steward Councils for the remainder of 2020 have been cancelled. All in-person meetings have been suspended until at least December 31, 2020.

Most of these activities will be rescheduled. Unfortunately, a small number of events will be cancelled. Activities that do not need to take place in-person will continue.

The Board of Directors will evaluate any further postponements.

Meeting organizers will keep you informed of updated logistics in these cases.

How do I cancel my travel for PIPSC related activities?
How has the COVID-19 response impacted bargaining?

Initially, scheduled negotiation meetings were disrupted. For now, no negotiation meetings have been scheduled. Any meetings that were scheduled have been postponed.

We are focused on providing support to our members who continue to deliver critical services to Canadians. We are proud and appreciative of your work.

Some negotiation meetings have now resumed and will resume when it is safe to meet. We are looking into opportunities to meet online and over the phone wherever possible. We will keep you informed on this process as it affects your group.


Union support

I am being asked to come into the office and my request to work-from-home has been denied. What do I do?

The nature of the pandemic is different across regions and workplaces so the risk varies. In addition, some members provide critical services. Each case must be assessed individually, please contact us now for assistance with this evaluation: https://pipsc.ca/news-issues/information-members-regarding-covid-19-coronavirus/coronavirus-covid-19-help-form.

If the PIPSC office is closed is my grievance or arbitration still moving forward?

Yes, your grievance or arbitration will still move forward. We will notify you if the process is delayed. In-person meetings at the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board (FPSLREB) have been postponed. Those affected will be notified. 

We have closed PIPSC offices across the country, allowing most of our employees to work from home from March 16 until further notice. Staff have been prepared for this closure and have everything they need to continue their work.

During this time, our staff are committed to supporting members and will continue to be available by email and phone. Mailboxes will be monitored. We continue to work hard on behalf of all PIPSC members.