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This section contains information compiled from questions submitted by employees.

For more information on COVID-19 and for employees' information regarding telework, health, human resources and much more, please consult the Information for Government of Canada employees: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) web page.

Telework/critical services

Indigenous Services Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada have activated their business continuity plans. This means that we will only continue to provide critical services to Canadians. Employees providing non-critical services are instructed to stay home until further notice. Employees providing critical services who are able to telework are encouraged to do so. Please consult your manager if you are unsure whether or not you are delivering a critical service.
Critical services include, but are not limited to:

A blanket authorization for telework cannot be provided as some functions cannot be fulfilled from a location other than a designated workplace. At this time, all situations should be considered. If you are performing critical work for the departments, or depending on the nature of the duties, telework may not be appropriate.

Network access/IT services

Our departments are expediting efforts to expand tools supporting teleworking. In addition to now supporting remote work through the VPN/SRA system, the Citrix access portal has been recently upgraded. Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat has been working with Shared Services Canada and departmental Chief Information Officers to maximize internet bandwidth to support remote work and prioritize network access tied to critical operations.

Therefore, all employees are asked to speak with their managers to discuss possible telework and alternative work arrangements, and determine if they deliver critical services by consulting the ISC DM message or the CIRNAC DM message – clarification on telework.

While network access will remain available within our national and regional offices as well as via smart phone, until further notice, the Departments will restrict access to the network (CITRIX or Government of Canada Secure Remote Access [GCSRA]) only to employees delivering critical services for 22 out of the 24 hours in a day.

For employees not delivering critical services, a 2-hour window, from 8pm to 10pm (EDT) will be made available every day to access the network to retrieve documents and update e-mail. We ask employees delivering critical services to work offline, if possible, during this 2-hour window.

As an exceptional measure, employees are invited to use their personal email for unclassified information and alternative means of communication, such as Webex, Facetime, Skype or Blackberry Messenger Enterprise (BBMe) application to communicate with colleagues, while respecting the Policy on Information Management.

If an employee is delivering a critical service and/or must access critical applications, managers must determine if:

If an employee is not deemed to be delivering critical services, managers must determine if the employee is:

The Service Desk Kiosk will be closed until further notice. All needed support will still be provided but delivered via phone call, email and/or remote desktop connection. Operating hours are from 7am to 8pm (EDT), Monday through Friday. Please contact the IM/IT Client Services Centre at 1-866-795-6465 or by email at aadnc.sti-its.aandc@canada.ca should you require further information.

Transport

Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) of Canada follows municipal and provincial directives with respect to the usage of public transportation. Therefore, employees who have such concerns or questions, should contact their municipal and provincial public transport.

At this time, employees must pay for their attendance at work (such as parking, public transport). Municipal and provincial authorities have not issued any directives to the effect that public transit is unsafe for the public. Employees not critical to departmental operations have been instructed to work from home. It is not excluded that this answer is subject to change according to the directives of the TBS.

Business continuity

If you need to organize a meeting, please look to integrate public health recommendations into your business practices. Under business continuity procedures face-to-face meetings may be unfeasible and create challenges for maintaining social distance. Consider replacing with alternate options, such as a multi-way call on an iPhone or on an android phone.

Employees are responsible for following their management's directions regarding reporting to work and workplace health procedures in the context of COVID-19. Notwithstanding, under the Canada Labour Code, employees have the right (with some exceptions) to refuse to do a job if there is reasonable cause to believe that the job presents a danger to themselves or another employee.

Procurement is an essential services. Requisition submitted before the published cut-off dates should be put in place and finalize before the year-end. Ancillary services from non-essential services such as BMU and Security Clearance validation might have an impact on the procurement timelines.

Accommodations

There is no office closure at this time. It is recommended that employees follow DMs' guidance on whether or not they should come in.

Public Services and Procurement Canada has developed an approach on the management and prevention of COVID-19, including cleaning and disinfecting protocols. For headquarters employees, PSPC has confirmed that BGIS will coordinate any request for cleaning/disinfection coming from departments when there is an incident of exposure.

Measures have been taken to provide hand sanitizer stations at appropriate locations.

For up to date information, please follow Health Canada's Public Service Occupational Health Program's advisories. Employees are encouraged to visit the Information for Government of Canada employees: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) website for information about COVID-19 in the workplace. If needed, employees should discuss any operational requirements with their manager.

Health

As you know, the Public Health Agency of Canada has indicated that hand washing with soap and water is the best defense 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.

We are following the directives of the public, provincial and municipal authorities in the matter. Employees who do not provide critical service to Canadians should stay at home. We are waiting for Treasury Board of Canada management regarding employees who provide critical service to Canadians.

Employees wanting to get more tips on how to deal with COVID-19 in the workplace, and to learn about the supports available to them, should visit: COVID-19 and Mental Health @ Work

Human Resources

To respond to the health and safety of employees while recognizing operational need, Manager are asked to follow the direction of the Public Health Agency of Canada, the primary authoritative source of information for all Canadians on COVID-19, including Government of Canada employees. The move to business continuity operations was based upon this advice.

Employees providing non-critical services are instructed to stay home until further notice. Employees providing critical services who are able to telework are encouraged to do so. Please consult your manager if you are unsure whether or not you are providing critical or non-critical services.

With respect to benefits available for students, casuals and terms under three months please refer to the message from the Chief Human Resources Officer (PDF).

Should either a symptomatic employee, or an employee infected with COVID-19 report to work, he or she should be sent home and/or referred to a medical treatment facility. Building manager should immediately be contacted to request cleaning/disinfection if there is an incident of exposure. 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. Managers may exercise their discretion in approving such requests.

Except in very limited circumstances, managers should not request medical certificate, Where managers are questioning whether or not a medical certificate is required, please consult aadnc.relationdetravail-labourrelations.aandc@canada.ca for specific advice. Employees exhibiting symptoms of COVID should be sent home.

For more information on COVID-19 and for employees' information regarding telework, health, human resources and much more, please consult the Information for Government of Canada employees: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) web page.

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