As you may have seen, an article in Le Droit (opens in new tab) on Monday shared that the government policy mandating core federal public service employees to report to the workplace a minimum of two days per week will be amended to a minimum of three days per week.

In a meeting today between federal bargaining agents and representatives from the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO), OCHRO confirmed the three-day-a-week in-office requirement will be implemented by deputy heads by September 9, 2024. They also shared they are forging ahead with their plan to reduce the government’s footprint by 50%.

Let me be clear: at no point did Treasury Board consult with any of the federal bargaining agents on this plan, and we categorically oppose any mandate imposing a minimum requirement for workplace attendance.

I’ve been ACFO President since 2016, and I’ve prided myself on our professional and cordial relationship with the employer – but never have I seen such a complete and utter lack of respect and disregard for public servants, their well-being, and the fundamental principles of effective labour relations.

So the time for being cordial is over.

What we’re doing

At ACFO, we’ve been strongly advocating for remote work and the role it plays in facilitating work-life balance and productivity for our members. We’ve also advocated for purposeful presence in the office rather than arbitrary time constraints, and we firmly believe that the focus should be on the quality and impact of work rather than mere physical presence. We’re also extremely concerned by the government’s plan to continue to reduce their footprint all while increasing in-person presence when the current footprint can’t even properly be accommodated.

By keeping us in the dark, the employer neglected their legal obligation under Division 3 (opens in new tab) of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act to consult with bargaining agents on issues relating to the workplace that affect our members.

On top of this, following our 2022 collective agreement negotiations, we reached a Letter of Agreement (LoA) (opens in new tab) on hybrid work arrangements with Treasury Board in good faith. This agreement was reached with the intention of fostering a cooperative relationship on hybrid work with the employer.

The disregard of both obligations and the lack of engagement by withholding information on their planned amendments to their hybrid work policy is not only disappointing, but completely unacceptable. Therefore, ACFO will be taking the following swift actions:

  • Filing a policy grievance regarding the LoA and lack of consultations;
  • Filing an unfair labour practice complaint for neglecting Division 3 of the Act;
  • Drafting a joint letter on behalf of all National Joint Council (NJC) bargaining agents to Minister Anand and Prime Minister Trudeau expressing our outrage and TBS’s insufficient response to our concerns; and
  • Working with our fellow NJC bargaining agents on a joint campaign to fight this mandate and end the pattern of disrespect towards bargaining agents and public servants.

We’ll be sure to share any updates or any additional activities we take on with you once more information becomes available.

What you can do

As a group of nearly 7,000 highly skilled and trusted professionals, the CT Community holds a strong collective power – and our professionalism shouldn’t be taken as a sign of weakness. Together, we can send a clear message to Minister Anand and Prime Minister Trudeau regarding our dissatisfaction with this plan and the complete lack of consultation.

While it’s certain that we’ll make it known how you can participate in any public campaign we pursue, in the meantime, we encourage you to use your voice and join thousands of public servants who’ve done so by contacting your MP and Minister Anand. We will prepare a template letter to send and share it with you shortly.

While these various forms of action are in the works, we ask that you refrain from contacting ACFO-ACAF Labour Relations about this matter until further information is shared to ensure that members needing immediate workplace assistance can be helped and that these important documents can be drafted in a timely manner.

Colleagues, I implore you to make your voices heard. This has eroded the state of labour relations in an unprecedented manner, which leads us to question the Liberal-NDP government’s commitment to working with labour – and rest assured, we won’t tolerate this disrespect towards valued public servants from Treasury Board, Minister Anand, and Prime Minister Trudeau.


Dany Richard MBA, CPA, ICD.D
President, ACFO-ACAF