Over the course of the past two and a half years, ACFO-ACAF members were asked to leave behind their traditional office spaces and work remotely. As COVID restrictions continue to be gradually lifted, discussions have ramped up regarding the return to the office and what that transition will look like. We have heard our members’ frustrations around return-to-the-office mandates, more specifically about the disparity that exists between the plans from different departments.

In an effort to better understand how different departments are creating their return-to-the-office plans, and as a follow up to our telework update on September 27, we at ACFO-ACAF have collected data from members working in a variety of different departments. The data collection has provided us with a superior understanding of what telework policies are being established across the federal public service, and how much flexibility is being offered, if any. The consensus from our members is that telework is extremely important, which is why we are in constant communication with senior leaders advocating for the flexibility that our members want while also consulting on various central committees on how to facilitate hybrid work to meet operational requirements.

The following table indicates whether a department has a mandatory minimum number of days that senior management are requiring staff to work from the office. The telework policies outlined below could differ from one position and/or department to another based on operational requirements and may change as the telework landscape continues to evolve over the coming months while departments search for an optimal solution. In addition, while a department may not have a mandatory minimum number of days required by senior management, individual managers might still decide to impose minimums based on operational requirements. The telework landscape will continue to evolve over the coming months as departments determine the most optimal solution. ACFO-ACAF believes strongly that our members should have flexibility when it comes to their telework options, while also acknowledging the value of being in the office from time to time.

DepartmentMandatory minimum number of days in the office required by senior managementComments
Agriculture and Agri-Food CanadaNo minimum 
Canada Border Services Agency1 day/week 
Canadian Heritage1 day/week
Correctional Service of CanadaNo minimum for NHQCSC regions tend to have mandatory minimum no. of days which vary
Department of Finance2 days/week 
Department of Fisheries and Oceans1 day/week 
Department of National DefenceNo minimum
Elections CanadaNo minimum 
Employment and Social Development CanadaNo minimum 
Environment and Climate Change CanadaNo minimum 
Global Affairs Canada1 day/week 
Health Canada2 days/weekOn-site presence is requested 40%-60% of the time per month
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship CanadaTwice a monthCurrently twice a month, will be moving to one day/week later this fall
Indigenous Services Canada1 day/week 
Infrastructure Canada2 days/week
Natural Resources Canada2 days/week
Privy Council Office2 days/week
Public Health Agency of Canada2 days/week 
Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceNo minimum 
Shared Services CanadaNo minimum 
Statistics Canada2 days/week 
Transport Canada1 day/week 
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat2 days/week 
Veterans Affairs CanadaNo minimum 
Last updated: November 14, 2022

ACFO-ACAF would like to thank all our members who have helped us by sharing their latest telework policies and for their continued cooperation throughout this process. We understand that the lack of clarity and flexibility being provided by the employer leaves our members and their managers with a level of uncertainty around the return to the office, which is why it’s on the forefront of our discussions with senior management.

We would also like to remind members that if they have a human rights-based accommodation requirement, such as a medical condition that puts them or their family members at greater risk of harm from the ongoing pandemic, or an accommodation requirement due to family status, they should request accommodation on those grounds. Return to work policies do not relieve the employer’s duty to accommodate to the point of undue hardship, and the employer must consider each request on an individual basis. If you require any assistance with the accommodation process, or have any other questions about your telework rights, please reach out to the ACFO-ACAF Labour Relations team at labourrelations@acfo-acaf.com.