As you may have seen, the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) has updated their occupational health guidelines in response to the growing concern of the Omicron variant.

There are four key adjustments to their guidance:

  1. It is recommended that all employees of the core public administration receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine when they are eligible to do so in their jurisdiction.
  2. Departments and agencies should pause any planned increases to building occupancy, review current occupancy levels to ensure physical distancing can be maintained (when operationally feasible) and consider increasing remote work as required. Organizations should maintain the flexibility to adjust further should transmission rates increase, taking into account operational requirements and local public health considerations.
  3. Masks should be worn indoors in all shared spaces, even when physical distancing is maintained.
  4. Departments should avoid non-essential international travel, taking into account travel advisories. Avoid any discretionary large gatherings, such as non-essential training events or conferences.

With provinces offering different availability and eligibility for a third booster dose, it is unclear at this time whether the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for core public service employees will be updated to include a third dose. However, we will be sure to inform members when this information becomes available.

We are also strongly advocating for the widespread and centralized application across departments of telework whenever possible to keep public servants safe, as only considering increasing remote work is not enough. In a joint letter with several bargaining agents, we urged President of the Treasury Board President Mona Fortier to issue a clear message to deputy heads that public service employees who can telework should do so.

If you have any questions about these updated guidelines, please contact