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‘It’s going to be a long time’: tens of thousands of federal public servants still working from home, eight months into pandemic and no end in sight

By Mike Lapointe and Kate Malloy      

Treasury Board provided 'evergreen guidance' to deputy heads of departments in the spring, which included consideration of a possible resurgence in positive cases and the re-tightening of restrictions in provinces, territories, and cities. But most public servants have been told they'll be working remotely for 'the foreseeable future.'

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pictured Oct. 16, 2020. As of March 2019, there were just under 288,000 employees in the federal public service, most of whom continue to work remotely, given the resurgence of COVID-19 cases across the country. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

As tens of thousands of federal public servants across the country continue to work remotely, the government is keeping a close eye on the resurgence of COVID-19 cases across the country as department-by-department plans are made for employees to return to their physical worksites. But as public health authorities continue to signal that physical distancing requirements must remain in place, many public servants will continue to work remotely “for the foreseeable future,” according to Bianca Healy, a spokesperson for the Treasury Board Secretariat.

As provinces enlist military’s support in managing COVID-19, experts say it’s pulling the Forces away from training efforts

News|By Palak Mangat
Christian Leuprecht, a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, says just because the forces are 'capable,' the CAF is not and should not be viewed as the 'optimal provider of emergency assistance.'

Feds’ climate bill a ‘significant achievement’—and it’s full of holes: experts

‘The biggest risk is that we’re going to backload the policies and the efforts that we’re going to need,’ says Michael Bernstein.

PMO’s Canada-U.S. relations team gearing up for transition to Biden administration

News|By Mike Lapointe
Brian Clow, executive director of issues management, parliamentary affairs and Canada-U.S. relations remains at the helm, and works closely with Elise Wagner, adviser for issues and Canada-U.S. relations within the PMO.

Trump’s unprecedented failure to concede expected to have ‘very little’ impact on Canada-U.S. relations, says Heyman

News|By Abbas Rana
'It's clear that everybody's already tilting in toward the next president,' said Mr. Heyman, who served as the U.S. envoy to Canada from 2014 to 2017.

‘Always a rolling target to bring about big change’: Fergus says he’s optimistic in feds’ anti-racism strategy progress, ‘but we’re not there yet’

News|By Mike Lapointe
But NDP MP Matthew Green says 'there just seems to be ongoing reluctance for this government to go beyond the aesthetics of big ticket announcements.'

‘Massive overhaul’ of privacy law leaves political parties off the hook

The bill leaves unanswered questions, including why the government wants consumer data, and how much businesses will be able to do with that data without consumers' permission, says John Lawford.

As COVID-19 runs ‘around unchecked,’ Trudeau urges renewed adherence to public health measures

News|By Beatrice Paez
Canada could be on track to hit upwards of 60,000 new infections in December, unless individuals modify their behaviour and restrictions are tightened.

Feds could receive 6 million vaccine doses by March 2021, but details around distribution in works

News|By Palak Mangat
The possibility of Canada receiving six million vaccine doses by the end of March 2021 comes with a 'big if,' says Iain Stewart, the newly named president of the Public Health Agency of Canada.

No system in place to verify if mail-in ballots counted in official tally, says Elections Canada

News
Elections Canada is exploring the idea of installing secure drop-off boxes for mail-in ballots.
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