Quebec in no hurry to bring civil servants back to the office

In an internal memo released Friday and obtained by Radio-Canada, the Treasury Board Secretariat (SCTTreasury Board Secretariat) clarified a little more its intentions with regard to the deconfinement of state employees.

For the public service, regardless of the color level: teleworking remains mandatory until further notice, specifies the memo signed by the secretary of the SCTTreasury Board Secretariat, Éric Ducharme.

Prime Minister Legault presented his government’s deconfinement plan on May 18 (archives).

Photo: The Canadian Press / Jacques Boissinot

Only people who have to carry out activities deemed to have priority which cannot be carried out by teleworking will have the right to return to their office.

Announced end of color levels

The return of officials could begin only after the removal of the color levels.

According to the main stages of the deconfinement presented by the government, this could correspond to the end of August, specifies Mr. Ducharme.

The deconfinement plan, however, provides that the regions of Quebec will have practically all passed to the green level by the end of June. This means that teleworking will no longer be compulsory.

The system of regional alerts and gradual intervention at 4 levels could be withdrawn at the end of August (archives).

Photo: Government of Quebec

However, the government seems determined to take its time. The return in person will be done gradually, in phases, and will integrate the practice of teleworking in hybrid mode.

Quebec is, however, making certain relaxations so that workplaces located in the yellow zone and in the green zone can be accessible to employees who encounter issues related to ergonomics, physical and psychological health or the practice of teleworking.

Avoid service breakdowns

The president of the Union of Professionals of the Government of Quebec (SPGQ), Line Lamarre, salutes the will of the SCTTreasury Board Secretariat to proceed slowly. She sees it as a guarantee of the continuity of the services offered to the population.

There is material that was taken from the office and brought home: computer towers, printers, etc. We have to bring it slowly back to the office. Not everyone can get into the elevator tomorrow morning with their equipment. So, if we don’t want there to be a breakdown in services, all of this must be done in a coordinated manner., insists Ms. Lamarre.

It’s not just a re-entry after one or two weeks, it’s a re-entry after almost a year and a half of confinement. So we have to take it slow.

A quote from:Line Lamarre, president of the SPGQ
Line Lamarre gives a videoconference interview in her office.

Line Lamarre pleads for a gradual and coordinated face-to-face return of civil servants (archives).

Photo: Radio-Canada

For its part, the Syndicat de la function publique et parapublique du Québec (SFPQ) reiterates its request to learn about the government’s deconfinement plan as quickly as possible.

Its general president, Christian Daigle, wants the unions to be called upon again to give their opinion on the modalities of return to face-to-face.


He fears that he will be made aware only when the framework policy on teleworking is unveiled, probably towards the end of the summer.

Christian Daigle gives an interview outside, in downtown Quebec.

Christian Daigle wants the unions to be consulted again before the publication of the modalities on the teleworking of civil servants (archives).

Photo: Radio-Canada

If they want to arrive then say: “well, we will tell you how it will apply, then we will tell you […] what will apply “, they will have small problems soon, that’s for sure, because we are talking about health and safety at the level of people. We are also talking about working conditions, warns the boss of the SFPQQuebec Public and Parapublic Service Union.

The office of the Minister responsible for Government Administration and President of the Treasury Board, Sonia LeBel, is assured that the unions will be consulted before the unveiling of the framework policy.

Let them be without fear, we will consult them. We will work with both employer and union partners before disseminating the guidelines, says the minister’s press secretary, Florent Tanlet.

With the collaboration of Edith Hammond

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