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Treasury Board 'committed to hybrid work' after reports of mandated change coming in fall

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The Treasury Board of Canada will only say it is “committed to hybrid work,” as reports suggest federal workers may be required to spend more time in the office.

Le Droit, a French publication, first reported that the federal government is set to mandate public servants back to the office three days a week starting in September.

In a statement to CTV News, a spokesperson said the Treasury Board will "continue to assess how hybrid work is implemented and optimized across the public service, adapting as necessary."

After the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government implemented a hybrid work policy, seeing employees in the office at least two days each week.

According to the Treasury Board website, the hybrid work policy, "gives employees whose jobs can be done remotely the flexibility of working at home when appropriate and in an office when required."

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) is the largest union representing public servants, and regional executive Alex Silas said they were not consulted about any changes.

"We haven't had anything official confirmed or nothing official communicated either publicly by Treasury Board or to us at the union by Treasury Board," he said.

"What I will say, though, is if the Treasury Board does decide to move in this direction, then it completely flies in the face and goes against all the commitments they made at the bargaining table to work with the union to achieve flexible hybrid work arrangements for public service workers."

Silas said public servants continue to show that the hybrid model works.

"I agree that the downtown core and the businesses there need to be better supported, but that shouldn't fall on the backs of workers and the federal public service. The city of Ottawa should have a plan to support downtown Ottawa that doesn't just depend on the federal government."

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was asked about the reports at a press conference in Ottawa Monday morning. He said, "I think that's really positive news. And it's all about revitalizing the downtown core here in Ottawa and supporting the mayor on the transit system." The Premier also referenced small business who might be struggling. "The federal government is the largest employer. So it's really, really good news that the staff is coming back to the work."

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe also reacted, saying, "Downtown Ottawa has been hit disproportionately compared to other Canadian cities by the effects of COVID, by the effects of hybrid work. And the federal government in its recent budget talked about moving out of 50 per cent of its buildings in the downtown core and elsewhere in Ottawa. That will have a devastating impact on our economy. So we need to work with the federal government on a solution, and many solutions to make sure that we have economic prosperity in the downtown core, that small businesses and restaurants and shop owners are protected, that our finances as a city are protected."

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