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This document allows an employer to establish a policy on the rules relating to teleworking. Teleworking allows an employee to carry out his work, normally intended to be performed within the company, outside the company's premises using the equipment and communication tools provided by the employer.
As a general rule, teleworking requires the agreement of both the employee and the employer. However, in the context of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the Canada Labour Code allows employers to implement teleworking without the employee's agreement, in order to ensure the continuity of the activity and the protection of employees. It can then be set up without respecting any particular formality.
The implementation of a policy allows the employer to define the conditions under which teleworking will take place, and define the beginning and end of the teleworking period. Teleworking can be extended to all workplaces where it can be carried out, including but not limited to the following:
The employee working from home has the same rights as employees performing their duties on the company's premises. For example, if an accident occurs during the performance of his or her teleworking assignments, the employee will benefit from workplace accident insurance.
In Canada, employees are still expected to report to work in the context of Covid-19. However, managers should only consider on-site work if the work meets the definition of critical service and working remotely is not feasible.
Employees have three specific rights under the Code, Part II, in relation to their health and safety in the workplace (and under Provincial occupational health and safety laws):
How to use this document ?
The policy is drafted by the employer and is subject to consultation with the bargaining union agents if one exists in the company. It is then communicated by any appropriate method within the company. Its provisions take precedence over those already included in the employee's individual contracts.
Most collective agreements provide for management flexibility if they require employees to work on a different schedule. While mandatory consultation with bargaining union agents is not prescribed in all collective agreements, managers are encouraged to collaborate with union representatives in a transparent manner to address the specific situations.
Departments that do not find sufficient flexibility in the collective agreement to meet operational needs are encouraged to contact the Treasury Board Secretariat.
Under the Code (and Provincial counterparts), employers (represented by directors/supervisors) are responsible for the occupational health and safety of their employees. Accordingly, employers have an obligation to investigate and report confirmed cases of Covid-19 in order to prevent recurrence of exposure.
On the other hand, employees have a role in ensuring their own occupational health and safety and those of other employees and any person who may be affected by their acts or omissions.
Employment and Social Development Canada's Labour Program created a Pamphlet - Summary Health and Safety, which contains general information on the Code, Part II. Canada's Labour Program also created second , Pamphlet 2A – Information on occupational health and safety: Employer and employee duties which outlines the duties of both the employer and employees under the Code.
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