Message from Bill Kroll, Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Deputy Minister, Management Sector
Update # 7: March 25 – Disconnect From the Network, Not From Each Other
During these exceptional times, we have all been experiencing frustration with, and limits to, our technology.
I want to thank you for your patience during the recent network connectivity issues, and I can assure you that we are working with Shared Services Canada to address them. Significant upgrades to our bandwidth were completed this afternoon.
As we monitor the impact of these changes over the coming days, I would still encourage everyone to try to disconnect from the network and connect with each other.
Disconnecting From the Network
As a general practice, most employees should limit their network access to off-peak hours (after 8pm and before 8am EDT).
While all of our work in the Department is important, we must focus our efforts and prioritize the most critical services during business hours.
If you are unsure whether you should be connecting, or when, please speak with your manager.
There are many options to continue your work without taxing the network. Here are a few of the best practices we continue to recommend:
- Use mobile devices or webmail to access email rather than Outlook, if feasible
- Avoid emailing or downloading/uploading large files, or do so outside of normal business hours
- Get what you need from the corporate network (e.g., to download a document) and then disconnect
- Limit the use of video-conferencing on the Government of Canada network when teleconferencing will suffice
- If you can, reduce the use of the Justice network for GC Teleconference or external Webex by using your personal computer or phone instead.
- You can use Justice-supplied iPhones, which support five-way calling by default
- Discontinue non-essential screen-sharing via Skype/Lync
We need to keep connecting with our colleagues, both personally and professionally, even if these days we’re doing it virtually, by email and telephone. Please continue to make arrangements within your teams and working groups to stay in touch.
Changes to Public Service Health Care Plan
In response to the additional supports employees may need at this time, temporary changes have been made to the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP).
If you are a member of the PSHCP, the Government of Canada has made it easier to take care of your mental and physical health without requiring a visit to your healthcare provider.
The temporary changes to the PSHCP have been introduced to help plan members and their eligible dependents access healthcare benefits while minimizing their physical interaction with healthcare professionals.
These measures include:
- Relaxing the dispensing limit for maintenance medications and allow the pharmacist to exercise professional discretion whether to dispense the medication sooner.
- Accepting claims for social workers as mental health professionals
- Removing the requirement for a prescription for mental health and physiotherapy services.
- Extending travel emergency benefits. Plan members who require assistance with travel-related medical emergencies in Canada and the United States should call Allianz toll-free at 1-800-667-2883. Those in all other countries should call Allianz collect at 519-742-1342.
These changes are already in place, and they will remain in effect until April 24, 2020, with the possibility of extension. For additional details, please visit canada.ca.
Updates to our Employee Site
Whether you belong to the PSHCP or not, our priority is to make sure you have the tools and support you need during this pandemic.
Please continue to visit the Justice Canada COVID-19 website, where new content continues to be added daily. The site contains a variety of useful information and does not require network access.
We recently added links to the latest updates from provincial law societies, and a roundup of mental health services for employees will soon be available. I encourage you to explore the many resources available to you as Justice employees.
Thank you again. Please keep taking care of yourself, and each other.
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