Message Centre

Message from the Deputy Minister and Associate Deputy Minister

Update from the Chief Human Resources Officer

As we reach the end of the work week, we wanted to share a message we just received from the Treasury Board of Canada’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Nancy Chahwan, about planning underway to support easing COVID-related restrictions at worksites. The message also shares the results of the 2019 Federal Workplace Mental Health Checklist.

As mentioned in our message last week, we are committed to sharing the latest information and guidance related to COVID-19 transition planning. Further details about our own preparations at Justice Canada will be shared in the next all-staff update later today from ADM Bill Kroll, and through other upcoming communications efforts.

Please know that the care you have shown for both your work and your colleagues continues to inspire us. As we close out Mental Health Week, we want to thank you for participating in this week’s related activities and taking the time to reflect on your own well-being. Thank you, be well and enjoy your weekend.

Nathalie G. Drouin, Ad. E. – A. François Daigle

On behalf of Nancy Chahwan, Chief Human Resources Officer, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

While we continue to manage the implementation of exceptional measures in response to the pandemic, I would like to give all of you a sense of the work we have begun in preparation for the easing of COVID-related restrictions at worksites. As Mental Health Week draws to a close, I would also like to thank you for your ongoing support to your colleagues in this difficult time and draw your attention to the results of our 2019 mental health checklist.

Easing of COVID-related restrictions at worksites

As recent data points to some flattening of the epidemiological curve in jurisdictions across Canada, a number of provinces are announcing their plans to begin easing restrictions and gradually re-open economies. On April 28, 2020, the Prime Minister announced a First Ministers’ statement on a shared public health approach to support restarting the economy. The principles agreed to in that statement, including coordination, collaboration and transparency, will guide both provincial and federal planning.  

In anticipation of an easing of restrictions, representatives from departments and centres of expertise including PHAC, Health, PSPC, SSC, OCHRO and others have joined forces to develop integrated practical guidance that could be adapted by Deputy Heads in a range of circumstances across the public service. This guidance is based on a set of principles that will protect the health, safety and wellness of employees while also ensuring that programs and services which Canadians rely on will be maintained. 

Public health authorities have signalled that physical distancing requirements will remain; it is therefore expected that some combination of remote work and work in the traditional worksites will become the norm for the foreseeable future. Investments in technology, tools and digital skills will serve to maximize flexibility and productivity. Sector-specific guidelines (e.g., field work, natural resources or laboratories) under development by clusters of organizations and Health Canada will be provided, as applicable.

As departments begin to plan for an eventual return to worksites, the Government of Canada will continue to carefully follow public health guidance, including from the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada and the direction of provinces and territories as restrictions are eased and authorities advise that employees can safely return to their worksite. This planning will take into account the local situation, the priority of the work, and the safety of employees. 

2019 Federal Workplace Mental Health Checklist

This week is a fitting time to release the Federal Workplace Mental Health Checklist results.

The Checklist measures how federal organizations are adopting the Federal Public Service Workplace Mental Health Strategy and aligning to the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. The report shows that years of making this a priority for the Public Service and part of the Management Accountability Framework have generated real progress in changing the culture, more specifically, raising awareness of psychological health and safety in the workplace and reducing stigma. It also points to areas that would benefit from additional efforts, such as developing first aid for mental health, peer support networks, or data collection. 

The 2019 Checklist report and dashboard will help support informed, evidence-based decision-making for improved workplace mental health and well-being. Individualized dashboards will be provided to departments in the coming days and will be a particularly useful tool to support employee mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The results will also guide and direct the work of OCHRO’s Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the workplace to ensure we are meeting the needs of federal organizations and our key stakeholders. The Centre is a joint union-management initiative established in 2017. 

Questions or comments about the Checklist can be emailed to, and you can follow their work on Twitter.

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