CHRO Update - April 9, 2020


This page is intended for all RCMP employees.

You should contact your manager if you have any questions specific to your situation.

CHRO's broadcast sent April 9, 2020

Hello again everyone, I hope you're holding up well as another week of our response to COVID-19 draws to a close. Earlier this week, the Government of Canada's Chief Human Resources Officer confirmed that the extraordinary measures we are taking to slow the spread of the virus – including the alternative working arrangements we have put in place – are still in place and will continue past April 10.

As we head into the Easter long weekend, I see in the news that the Easter Bunny has been designated an essential service, so I'm not going to let COVID-19 shut down my celebrations – they'll just be different as I, like all of you, continue to follow good public health advice and stay home. I know that many of you have planned 'virtual' dinners with family and friends. Last week, I used Zoom to connect with friends I normally meet on Fridays after work and I really enjoyed it.

Before we break for the weekend, I wanted to make sure you had some updates on topics that have been on many people's minds:

Leave with pay for other reasons (code 699)

To facilitate leave approval during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Commissioner has lowered the delegation for approval of Leave With Pay for Other Reasons (code 699) for RCMP Public Service Employees. All managers who have Section 32 and/or 34 financial delegation are now able to approve up to 90 days of this leave. This change is in effect until July 1, 2020 and may be amended as the situation evolves. For more clarity about the application of code 699 is available on our COVID-19 website.

Office equipment for working remotely

Many of us are now settled in to work from home for an extended period. Some of you have been asking about purchasing office equipment, including furniture and other supplies. We are currently determining the best approach for the RCMP and expect to provide you with information soon. Until then, employees should not purchase furniture or other equipment for your home office. If a medical condition or injury prevents you from working from home without specific equipment or furniture, please speak with your manager to make alternative arrangements until the necessary equipment can be acquired. We have restricted access to many of our buildings to help keep them clean and ensure the safety of those who are required to work on-site, so employees should not be re-entering facilities unless absolutely necessary, and then only with appropriate permissions.

Depot closure extended

For the safety of cadets and staff, the Cadet Training Program closure has been extended to May 15. As A/Commr Breton noted in his message to staff yesterday afternoon, the date is a "moving target" and will be reassessed as the situation changes.

In the meantime, Training Program Support and Evaluation (TSPE) is looking at a number of potential options for alternate delivery methods to help cadets continue some aspects of their training without compromising the quality of the program.

Health benefits coverage for Regular Members, Special Constables and Civilian Members

Recently, some changes were made to the Public Service Health Care Plan to adapt to the COVID-19 outbreak. For regular members, and for civilian members with work place injury/illness, eligibility for RCMP health care benefit coverage has not changed; however, services may differ due to COVID-19. Details are available in Members' health care benefits during COVID-19.

Second Language Evaluation (SLE) assessments for positions related to COVID-19

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has made temporary changes to SLE assessment requirements, effective until September 30, 2020. At this time, we are not required to use PSC's SLE tests for appointments to bilingual term and acting positions of 12 months or less. The validity period of SLE results for new term, indeterminate or acting appointments has been extended.

These temporary measures are intended only for appointments related to the COVID-19 situation or to the effective functioning of the Government of Canada. Hiring managers must record the use of these measures for each appointment. The PSC has produced practical guides on using alternative assessment methods.

Support for employees and families

As the days and weeks of isolation continue, protecting our mental health and wellbeing is more important than ever. Stay connected to colleagues, friends and family, and take time for fresh air and fitness. As always, please know that peer and professional support is easy to access with a click or a phone call. If you need more specialized help, reach out to those who can connect you with the experts:

In closing, I will leave you with these words of encouragement from the Commissioner:

As we head in to the long holiday weekend, most of us normally look forward to seeing loved ones or doing some travelling. It is more important than ever to stay the course and continue to follow health guidelines about keeping a safe physical distance from anyone outside your immediate household, and to avoid any travel unless absolutely necessary. I know it's hard to stay away from family and friends, but the more disciplined we are about following our health experts' advice, the shorter this tunnel will be.

And while we are celebrating virtually and staying connected with friends and family by phone and video where we can, let us all pause to remember our friends and colleagues on the front line – from our own regular members who will be out on shift keeping us safe, to the health care workers in our hospitals battling the spread of the virus, to those keeping our grocery stores and other essential services open so we can keep Canada's wheels turning.

Stay safe, stay healthy. Keep up your fantastic work and we'll all come through this stronger and closer than ever.

Fly and be free.

Gail Johnson
Chief Human Resources

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