Vast majority of PSAC members ready to take action on telework; Canadians support access to remote work

More than 65,000 PSAC members have responded to PSAC’s survey, following Treasury Board’s decision to increase their telework mandate and require federal public service workers to be in-office a minimum of three days per week. 

Major Findings 

PSAC members overwhelmingly oppose the government’s misguided telework mandate. They are rightfully angry that their employer is making unilateral changes to their work environments without justifying the decision with data. 

  •  91% of respondents are strongly opposed to the new telework mandate.
  • Less than half of respondents have a fully implemented two-days a week in-office policy.
  • 64% of respondents are likely or very likely to file a grievance.
  • 75% of respondents are willing to take action to fight the new telework mandate.
  • These following issues would be made worse by going to the office three days a week
    • Expenses (parking, childcare, lunch, commute, etc.) (91%)
    • Commute time and transportation (90%)
    • Work life balance (89%)
    • Environmental impact (84%)
    • Mental health (83%)
    • Caregiving responsibilities (73%)
    • Lack of workspace (79%)
    • Job satisfaction (80%)

Canadians support telework flexibility 

PSAC also conducted research through Abacus Data among the general Canadian population*, and it showed that 69% of Canadians are in favour of employees having the flexibility of working from home full-time or part-time.  

A majority of respondents also believe the federal government should lead by example and provide flexible work arrangements where possible. Canadians do not care about where federal public service workers do their work, as long as it gets done in a timely manner.  

There are numerous benefits to telework and Canadians understand that. They include making workplaces more inclusive and accessible, benefits to the environment by reducing commute times and traffic congestion, and more work-life balance for parents and caregivers.  

In your own words 

PSAC wanted member feedback on how the hybrid model has been working since it was first implemented and the general sentiment around the new mandate. Here’s what you told us in your own words.  

“Physically coming to the office is ridiculous when 100% of my job is done via email and virtual meetings. I have no colleagues in the office I report to, it’s just a desk.” 

“I get double the work done when I work remotely compared to when I work in the office. There are too many unnecessary distractions in the office and the shared workspaces make it hard to focus.” 

 “Public service workers are facing the same economic challenges as the rest of Canada. Paying more for parking fees, gas and childcare will put us even closer to the poverty line.” 

“How can the government say they are concerned about the environment when they force 250,000 + vehicles on the road?” 

“Myself and other racialized colleagues and persons with disabilities face discrimination, exclusion, harassment, bullying and lack of accommodations in the workplace. Working from home does not eliminate these but increases the ability to cope and lessens the impact. Not being acknowledged in a virtual meeting is different than being isolated in an in-person meeting.” 

 “Since this was released in the media, I have not stopped crying. I’m a single parent and receive no other income other than my salary and have no family to help with daycare and school pickups. I cannot afford extra childcare.” 

 “My co-working site does not have enough space and there is only one bookable boardroom. People have meetings in the kitchen. Desks are not clean and poorly equipped.” 

 “I believed my employer when they served up speeches on the environment, work-life balance and mental health when returning to the office became voluntary post-COVID. I feel betrayed.” 

What's next? 

PSAC has championed flexible telework for workers, highlighting the positive effects it would have on the Canadian economy. At PSAC’s 2024 National Triennial Convention, delegates adopted resolutions to step up the fight for more telework flexibility through a national campaign.  

PSAC has also filed a series of legal challenges against the Treasury Board and will encourage members to file individual grievances to force this government to withdraw its telework mandate.  

Throughout the coming weeks, PSAC will continue to apply pressure on the government. We are sending a clear message: employers cannot ignore workers' rights negotiated in collective bargaining.  


* The survey was conducted in May by polling a random sample of 2,000 Canadian adults weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. 



June 25, 2024