Directive on Telework

1. Effective date

  • 1.1This directive takes effect on April 1, 2020.
  • 1.2This directive replaces the Telework Policy dated December 9, 1999.

2. Authorities

  • 2.1This directive is issued pursuant to the same authorities indicated in section 2 of the Policy on People Management.

3. Objectives and expected results

  • 3.1The objectives indicated in section 3 of the Policy on People Management apply to this directive.
  • 3.2In addition to the expected results indicated in section 3 of the Policy on People Management, the expected results of this directive are as follows:
    • 3.2.1Employees are able to reduce stress, achieve work–life balance and meet performance expectations;
    • 3.2.2Telework is used where appropriate, including as a means to ensure an inclusive public service and a safe and healthy work environment where employees have access to flexible work arrangements; and
    • 3.2.3The public service contributes to reducing emissions from transportation, traffic congestion and air pollution, in accordance with the Greening Government Strategy.

4. Requirements

  • 4.1The head of human resources is responsible for the following:
    • 4.1.1Ensuring that managers and employees are informed that participation in telework is voluntary and that employees are not required to telework;
    • 4.1.2Ensuring that processes and procedures are in place for employees to request telework;
    • 4.1.3Identifying relevant considerations, in collaboration with other senior officials in the areas of security, privacy, information technology, information management, financial management and occupational health and safety;
    • 4.1.4Ensuring that employees and managers have access to information, procedures and practices about entering into an agreement for formal telework;
    • 4.1.5Establishing organizational criteria to distinguish between formal telework arrangements and ad hoc telework; and
    • 4.1.6Ensuring that employees and managers are made aware that telework arrangements are subject to review and may be terminated by either party at any time, with reasonable notice.
  • 4.2Managers are responsible for the following:
    • 4.2.1Entering into a formal telework arrangement only where an employee’s participation is voluntary;
    • 4.2.2Respecting organizational processes, procedures and considerations when making a decision to enter into a formal telework arrangement with an employee;
    • 4.2.3Considering the impacts of a proposed telework arrangement on operational requirements before approving an employee’s telework request, to ensure that neither productivity nor costs are negatively impacted;
    • 4.2.4Ensuring that requests for formal telework arrangements are approved or denied on a case‑by‑case basis and that the decision and reasons are communicated in writing to the requester;
    • 4.2.5Ensuring that a telework arrangement is not used to prevent or create a relocation situation where that relocation is the result of a machinery change, reorganization, workforce adjustment or alternative service delivery arrangement;
    • 4.2.6Ensuring that the employee is informed of applicable policies, procedures and guidelines;
    • 4.2.7Verifying with the employee that the telework location is a suitable working environment that meets the health and safety requirements of the Canada Labour Code, Part II, and its Regulations;
    • 4.2.8Ensuring that employees are informed on how to minimize risks when they work with sensitive information away from their designated workplace;
    • 4.2.9Ensuring that colleagues of a teleworker are informed of applicable telework processes and procedures;
    • 4.2.10Ensuring that a telework agreement is completed in accordance with the Standard on Telework Agreements in the appendix to this directive, signed by and provided to the requester and their immediate supervisor prior to the commencement of a formal telework arrangement;
    • 4.2.11Ensuring that a signed copy of the agreement is retained in accordance with the appropriate information management policies and procedures;
    • 4.2.12Ensuring that telework agreements are reviewed with employees at least annually;
    • 4.2.13Ensuring that employees who telework are included in meetings and other work events;
    • 4.2.14Maintaining regular contact with employees who telework;
    • 4.2.15Communicating with employees who telework on a regular basis to discuss work priorities, objectives and deliverables; and
    • 4.2.16Reintegrating employees following a period of telework.
  • 4.3Employees who wish to participate in a formal telework arrangement, or who are already doing so, are responsible for the following:
    • 4.3.1Requesting a telework agreement, in accordance with the processes and procedures established by their organization;
    • 4.3.2Protecting and managing records and other sensitive information stored on devices and transmitted across external networks;
    • 4.3.3Keeping government property and information safe, secure and separate from their personal property and information while they are working at their telework location;
    • 4.3.4Informing their manager immediately in the event that any information or Crown assets are lost, stolen or damaged;
    • 4.3.5Respecting the relevant terms and conditions of their employment, their collective agreement, legislation, and Treasury Board and departmental policies while at the telework location;
    • 4.3.6Ensuring that their telework location complies with the health and safety requirements of the Canada Labour Code, Part II, and its Regulations; and
    • 4.3.7Assuming all utility costs related to maintaining their telework location.

5. Roles of other government organizations

  • 5.1Not applicable.

6. Application

  • 6.1This directive applies to the employees and organizations listed in section 6 of the Policy on People Management.

7. References

8. Enquiries

Appendix A: Standard on Telework Agreements

A.1 Effective date

  • A.1.1This standard takes effect on April 1, 2020.

A.2 Standards

  • A.2.1This standard provides details on the minimum requirements for a telework agreement as set out in subsection 4.2.10 of the Directive on Telework.
  • A.2.2The telework agreement must include, at a minimum, the following details:
    • A.2.2.1Information about the employee’s current situation, including, but not restricted to:
      • Name;
      • Position; and
      • Designated worksite location.
    • A.2.2.2The terms of the telework arrangement, including:
      • The start and end of the telework period;
      • The address of the telework location;
      • Where the work will be conducted at the telework location;
      • Details of the telework arrangement, including hours of work and number of days per week or month;
      • Details related to travel to the designated worksite location if applicable;
      • Employee’s contact information at the telework location; and
      • Manager’s name.
    • A.2.2.3A health and safety checklist for the employee and their manager to complete, which includes an attestation that the telework location complies with the health and safety requirements of the Canada Labour Code, Part II, and its Regulations. The checklist should include the following:
      1. Private residence environment
        1. The desk, chair and other accessories are suitable to the needs of the employee;
        2. The computer furniture, shelves, cabinets and bookcases are sturdy and properly installed (for example, anchored to the wall, if necessary);
        3. The workstation is adjusted properly: the desk, chair, computer monitor and keyboard are at appropriate heights (for example, the employee’s head and wrists are in neutral positions);
        4. The employee is aware of how to prevent musculoskeletal injuries (for example, the employee takes breaks to avoid extended hours of repeated motions or of being in the same body position);
        5. The lighting is properly arranged and appropriate for the work of the employee (for example, there is no reflection or glare from the computer monitor);
        6. The employee has control over levels of ventilation, temperature, light and sound; and
        7. The employee has made sure that there are no tripping hazards, such as frayed or wrinkled carpets, obstructed halls, walkways or entries, and that any guardrails are properly installed;
      2. Electrical safety
        1. Any extension cords are in good condition and positioned properly;
        2. There are no cords or cables that could act as tripping hazards;
        3. Outlets are grounded and not overloaded;
        4. Outlets are safe and are not in need of repair;
        5. There is surge protection for electrical equipment; and
        6. There is sufficient ventilation for electrical equipment;
      3. Fire protection
        1. There is a smoke detector that is checked regularly near the employee’s workstation at the telework location;
        2. Paper materials and any chemicals are stored safely away from all heat sources;
        3. Any hazardous product is properly stored to prevent accidental exposure;
        4. The employee has complied with prescribed fire safety standards and emergency measures; and
        5. An evacuation plan has been established;
      4. Other
        1. The first aid supplies are adequate;
        2. A regular method of communication (daily) is established between the employee and manager to ensure that the employee is safe and healthy;
        3. The office contact knows how to reach someone near the employee in the event of an emergency;
        4. The employee is aware to report immediately to the supervisor any accident or injury that occurs during working hours; and
        5. Any other health and safety hazards that have been taken care of;
    • A.2.2.4A list of the equipment supplied by the employer;
    • A.2.2.5Considerations related to:
      1. Information technology;
      2. Information management;
      3. Security; and
      4. Privacy;
    • A.2.2.6Confirmation that the employee has the appropriate insurance coverage for their telework location;
    • A.2.2.7Confirmation that the employee will assume the cost of equipping and maintaining the telework location, including the cost of utilities and office furniture;
    • A.2.2.8Clauses pertaining to;
      1. Early termination of the telework agreement;
      2. Review and extension of the agreement; and
      3. Review and completion of the agreement; and
    • A.2.2.9Area for the employee and their manager to sign and date the agreement.

Appendix B: Interim Standard on Occasional Travel to a Designated Worksite

  • B.1This interim standard is a pilot and takes effect on June 1, 2023. It will remain in effect until March 31, 2025.
    • B.1.1This standard may be amended or rescinded at any time.
  • B.2Employees are expected to travel to their designated worksite on their own time and at their own expense. Notwithstanding this, pursuant to the Treasury Board Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conferences and Event Expenditures, an employee with a full-time telework agreement pursuant to the Directive on Telework can be placed on travel status under the National Joint Council Travel Directive for the purpose of reporting to the designated worksite subject to the following conditions:
    • B.2.1Eligibility

      An employee who resides 125 kilometres or more from the designated worksite and who:

      • B.2.1.1Is excluded or unrepresented, or is a member of a bargaining unit represented by one of the following bargaining agents in the core public administration:
        • Public Service Alliance of Canada;
        • Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada;
        • Association of Canadian Financial Officers;
        • National Police Federation;
        • Association of Justice Counsel;
        • Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers;
        • Canadian Federal Pilots Association;
        • Unifor, Local 2182; or
        • Canadian Association of Professional Employees; and
      • B.2.1.2Has a full-time telework agreement signed after March 2020 and who was authorized in writing to move to the telework location at their own expense; or
      • B.2.1.3Has been and continues to work with a full-time telework agreement signed before March 2020; or
      • B.2.1.4Has a full-time telework agreement signed after March 2020 and who normally would have been relocated at Crown expense.
    • B.2.2Exception to 125-kilometre distance

      A deputy head may authorize an employee mentioned above that does not reside 125 kilometres or more from the designated worksite to be placed on travel status when due to a geographical barrier there is no alternative to using commercial transportation (for example, ferry) to travel from the telework location to the designated worksite and the cost of that transportation is more than $150 for a return trip.

    • B.2.3Frequency

      Deputy heads should consider the operational requirements for occasional travel, balancing the frequency of the travel with the cost.

  • B.3Reporting requirements

    Organizations monitor and report quarterly on the application of this authority.


designated worksite
A physical location under the organization’s control. It is not a virtual location or residential address. The employer determines the location of the designated worksite associated with each position.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the President of the Treasury Board, 2020,