Archived [2020-04-01] - Telework Policy

The Telework Policy outlines the options for working from alternate locations, such as home, for positions in the federal Public Service.
Date modified: 1999-12-09

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Effective Date

The effective date of this policy is December 9, 1999.


The Treasury Board, as Employer of the Public Service, is committed to providing policies and provisions designed to help employees balance their work, personal, and family responsibilities. In keeping with our goal of being a workplace of choice, this policy will assist in meeting both business and sustainable development objectives while satisfying the growing needs of employees to improve their overall quality of life.

Changes are occurring in the Public Service workforce with a shift towards more knowledge workers, as well as changes to traditional family structures, employees' expectations of work, and the definition of career aspirations and job satisfaction.

Flexibility in the workplace to accommodate work, personal and family needs can result in benefits to organizations such as:

  • a competitive edge for attracting and retaining highly skilled individuals;
  • reduced levels of employee stress and conflict;
  • higher levels of productivity and reduced absenteeism;
  • higher levels of employee satisfaction and motivation;
  • a more satisfying work environment;
  • ability to accommodate employment related needs for employment equity designated group members.

The impact of flexible work arrangements can also reach beyond the benefits derived by the organization and contribute to the development of a sustainable society. For example, opportunities for reducing traffic congestion and air pollution and for supporting regional economic development can be realized at the same time the employer's objectives are met.

Both managers and employees are responsible to ensure that operational needs of the organization are met and that neither productivity nor costs are negatively impacted by the application of this policy.

Policy objective

To allow employees to work at alternative locations, thereby achieving a better balance between their work and personal lives, while continuing to contribute to the attainment of organizational goals.

Policy statement

The employer recognizes the opportunities that a flexible working arrangement such as the telework option can present, and encourages departments to implement telework arrangements where it is economically and operationally feasible to do so, and in a fair, equitable and transparent manner.


This policy applies to the departments and agencies listed under Schedule 1, Part 1 of the Public Service Staff Relations Act.


telework: a flexible work arrangement whereby employees have approval to carry out some or all of their work duties from a telework place

designated workplace: the employee's designated workplace or business address where the employee would work if there were no telework situation

telework place the alternative location where the employee is permitted to carry out the work otherwise performed at or from their designated workplace

Policy requirements

The approval of each telework situation shall be made on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of management. Departments are encouraged to clarify and publicize their approval criteria for telework requests.

Participation in telework is voluntary, that is no employee shall be required to telework

Prior to approving requests from employees to telework, whether for some or all of the regular workweek, managers shall ensure that the following conditions apply:

  • the nature of the work to be performed at the teleworkplace is operationally feasible;
  • the overall quality and quantity of work carried out in the designated workplace shall be sustained by the teleworker in the telework place;
  • the work done at the teleworkplace should be cost effective. Certain up-front costs are permissible, provided they can be recouped over a reasonable period;
  • the terms and conditions of employment, provisions of relevant collective agreements and the application of existing policies and legislation will continue to apply in telework situations;
  • official language requirements and service to the public are not compromised by the telework arrangement;
  • the details of the telework arrangement must be discussed and agreed upon between the employee participating in the telework situation and the supervisor and at the request of either party these details will be put in writing. These details must as a minimum include: the voluntary nature of the arrangement; the duration of the arrangement; the specific days the employee will telework; hours of work; whether the arrangement will be regular or episodic; the telework location; work objectives and expected results; issues of liability (personal and equipment); responsibility for costs associated with telework (utilities and insurance); safety and health responsibilities; impact on colleagues; and the requirement to adhere to all aspects of government policies, rules and regulations;

A telework arrangement can be terminated at any time, with reasonable notice by either party.

Once requests are approved, the manager should ensure employees who will be teleworking and their colleagues understand the impacts and practical considerations of the telework situation.

Equipment and electronic network requirements for any telework arrangement shall be decided upon on a case by case basis and an agreement reached between the employer and the employee prior to undertaking a telework situation.

  • where the employer provides the equipment, the employer will assume the responsibility for normal maintenance and repair;
  • if, the employee requests to telework using his/her own equipment, then he/she is responsible for the maintenance and repair unless otherwise agreed to by the employer.

Employees who participate in telework are responsible for:

  • the costs of maintaining the teleworkplace (such as insurance, heat, and hydro);
  • ensuring that a telework arrangement is in accordance with the municipal zoning regulations and in accordance with the employee's residential lease, if applicable;
  • adequately equipping the teleworkplace from a safety and health point of view;
  • respecting the terms and conditions of employment, relevant collective agreements, legislation, and Treasury Board and departmental policies, at the telework place; and
  • using supplies, equipment and electronic networks belonging to the employer only for the purposes of carrying out the employer's work unless otherwise authorized by the deputy head.

Departments shall encourage employees to consult their bargaining agent before undertaking a telework arrangement. Employees shall be encouraged to share the details of the arrangement with their bargaining agent.

Accountability and Monitoring

In order to create and sustain a work environment that promotes and encourages work-life balance there is a requirement for deputy heads to implement effective and efficient human resource practices such as accommodating telework requests, where it is economical and operationally feasible to do so. Departments must periodically evaluate the implementation of this policy to ensure it contributes to the well-being of their organizations and be able to demonstrate that teleworking arrangements comply with the conditions outlined in this policy. Treasury Board may undertake to monitor the effectiveness of this policy by measuring its use, benefits to organizations and adherence to the policy requirements.


Canada Labour Code

Canadian Human Rights Act

Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment (Treasury Board Policy)

Employment Equity Act

Employment Equity Policy (Treasury Board)

Government Employee Compensation Act

Isolated Posts and Government Housing Directive (Treasury Board)

Official Language Policies

Performance Review and Employee Appraisal (Treasury Board Policy)

Provision of Accommodation for Employees with Disabilities (Treasury Board Policy)

Public Service Staff Relations Act

Relevant collective agreements

Relocation Directive (Treasury Board)

Security Policy (Treasury Board)

Staff Relations – Strikes (Treasury Board Policy)

Terms and Conditions of Employment (Treasury Board Policy)

Travel Directive (Treasury Board)

Use of Electronic Networks (Treasury Board Policy)


Enquiries relating to this policy should be referred to the responsible officer designated in departmental/organizational headquarters, who in turn may direct questions regarding interpretation to the Human Resources Branch of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the President of the Treasury Board, 2017,
ISBN: 978-0-660-20425-3

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