Information

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Useful information

In collaboration with its parliamentary partners,​ the Service continues to closely monitor the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation. We are committed to the health, safety and well-being of our employees while remaining dedicated to providing services to parliamentarians, recognizing that we need to be flexible in how we deliver these services. We know there’s a lot going on, but we’re committed to keeping you informed and giving you the support you need. The Service will continue to follow government recommendations and continue to act responsibly to slow the spread of the virus.

This page will be updated as new information becomes available.

daily business

Update: September 29, 2020

Restricted Access to the Workplace Process

As provinces and cities adjust restrictive public health measures, workplaces should consider risks and identify risk mitigation measures to implement when operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. External factors such as the flu season and winter approaching are also evaluated when  considering employee access the workplace.

Safety measures taken by the Service are in line with its obligations under the Canada Labour Code and measures communicated by Public Health. These measures form part of Canada's collective approach to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19. Our Restricted Access to the Workplace Process is based on concepts outlined in the guidance developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Who can access the workplace?

The Service has a list of operational and essential positions that are obligated to be physically present in the workplace during this pandemic. These individuals have priority access to the workplace and the protection of their health and safety is of chief concern. As of October 1st 2020 the access to the physical workplace/precinct is limited to this group of employees that have priority access to the workplace.

How can I access the workplace for exceptional circumstances?

If you are not part of the group of employees that have priority access to the workplace, your manager can approve a request based on an assessment of the necessity of your duties/activities and the health and safety risks that your presence in the workplace could pose.

This process is effective until December 31st 2020 and is subject to change, as circumstances surrounding COVID-19 Pandemic continue to evolve.

Post-COVID-19: Examining how a return to work might take place

Every employee has questions about how and when a return to work will take place. The Service and other federally regulated organisations are still nowhere near being able to announce a return date. At this point, the Service is not planning on relaxing the protective measures presently in place. Nonetheless, we know that time will eventually come. To best prepare for it, the Service has created two working groups to examine how a post-COVID-19 return-to work might unfold. Certainly, it is reasonable to expect that some form of physical distancing will remain a priority in many aspects of our work, and that resuming normal activity will be done in a “measured and graduated way” as indicated by our Prime Minister.

The Service will continue to closely monitor statements and recommendations of health authorities but will also take into consideration the specific realities of employees’ personal and family situations. Staff can expect the Service to follow the guidelines proposed by health authorities and to act in accordance with occupational health and safety legislation.

Should you have any concerns or questions about how the return-to-work might unfold at the Service, please contact your supervisor/manager.

In the meantime, we are trying to minimize the number of employees coming to work in support of direction from public health authorities. Although activity levels have dropped, the Service’s primary concern remains the physical security of the Parliamentary Precinct. The Service continues to secure Parliamentary Precinct buildings, all of which remain open until further notice. For emergency support, the Service can be reached at 992-7000. Please note that staff will be asked to sign in when entering buildings, as per normal practice during silent hours.

Commanders Discussion Forum

Update: July 31, 2020

As we enter another month of emergency measures in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, it appears that we will continue living under these conditions for the foreseeable future. With that being said, both provinces have made great strides in recent weeks which has allowed an expansion on the number of people allowed to gather, businesses are starting to re-open with safety measures in place and things seem to be stabilizing overall.

The Commanders Discussion Forum was created to further open the lines of communication for all, during a time where both provinces were being asked to stay home and abide by strict restrictions in hopes of flattening the COVID curve.

When

The Commanders Discussion Forum will be available every Wednesday between 10:00 and 11:00 via Skype, where any employee can join in to share their concerns, comments or questions. We ask that all NCOs and supervisors make this information available to their respective teams so that everyone has an equal opportunity to make their voices heard.

How to Join

There are two options to join the group forum; via phone by dialing in or via skype free app available on smartphones, tablets or computer. If you opt to join the forum, we ask that you use the video option (if possible and certainly not mandatory) and keep your phone or computer microphone on mute when you are not speaking, to avoid unnecessary background noise and audio feedback (the use of headsets are strongly recommended). We will continue to do our best to answer all questions and address all concerns during the call and commit to getting back to you as quickly as possible should we not have answers readily available.

*Please note: Calls are limited to 25 participants, therefore if you are not able to get through, continue to try throughout the hour or on another day.

Telework

It has now been many weeks since most of you began teleworking as a result of COVID-19. In support of guidelines from public health authorities, we are trying to minimize the number of employees coming to work.  The Service appreciates the patience and the collaborative spirit you have shown during this unprecedented situation, along with your willingness to adapt rapidly as the situation evolves. It is important to the Service that employees have the tools they need to allow them to telework safely and effectively in order to maintain essential services.

Requesting Equipment

We encourage you to have an open conversation with your supervisor/manager in making arrangements for your ergonomic needs. When requesting an item, you can opt for the pick-up option or delivery of equipment. We ask that you submit the Delivery and Removal of Assets Form to your supervisor or manager for approval and send the Form to the quartermaster for tracking and delivery when approved.

That said, we would like to remind employees who have brought office equipment to work from home to inform their supervisor/manager via the same Delivery and Removal of Assets Form and forward the form to the quartermaster afterwards. When resuming normal activity, you will be asked to return the equipment back to your office.

Employees who cannot perform their duties from home or do not have access to the network may consider pursuing some online training or working on an appropriate special project (policy review, performance evaluations, work procedures, process review, etc.). They may consult with their manager/supervisor for further ideas on how to manage these unique situations.

Your manager/supervisor remain your first point of contact for any questions or concerns you may have.

Mental Health support

Update: November 2, 2020

Support

As an employee of the Service, please remember that you can always contact our confidential Employee Assistance Program should you need support:
1-800-663-1142 | TTY: 1-888-384-1152 | International (Call Collect): 604-689-1717.

Ready, set, snooze!

Take a look at Statistics Canada's infographic on sleep and learn more about the habits of Canadians.

Leading with Empathy

The resource Leading with Empathy Through the Easing of COVID-19 Restrictions provides great insight on the COVID-19’s impact on mental health and how managers can lead successfully by being empathetic towards their employees.

We also encourage you to watch the video Brené Brown on Empathy which reminds us that we can only create a empathic connection if we get in touch with our own fragilities.

Employee Fatigue, Isolation and Loneliness

We know that self-isolation and physical distancing are necessary, as they are preventative measures to slow the spread of the virus and the risk of infection. As we adopt and implement modifications to our routines, these changes can be linked to psychological effects including feelings of fatigue, isolation, and loneliness.

If you’re unsure where to get started, some very basic self-care tips include: getting enough sleep, eating healthy, exercising, limiting your screen time and spending some time outside. Learn more here.

How to Bounce Back from a Stressful Situation

Any unexpected changes may impact your psychological health and overall well-being. Feelings of sadness and anxiety are normal and can overwhelm us at any time. The theme of resilience is therefore important and helpful to understand. Resilience may protect you from the harmful psychological effects of a crisis. More specifically, it allows you to adapt and bounce back from a stressful situation. 

How can you build resilience?
  • Find ways to get more comfortable with uncertainty;
  • Use quality information;
  • Be flexible when faced with new and necessary adaptations by adjusting your routine.

If you are interested in a step by step learning opportunity about building your resilience, Homewood Health offers a free 2 hours e course on the subject.

If you or a family member wishes to speak to someone, please call Homewood Health, our confidential Employee and Family Assistance Program: 1-800-663-1142 | TTY: 1-888-384-1152 | International (Call Collect): 604-689-1717.

Questions or concerns? Contact your well-being coordinator at maralia.mazzola@pps-spp.parl.gc.ca.

Mindfulness at Work to Help you De-Stress

Yes, you can practice mindfulness at work. No matter what your job is, chances are you'd benefit from finding some moments of peace during your work day (evening or night). These easy tips below will show you how.

But first, what is mindfulness exactly? Mindfulness means to be aware of your surroundings and your thoughts and to be fully present. To break it down, it means to hit pause, slow down, try to let go of the endless stream of thoughts, and just focus on what's in front of you. We are all capable of mindfulness; it’s just a matter of tapping into it.

Here are some helpful tips in becoming more mindful in your day-to day life:
  • Mindful moving, walking or running: Notice the feeling of your body moving. You might notice the breeze against your skin, the feeling of your feet from different textures on the ground and the different smells and sights that are around you.
  • Mindful breathing: Take a couple of minutes to notice your breathing. Sense the flow of your breath, the rise and fall of your belly.
  • Mindful eating: Pay attention to the taste, sight, textures and smells of what you eat. For example, when drinking a cup of tea or coffee you could focus on how hot and liquid it feels on your tongue and throat, how sweet it tastes or watch the steam that it gives off.
  • Listening mindfully: Do you really listen when a colleague speaks, or are you simply waiting to have your say? Offer your full attention to someone who is speaking to you. Listen with nonjudgment, openness, curiosity, interest, and compassion.

 

Don’t forget to be non-judgmental towards yourself. It is normal for unrelated thoughts to arise. Simply be aware of them and bring back your attention to your mindfulness practice. We hope that these short, actionable tips will help you de-stress, focus, and have more energy for the rest of your busy life.

The Shadow Pandemic - Increase in Domestic Violence

In times of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, experts have noted increases in domestic violence. Because security, health, and money worries heighten tensions and strains are accentuated by confined living conditions, for some, home is not a safe option. Thus, isolation has broken existing support networks, making it more difficult for victims to get help or escape.

Support services
Identify signs

While it is not always easy to identify if you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or violence, take the time to learn more about the different types of violence and how to recognize them.

Effects on the workplace

We also encourage you to learn more about the effects of domestic violence on the workplace.

Tools and resources

How to manage stress and anxiety

The Service recognizes the importance of supporting the mental health of its employees navigating this rapidly changing environment. If you or a family member wishes to speak to someone, please call Homewood Health, our confidential Employee and Family Assistance Program:
1-800-663-1142 | TTY: 1-888-384-1152 | International (Call Collect): 604-689-1717.

In addition, Homewood offers an online Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) called i-Volve. CBT is a therapeutic approach scientifically proven to help reduce symptoms of anxiety and/or mild depression. I-Volve can help change and adapt the ways in which we think, feel, and react during anxious scenarios and situation by identifying, challenging and overcoming anxious thoughts, behaviors and emotions. We encourage you to help maintain psychological, emotional and social stability as best as you can; look for ways to stay busy and active during COVID-19.

How to maintain social connection for mental health… from a distance?

Check out these mental health tips for working from home.

Health & Safety

Update: November 2, 2020

Flu Shot Benefits

The flu (influenza) is a contagious virus that anyone can get. To avoid getting the flu, the flu shot is your best defense.

The flu shot is:
• safe;
• free;
• available from your doctor or nurse practitioner, and at participating pharmacies and local public health units across the province of Ontario;
• proven to reduce the number of doctor visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to the flu.

Where to get the flu vaccine
Contact your local public health unit for more information on where to get the flu vaccine:
Ontario Public Health
Integrated health and social services centre (CISSS)

Prevention of COVID-19

We wish to remind all our employees of the following critical information:

Use of Cloth Masks and Gloves

The Service wishes to remind all of its employees that they are expected to wear masks indoors (mandatory) under the following circumstances:

  • Whenever a 2-meter distance cannot be guaranteed (indoors or outdoors); Indeed, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends wearing a non-medical mask or face covering in public places, especially crowded ones, when physical distancing — keeping a distance of 2 meters from other people — isn't possible to do consistently.
  • When in-transit (indoors); For example, when employees are moving about, away from desks, work stations, posts and are headed to a colleague’s office, or to the printer room, to the kitchen/break room, washrooms; etc.)
  • When moving through the public areas (indoors) of buildings managed by third parties (for example, when entering the main floor lobby, washrooms, public hallways, elevators; parking garages, etc.).
  • The gloves are to be worn by the detection specialist who carry out the vehicle search duty.

    In these situations you will need:
    - To put on gloves, ensuring that:
    - There are no pinholes or tears;
    - Secure fit around the fingers and palm;
    - Cuff fits snuggly around the wrists;
    - To remove and safely dispose of the gloves with every new interaction (do not reuse gloves).

  • Masks Mandatory at the VSF:
    - Inside the VSF bunker at all times;
    - Outside: Employees must wear their mask when in transit (while they rotate posts) and if/when the 2-meter distance cannot be maintained. Masks must also be worn if there is more than one employee in the Lane Booths.
    - Screening of Vehicles: employees must wear their mask when screening or inspecting vehicles.

As PPS employees, we encourage you to enforce the mask-wearing with one another (PSS employee to PPS employee).

Ergonomics at Home

Recognizing that many of you are working from home for a prolonged period, we want to support you by directing you to a mandatory training on how to set up a temporary workstation.

Resources
  1. Setting Up A Temporary Workstation
  2. Quick Steps for Setting Up for your Temporary Workstation (PDF)
Other tools

The Health and Accommodations team is also available to provide guidance to help you work safely and effectively from your home.

5 healthy hygiene tips - Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Myth busters - World Health Organization

COVID-19 self-assessment

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use this self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care.

Leave options

Update: September 22, 2020

Guide to Using Other Leave with Pay

It is important to remember that planning and scheduling time away from work is important for the wellbeing of all our employees. The Service recognizes that many parts of daily life have not returned to normal and has taken steps to support employees during this period of uncertainty.

“Other Leave with Pay”, code 699, was put in place on an exceptional basis during the COVID-19 pandemic to address specific issues faced by employees as the federal and provincial governments implemented measures to prevent the spread of infection. This type of leave is not meant to be used to replace vacation leave.

The Service would like to ensure that employees have an opportunity to recharge and encourages managers to make arrangements, when possible, and those who have been working over the past months to take vacation leave over the next few months.

If you are not able to report to work as a result of the COVID-19 situation, the examples and table below show the leave types that are in place. Please note that there are different leave codes for those who are paid by the House Administration (the majority of our employees) and the Senate Administration (former Senate Protective Service employees). The Senate Administration has created a specific leave code for the Pandemic.

Employees must discuss these leave options with their manager/supervisor, as other leave with pay will be granted on a case-by-case basis. Generally, the expectation is that for normal leave reasons, normal leave allocations must be exhausted (sick leave and family related leave not related to COVID-19) prior to using any special or other leave codes. Employees also have the responsibility to ensure ongoing communications with their manager/supervisor throughout the time they are away from the workplace.

 

Q: I am in an essential job, am fit and available to work – will I be required to report for every scheduled shift?

A: Operational requirements are evaluated on a daily basis to ensure effective protective posture and to minimize reporting to work as much as possible. As such, you may not be required to physically report to work. In such situation, please discuss with your manager/supervisor whether there is anything you can do from home. If not, you will be granted leave with pay for other reason.

Q: Do I have to be available to report to work for the duration of my original shift?

A: When you call in, as per previous instructions, you will be advised whether you are considered as working from home, in those situations you are expected to remain available to report for the duration of your shift.

Q: Do I received shift/night and weekend premiums while working from home in these situations?

A: Yes, as the time considered “time worked”, you will continue to receive evening and weekend premiums, as well as a “firearm” and “lunch-hour” premiums, for those to whom they apply. You would continue to receive “firearm” or “lunch-hour” premiums, on a monthly basis, in accordance with collective agreement.

Q: Do I receive shift/night and weekend premiums while on leave with pay for other reasons?

A: For the shift or weekend premiums to be earned, the hours must actually be worked. Therefore, for any period of leave with pay for other reasons, as for any other leave, no premiums will be earned. You would continue to receive “firearm” or “lunch-hour” premiums, on a monthly basis, for those to whom they apply, in accordance with collective agreement.

Q: I was initially scheduled for work on a Designated Paid Holiday (DPH) but am no longer required due to a reduced posture. Will I receive premium compensation for the shift for which I am not required to report to work?

A: All employees who aren’t required to report to work on a DPH will be given the day off on statutory holiday, in accordance with their collective agreement, and leave with pay for other reasons will be granted for any hours necessary to balance the duration of their shift and the value of the DPH. Unlike daily situations, you are not expected to be available to report, and if so required, will be compensated in accordance with the rates for work on a DPH, as per your collective agreement.

Q: I am unable to report for a shift due to illness or injury unrelated to COVID-19, does the leave for pay for other reasons automatically apply to me?

A: All requests for leave with pay for other reasons are to be considered on a case-by-case basis, in situations when the illness or injury are unrelated to COVID-19, normal sick leave provisions apply. Please discuss with you manager/supervisor your circumstances and whether advancement of sick leave or leave without pay may be granted.

Q: I am unable to report for a shift due to childcare obligations unrelated to daycare closures as a result of COVID-19 (for example, but not limited to, babysitter cancelling), does the leave for pay for other reasons automatically apply to me?

A: All requests for leave with pay for other reasons are to be considered on a case-by-case basis, in situations when the situation is not directly related to COVID-19, normal Family Related Leave provisions apply. Please discuss with you manager/supervisor your circumstances and whether vacation leave, leave without pay, or shift exchange may be feasible.

Situation Type of leave
You are sick Sick leave – uncertified (210) or after consultation with your supervisor, Other leave with pay (699 or Pandemic), if your sick leave has been exhausted.
You are taking care of a sick family member Family leave (420) or after consultation with your supervisor, Other leave with pay (699 or Pandemic), if your family leave has been exhausted.
You are taking care of children due to school or daycare closures If you cannot work from home (even in limited capacity), Other leave with pay (699 or Pandemic)
You are self-isolating for any reason, but can work from home Work from home, no leave applies
You are self-isolating further to advice from a public health official or further to a consultation with your manager/supervisor, and cannot work from home Other leave with pay (699 or Pandemic)

Self-isolation

Update: September 23, 2020

Self-Isolation Orders

Ottawa Public Health has invoked a new order allowing health authorities to fine individuals that do not comply with the Self-isolation orders. Please note that this applies to anyone that resides in Ottawa and who is present in Ottawa (non-residents as well).

Self-Isolation

Self-isolate when you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or when local public health authorities have identified you as a close contact of someone diagnosed with COVID 19. Self-isolation means limiting contact with others.

  • Do not leave home unless absolutely necessary, such as to seek medical care.
  • Do not go to school, work or other public areas and do not use public transportation (e.g., buses, taxis).
  • Arrange to have groceries and supplies dropped off at your door to minimize contact.
  • If possible, stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom from others in your home.
  • If you have to be in contact with others, keep at least 2 meters between yourself and the other person. Keep interactions brief and wear a mask.
  • Avoid contact with older adults and with individuals with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
  • Avoid contact with pets if you live with other people who may also touch the pet.

Parking

Considering the limited number of employees working per day, all employees who must report to work but who do not have a designated PPS parking pass are strongly encouraged to contact their managers/supervisors for information on how to access parking.

Gymnasiums

Both the Senate and the House of Commons gym facilities will be closed until further notice.

Online Training

Update: November 2, 2020

New Online Training

In an effort to support employees during the COVID-19 crisis and optimize this period as well as the continuous shifts in operating postures, the Service is pleased to offer online, web-based training for all employees using a phased in, step-by-step approach which will enable us to be more agile and ensure that all employees will benefit.

Elective Training - Develop New Skills with LinkedIn Learning

We wanted to remind you that as an employee of the Service, you have unlimited access to LinkedIn Learning, an on-demand library of high-quality instructional videos, until May 9. With a wide array of courses (approximately 8,000 in English and 2,100 in French), LinkedIn Learning is designed for all levels of learners, and it’s available whenever you’re ready to learn. You can access it from your LinkedIn profile, and with the LinkedIn Learning app, you can view courses from your mobile device. 

Top 5 Linkedin Courses chosen by our employees: 

  1. The Six Morning Habits of High Performers;
  2. Confronting Bias: Thriving Across our Differences;
  3. Strategic Thinking;
  4. Body Language for Women;
  5. Critical Thinking for Better Judgement and Decision-Making.

Courses are categorized by theme such as:

  • Business Software and Tools;
  • Leadership and Management;
  • Professional Development;
  • Project Management.

Under each theme, topics will be provided to specify appropriateness of the learning associated with each job profile model.

If you haven't received an email from LinkedIn, please notify hrquestionsrh@pps-spp.parl.gc.ca. For all issues with the LinkedIn portal, please contact customer support:

Don’t hesitate to let your manager/supervisor know which courses you took so far. 

PHASE I

Explore the various online training options available to all employees.

PHASE II

This phase consists of a blend of mandatory and elective training.

Mandatory Training

Employees have received email notifications for each course and had until Monday, June 15 to complete the training. 

PHASE III

Coming up in July – This phase will build upon previous phases. Each employee will be assigned a learning path tailored to their job profile geared toward developing skills and competencies essential to their development. Details will be announced shortly.

Questions on this new learning strategy can be directed to Human Resources at hrquestionsrh@pps-spp.parl.gc.ca. Happy learning!

TRAVEL

Update: October 13, 2020

Please note that the information presented here may evolve rapidly due to unpredictable changes in the country’s current health situation, as well as throughout the world.

Interprovincial Travel – Restrictions by Province and Territory

For information on travel restrictions and other actions taken by your province or territory related to COVID-19, information is changing on a frequent basis, we ask that you refer to the official web page of Transport Canada at https://tc.canada.ca/en/initiatives/covid-19-measures-updates-guidance-tc/guidance-material-air-operators#annexc

International and National Air Transport

Service staff who wish to travel within Canada, plan a trip elsewhere, or who are returning from abroad are invited to consult COVID-19: Travel, quarantine and borders, available on the official Government of Canada website at https://travel.gc.ca/covid-19-travel, and especially Travel restrictions, exemptions and advice at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html

We also strongly recommend considering all control measures, travel restrictions and your flight status on your airport’s website.

Public Transportation within the National Capital Region

For Service staff who use public transportation within the National Capital Region, please take note of the latest information and rules published by local businesses by referring to their respective websites:

Report an emergency or suspicious behaviour to 613-992-7000 or 911