Pushing Back on the Return to the Workplace

In June the City of Ottawa announced a new policy that requires all City of Ottawa employees to work from a City facility a minimum of two days a week. 

Our members who have been working from home these past few years have demonstrated that they can deliver efficient and effective work. There is no need for a one-size-fits-all approach of two days a week in the workplace. 

This is a disappointing departure from the previous Hybrid Work Policy that ensured operational needs were met and generally provided the appropriate flexibility for CIPP members. 

The research on work from home or remote work is almost unanimous – a flexible hybrid model is best for productivity, employee satisfaction and engagement. 

CIPP proposes that alternative work arrangements, including hybrid work, be individually assessed, subject to legitimate operational requirements and allow for up to five days per week to work from home, in line with the CIPP Collective Agreement.   

The employer has not demonstrated this policy will improve service excellence, ensure health and safety, be more cost effective or enhance equality and has failed to consider the impact of their decision on a member’s work/life balance.

Policy Grievance

We have filed a policy grievance.

Our grievance highlights our concerns with the arbitrary nature of this policy decision, the failure of the employer to consult the union, health and safety concerns and the lack of adequate workstations and equipment in the workplaces.  

The City has denied this grievance and we will be moving the grievance forward to arbitration. The City denies that this is a policy change and is arguing that no input from the union or employees is required. Our Collective Agreement, however, requires consultation for this type of policy change.  

CIPP Policy Paper

Hundreds of CIPP members replied to our request for more information about your experiences working from home and the challenges the new policy poses. We have integrated the data you shared with us into our CIPP policy paper.

In contrast to the employer’s arbitrary policy, our position is evidence-based and forward-looking. 

The evidence collected demonstrates that the employer’s policy decision will negatively and significantly impact our member’s productivity and work/life balance. 

This policy paper informs our grievance, the work we will do in arbitration and our ongoing advocacy with City leadership.  

If you have any comments on this policy paper, please get in touch connect@cipp.on.ca. The contributions of hundreds of members made this work possible.