USJE members urged to file grievances regarding return to worksite policies within 25 working days 

USJE’s National President has been very vocal about our union’s objections to the Treasury Board’s Directive in late December to impose a policy of a minimum of two to three days at the worksite by March 31st, no matter your role, responsibilities, agency or department. 

You can read President Neufeld’s op-ed published in the Hill Times here stating USJE’s concerns.  

Federal Minister Mona Fortier has stated, however, that the return-to-office policy must “consider the nature of each department’s work and the services they provide to Canadians.” 

However, the determination about the number of the days that federal public service employees are to spend in the office (and which days those may be) is at the sole discretion of the employee’s manager and/or director.  

Challenges with the implementation of a hybrid policy

USJE is hearing from many members who are struggling with the implementation of a hybrid policy. 

With this in mind, if you are a USJE member who believes they cannot fulfill their obligation to return to the worksite as it is being implemented at your place of work, it is imperative that you file an individual grievance within 25 working days from the date that the policy is implemented in your workplace. It is important to know that filing a grievance will not stop the implementation of the policy – you will have to abide by your managers’ directives in the interim – but it is the only way to challenge the violation of your rights.

If you have never filed a grievance before, USJE can walk you through the steps. 

The reasons for a grievance about the unworkability of the policy given your circumstances can include: 

  • lack of access to child or eldercare (owing to insufficient time to secure care/long waiting lists);
  • challenges getting to the worksite (inadequate transit/transportation); 
  • inadequate office space or broadband at the work site;  
  • unpredictability about which days to be at the office in person; 
  • health and safety considerations (for those who are immuno-compromised or facing medical or related challenges on the part of themselves, family member or other dependent) 
  • You were working from home pre-pandemic and are now being required to go in to the office

Why file a grievance? 

Filing a grievance is an important procedural step that protects your rights. Ultimately, if the issue cannot be resolved directly with your department, it can be brought to the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board. It also means the employer must meet with you and your union representative, listen to the problems you are having because of the hybrid work policy, and provide a formal response about what they are doing to correct it. 

It is important to carefully document the return to workplace problems you may be having, and any communication with your employer.  Please keep email records and write down the results of any conversations you have had by phone or in person with your manager or other superiors. 

To file a grievance, immediately contact an executive member of your Local (ie. Local President) or Regional Vice-President by email or phone. A full list of USJE’s Regional Vice Presidents can be found here

If you have incurred expenses beyond the ordinary costs of attending work, and/or financial losses as a result of the return to workplace policy, be sure to identify these damages to your union representative, and keep records and documentation of those costs. 

USJE’s Next Steps

USJE is wholly committed to continuing to challenge the logic and value of the Treasury Board’s one-size-fits-all return to worksite policy. 

Your actions and willingness to share your experience are extremely helpful to us. 

If you would like to share why the policy isn’t working for you (regardless of whether or not you proceed with a grievance), please reach out to your local Regional Vice-President or email us your story at

You can also complete a short survey on tele-working arrangements here. Your answers will help us when we meet with your employer.

And don’t forget to register for our National Town Halls on return to work, happening February 15 and 16.