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A more gradual return to the OPS workplace

Publish date: Wednesday, March 16, 2022 presidentsMessage

Composite image of President Dave Bulmer and Queen's Park

After calls from AMAPCEO and other unions, the Ontario Public Service (OPS) Employer has announced that they will be revising their return to workplace plans to a more gradual approach. 

Their latest plan will see those who are currently working remotely be required to be in the workplace one or two days a week starting April 4. The Employer is asking you get in touch with your manager to work out the details. 

This plan will continue to May 16, when the plan calls for employees to be in the office a minimum of three days a week. 

The Employer has reminded managers of the need for flexibility, and those with accommodation needs will continue to be able to work out an individual plan. 

After the last couple of weeks, I am pleased to see the Ontario Public Service (OPS) Employer change course. This is the fourth time AMAPCEO has successfully intervened to help shape the Employer’s return to workplace plans to protect members’ interests. 

Late last week, the Secretary of Cabinet was firm that the Employer would not alter their plan. 

I met with the Secretary on Monday afternoon. In our meeting, I shared AMAPCEO’s concerns with the escalated return, the removal of health and safety measures, and the lack of consideration for those members with disabilities or in need of accommodations. I reiterated that a gradual return—one or two days a week at the most, over an extended period to start—was the safest.  

And with the province continuing to lift COVID-19 protections such as vaccine passports, mandatory vaccination, and masking, I urged that many of these precautions be maintained in OPS workplaces as more people start to transition back to the workplace. 

The Employer indicated they will encourage—but not require—employees to wear masks in shared spaces. We are disappointed in this decision, as after vaccination, masks remain one of the most effective means of preventing serious infection. AMAPCEO strongly recommends that members continue masking for the initial phase or until personally comfortable otherwise. 

We will continue to review the Employer’s plans and activate our Health & Safety Representatives to assist. 

Should you require an accommodation and you have not already sought one, please contact an AMAPCEO Workplace Representative in your District. 

As for what the workplace looks like post May 16, remember that your OPS Bargaining Team is currently at the table negotiating a new collective agreement. It won’t come as a surprise that access to hybrid work—including remote work—is a top priority. 

This was another advocacy win for your union, but to ensure success on a more permanent basis, your OPS Bargaining Team needs your support. 

We are planning a way for you to take action on Wednesday, March 23. We’ll be in touch with details on Monday.  

Take part next Wednesday and help send the Employer a message. 

Stronger together, 

Dave Bulmer

Dave Bulmer
President & CEO

More about AMAPCEO and our Members: Established in 1992, AMAPCEO is a bargaining agent that represents 14,000 professional and supervisory public servants, most of whom work directly for the Government of Ontario in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions; in 130 communities throughout Ontario and in 12 cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council; Ontario Health (Quality Unit); Public Health Ontario; the Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; and in the former Offices of the Ontario Child Advocate and the French Language Services Commissioner (now part of the Ontario Ombudsman).