COVID-19 Update: A word from GSU National President

Mar. 24, 2020

Since March 16, 2020 GSU has been in contact with both SSC and PSPC daily. There is a lot of information that have been circulating in the past week, sometime creating more confusion than clarity.  

Below, you will find the latest information GSU was able to confirm with both departments. As for the Mint, they have stopped all production for now.


1.    Essential versus critical services

The Government has defined the term ‘’critical service’’ as one that, if disrupted, would result in a high or very high degree of injury to the health, safety, security or economic well-being of Canadians, or to the effective functioning of the Government of Canada. Members occupying ‘’critical services’’ should have been notified by now and are expected to report to work.

An essential service is used to determine which positions must continue to provide service during strike activity. Essential service agreements are agreed to with the bargaining agents. No current essential service agreements exist between GSU and the departments regarding the COVID-19 situation.


2.    Members performing critical services

Managers are to consider on-site work only if the work meets the definition of critical service and working remotely to support it is not feasible. Members working on critical services and who do not feel safe are permitted to work from home and have access to the network from 6am-4pm. 


3.    Members not deemed critical

 Members not performing critical work are being asked to work from home.  Those working on noncritical work have access to the network from 4pm-6am.  If members are working outside their core hours the Employer should have to pay any shift premiums as per the collective agreement. Members are also able to make mutually acceptable working arrangements with their supervisor as well. 


4.    Members who are unable to perform work

 No member will be negatively impacted by the measures taken. Members who are unable to perform their work from home, unable to go to the workplace and there are no alternative solutions, including those who are deemed critical, can use a special leave code 699, upon notification of their immediate supervisor.


5.    Mental Health resources

Everyone reacts differently to a situation like this one. As the weeks go by, some more than others may feel the effects of confinement on their mental health and several resources are available for those members.  If you are overwhelmed, under significant stress, or having any mental health difficulties please do not hesitate to visit one of the resources below.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP) 

Public Service Healthcare Plan (PSHP)

Specialized Organizational Services (SOS)


PSAC also have an extended list of resources available within each region here:


GSU continues to work closely with the employers to ensure that all its members are safe and that their rights are being respected. Do not hesitate to contact your Local President if you encounter any issues. You can find your Local President contact information here:


I want to thank each one of you for the work that you are doing in these difficult times. Please stay healthy and continue to follow the health authority guidelines.

Together, we can do this.


In Solidarity,

Randy Howard - National President,  Government Services Union