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City moving forward with multi-phased return-to-work plan: city manager

The process will allow employees to gradually return to the workplace over the course of the next three months while still having the option to work remotely.
2021-03-24 ottawa city hall CK2
Ottawa City Hall, March 2021. Chris Kurys/ CityNews

With the easing of COVID-19 public health and safety measures, the City of Ottawa is moving forward with a multi-phased return-to-work plan. 

"Throughout the last several weeks, we've seen the gradual easing of public health measures from both the federal and provincial governments, signalling an improvement in the COVID-19 situation across our country and province," city manager Steve Kanellakos said in a memo obtained by CityNews Ottawa.

"In addition, Dr. Etches released a special statement on Wednesday indicating that the COVID-19 measures monitored by Ottawa Public Health (OPH) have also shown a decline since early January."

Kanellakos says given the improvements in the public health situation and recognizing the importance of social connection and engagement for overall well-being, the city will begin to move forward with the process of allowing employees to gradually return to the workplace over the course of the next three months.

"Of course, we must remain agile as an organization and be prepared to pivot as required to align to the evolving public health context," Kanellakos said.  

The hybrid return-to-work model that was initiated last year, is something he aims to keep, for employers who may need to work from home.

"If we take care of our people, they will take care of our clients." 

Kanellakos goes on to say, hybrid work options will look different for every employee and will depend on the needs of each person, which can be ironed out with the Human Resources team. 

As for the current health measures, those will remain in place for now, including the daily-screening tool, masking and staying at home when sick. The City will also continue working with OPH for further advice on health guidelines.

Kanellakos also says the changes are part of the recovery process and "it's going to take time for everyone for find their comfort zone." 

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