Policy Statement

The Remote Work Policy – Hybrid Work sets out the principles and process by which employees of the City of Toronto may safely and effectively perform the duties of their position from a remote work location as part of a hybrid work arrangement pursuant to the City’s Hybrid Work Program, or on an ad hoc basis.

This Policy replaces the Remote Work Policy – Gradual Re-opening issued on February 22, 2022, as of March 21, 2022.

Definitions

Ad Hoc Remote Work

Remote work that is performed occasionally by an employee outside of a hybrid work arrangement, on an exception basis, with their people leader’s approval, subject to divisional requirements or limitations.

City Work Location

The employee’s regularly assigned City work location, where the employee typically reports for work during regular business operations. Examples include:

  • City Hall, Metro Hall and Civic Centres
  • Shelters, Seniors Services & Long-Term Care Homes
  • Yards
  • Division-specific leased and/or free-standing buildings (e.g. treatment plant, Fire Station)

Eligible Employee

An employee performing work in a position that has been identified by their division as being suitable for hybrid work.

Hybrid Work

A new workplace model that enables eligible employees to perform their work duties alternating between their City work location and a remote work location further to a hybrid work arrangement with their people leader, as described in the hybrid work program. Hybrid work is not fully remote.

Hybrid Work Arrangement

The documented application of hybrid work for an eligible employee, as discussed between the employee and their people leader. In a hybrid work arrangement, employees are expected to work some of the time at their City work location and some of the time from their remote work location, in accordance with the City’s Hybrid Work Program. Arrangements are to be flexible and reasonable while considering operational requirements.

People Leader

An individual with authority and the ability to positively influence, coach and motivate others to their full potential to be able to work towards common goals and outcomes. This individual should have formal direct reports and can range from Supervisors to the City Manager.

Remote Work

The performance of all or some of an employee’s job duties at a remote work location, using technology to facilitate the performance of the employee’s duties and access and communication between the employee and their people leader.

Remote Work Attestation

An electronic form completed by the employee prior to commencing work at a remote work location, confirming the remote work location and that the location is appropriate, secure and safe for City work. The Attestation must be updated by the employee annually, or whenever there are material changes to an employee’s remote work location, changes to reporting relationships, when requested by their people leader, or as required by the employee’s division.

Remote Work Location

A location that is a non-City work location that allows the employee to perform their work safely, has network connectivity and maintains security of City information appropriate to the work being performed. Employees may have a primary and optional secondary remote work location, to be identified on the Remote Work Attestation.

An employee’s remote work location must be within a reasonable distance of their regularly assigned City work location, as determined by operational requirements, and within Ontario.

Locations that offer public Wi-Fi or that are not private (coffee shops, malls, airports, libraries, etc.) are not considered suitable remote work locations.

Roles and Responsibilities

Division Head or Designate

  • Identify positions suitable for hybrid work in which employees are eligible for a hybrid work arrangement, no later than February 28, 2022.
  • Set conditions for ad hoc remote work, as required.

People Leader

  • Discuss and document hybrid work arrangements with eligible employees.
  • Verify employee completion of the Remote Work Attestation for employees with a hybrid work arrangement or for those performing ad hoc remote work.
  • Responsible for employee health, safety, and performance.
  • Provide resources to employees on health and safety requirements for remote work locations.

Eligible Employees

  • Discuss a hybrid work arrangement with their people leader.
  • Complete the Remote Work Attestation confirming that their proposed remote work location meets City health and safety requirements and keep it updated.
  • Ensure remote work locations comply with the Remote Work Safety Checklist (Appendix A) health and safety standards.
  • Comply with all provisions of this Policy and the Hybrid Work Program.

Employees Working Remotely on an Ad Hoc Basis

  • Complete the Remote Work Attestation confirming that their proposed remote work location meets City health and safety requirements outlined in the Remote Work Safety Checklist (Appendix A).
  • Update the Remote Work Attestation following any material change to their remote work location.
  • Comply with all applicable provisions of this Policy.

People & Equity Division / City Leadership Team

  • Provide City leaders and team members with the guidance and advice required to implement and facilitate hybrid work at the City.
  • Identify opportunities to embed accessibility and inclusion principles to ensure that eligible employees fully participate in new or modified workplaces and hybrid work.

Corporate Real Estate Management (CREM)

  • Fulfil all approved People Leader requests for provision of City office furniture, with existing contracts, at a remote work location, as appropriate and required.
  • Coordinate and track the provision and retrieval of any and all City office furniture provided to employees, including at a remote work location.

Technology Services

  • Fulfil all approved People Leader requests for provision of City technology assets required by an employee for work at a remote work location or City work location, as determined to be necessary by an employee’s division for each employee.
  • Coordinate and track the provision and retrieval of any City technology assets provided to employees including, but not limited to, network accounts, computers, keyboards, monitors, and cell phones, whether at a remote work location or City work location.
  • Accept the return of City technology assets when an employee’s division deems they are no longer needed by the employee.

Managing Remote and Hybrid Work

Employment Terms and Conditions

Remote or hybrid work is an employee privilege, not an employee right or entitlement or a term and condition of employment, and may be denied or revoked by the City or by an employee’s people leader, at their sole discretion.

Employees must comply with all City policies, procedures, and applicable collective agreements affecting their employment while working remotely. Unless otherwise specified, the existing terms of the applicable collective agreement for unionized employees, or of the employment contract between the employee and the City for non-union employees, remain applicable and in force while an employee is working remotely, whether through a hybrid work arrangement or ad hoc remote work.

Hybrid work arrangements and remote work locations must conform to all Ontario employment laws, including the Employment Standards Act, 2000, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 and the Occupational Health & Safety Act.

City information created, received, and used while an employee is working remotely or in the course of an employee’s remote work under a hybrid work arrangement must be secured, protected, and managed in accordance with the Information Management Remote Work Guideline and Information Management Accountability Policies.

Any work product developed or produced by employees, during working hours, at their remote work location, remains the property of the City.

Performance Expectations and Accountability

Regardless of work location, employees remain responsible to complete their work and meet all performance expectations. Employees must continue to perform their work as assigned and report on progress as required or requested by their People Leader, when working remotely, including as part of a hybrid work arrangement.

People leaders are expected to establish requirements for accessibility and communication during work hours with employees reporting to them, within reason. Employees must also report any problem encountered at their remote work location that prevents them from performing their work at that location.

Employees working remotely, including under a hybrid work arrangement, are required to meet with clients, vendors, or other City staff using City-approved communication technology, unless this is not feasible. If in-person contact is required, employees should meet only at a City work location or client location (not in contravention with the Conflict of Interest Policy), unless expressly authorized by the employee’s People Leader. No business meetings shall occur in an employee’s remote work location, including meetings between the employee and their people leader.

Employees working remotely are expected to make appropriate dependent care arrangements and manage personal responsibilities in a way that allows successful completion of their job responsibilities from their remote work location.

Health and Safety

Employees must ensure that any remote work location meets requirements for a safe and healthy workplace and complies with applicable occupational health and safety requirements and all City health and safety policies (see Remote Work Safety Checklist at Appendix A). People leaders are to provide direction and resources, as needed, to ensure employees can verify that their remote work locations meet health and safety requirements.

When an employee is working at the remote work location, all City policies including the Investigation and Reporting of Work-Related Injuries and Incidents Policy and Workplace Safety and Insurance Act requirements must be followed to ensure that work-related injuries and incidents are adequately investigated and reported and that corrective actions are undertaken to prevent similar injuries and incidents in the future. If a work-related injury or incident occurs at the remote work location, the employee must ensure first aid requirements and emergency care is administered, and report the injury to their People Leader. To support investigation of work-related incidents or injuries, reasonable access to information about the remote work location (e.g. photos, video) may be required.

Accommodation

The City’s Accommodation Policy and Procedures should be followed by People Leaders with advice and support from Disability Management, Employee Health and Wellness, or the Human Rights Office, as appropriate, to meet the needs of employees with pre-existing approved accommodations and to address any new accommodation requests by employees, in relation to any proposed or implemented hybrid work arrangement.

Hybrid work is not a substitute for an accommodation where required or requested by an employee.

Hours of Work

Regardless of their work location, employees are expected to work their standard hours, including applicable eating periods and breaks as required under the Employment Standards Act. During their work hours, employees must focus on performing City work. People leaders are encouraged to explore staggered hours, where appropriate. This includes earlier and later start and end times.

Travel to City Work Location

Employees working at their remote work location, whether as part of a hybrid work arrangement or on an ad hoc basis, may be required to report to their regular assigned City work location due to business reasons or operational requirements at People Leader discretion and on short notice. Notice should be provided with reasonable lead time.

Employees will not be compensated for their commute to their City work location or their remote work location, or for any travel between their regular City work location and their remote work location.

The City’s Kilometre Reimbursement Implementation Guidelines continue to apply to employees seeking reimbursement for travel which meets the reimbursement criteria set out in those guidelines.

Information Security and Management

Employees working remotely must comply with all City policies, processes, and requirements to protect the security and confidentiality of the City’s data and information assets including business records as well as with all applicable requirements of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).

This includes maintaining data security and confidentiality practices consistent with the standard expected of employees when working at their City work location. City information must not be accessed or viewed by anyone outside the City and should not be disclosed to or discussed with anyone outside the City unless it is necessary and acceptable to do so for the performance of the employee’s duties.

Employees should use City-issued Outlook email accounts to perform their work duties and functions when working remotely.

Employees should also refrain from:

  • Printing documents with sensitive or private information at their Remote Work Location, but rather, at their City Work Location
  • Taking original physical records off of City property, instead taking photocopies, and obtaining authorization to do so.
  • Disposing business records at home either electronically or physically. They must be retained securely until they can be safely disposed of on or at a City network or site in accordance with approved retention and disposition schedules.

Employees must immediately notify their immediate People Leader of any breach of security at their remote work location involving the City’s data and information assets including business records.

Asset Management

City property provided to an employee for use at their remote work location, including office furniture with existing contracts and technology assets, remains the property of the City and may be used only for City business and purposes in accordance with City policies.

Employees are responsible for transporting back and forth the equipment required to perform their work, including laptop and accessories, between their City work location and their remote work location.

Employees must take all reasonable steps to protect any City property in their possession at a remote work location from theft, damage, or misuse, and are responsible for ensuring all items are properly used and maintained while in their possession at the remote work location, and in transit to their City work location.

Employees must protect and use the technology and information assets of the City in accordance with the Acceptable Use of information Technology Assets Policy and Information Technology Asset Management Policy, and must immediately report technology issues/problems, or loss/damage/theft of City-owned devices to the Technology Services Helpdesk, and to their People Leader.

Employees are required to surrender and return all City property in their possession at their remote work location upon demand, to their City work location.

The City is not responsible for loss, damage, or wear and tear of employee owned equipment or property at the employee’s remote work location. Repair and or replacement costs and liability for employee-owned equipment and furniture are the responsibility of the employee.

Ad Hoc Remote Work

An employee who does not have a hybrid work arrangement may be permitted to perform their work from a remote work location on an ad hoc basis as an exception to the normal requirement for them to attend work at their City work location.

All relevant provisions of this Policy will apply, suitably modified, during the period the employee is working remotely on an ad hoc basis.

Ad hoc remote work is not an entitlement and an employee’s ad hoc remote work request may be denied based on operational need or any other reasonable basis.

Emergency Situations

Where employees are required to work from their remote work locations due to an emergency in the City work location, the remote work location becomes the employee’s primary work location until it is safe for the employees to return to their City work location or their hybrid work arrangement.

Appendix A – Remote Work Safety Checklist

The information that follows is intended to assist those working remotely in identifying practices that will enable their work to be performed in a healthy, safe, and comfortable environment.

Workspace Conditions

  • Adequate space to work effectively is available.
  • Workspace is organized and free of clutter.
  • Workspace and furniture are arranged to support neutral postures to minimize the risks of musculoskeletal disorder injuries.
  • Floor surfaces are free of slip, trip or fall hazards (e.g. loose tiles or carpets).
  • Aisles, walkways, exits and stairs are clear and unobstructed.

Lighting

  • Work areas are adequately illuminated.
  • Light fixtures are in good condition.

Electrical

  • Electrical equipment is free from hazards (e.g. frayed or exposed wires, bare conductors, loose wires).
  • Phone lines, electrical cords, and extension wires are properly secured, out of the way, and anchored, when possible, but not kept under rugs/carpets.
  • Power bars are used in place of extension cords, where possible, and any extension cords are CSA-approved and grounded by three prongs.
  • Adequate outlets are available (i.e. outlets are not overloaded).
  • Heat-generating equipment is clear of debris and combustible material.
  • Adequate ventilation room is present around all electrical equipment.

Emergency Systems

  • Personal first aid materials are readily available.
  • Smoke detector(s) are present, fully functional, routinely tested and, if battery-powered, the batteries are changed at least every six months.
  • A carbon monoxide detector is present and fully functional, if required (i.e. fuel-burning appliance, fireplace or attached storage garage in residential building).
  • The ability to call 911 and to check-in with their Supervisor.

Ergonomic Workstation Guides and Other Policies

Approved by

City Manager

Date Approved

March 23, 2022