Measures to return to pre-COVID routines may be on the rise for some Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members according to a new directive issued by the Deputy Minister of National Defence, Bill Matthews, and Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre.
Among the major changes, military members could see an increased in-person presence in the workplace.
“As we approach the two-year mark since the Defence Team began operating within a COVID-19 environment, we recognize the reality that COVID-19 has become part of our lives and appears as though it will remain for some time. As such, we have released the new CDS/DM Directive on DND/CAF Operating and Reconstituting in a Persistent COVID-19 Environment, which moves away from a mindset focused exclusively on avoidance to one more tailored towards risk mitigation,” the statement read.
Highlights of New Directive
The new directive, which replaces the positions held in summer 2021, specifically underlines the continuation of Public Health Measures (PHMs), a revised Rapid Antigen Detection Testing (RADT) program, and updated travel guidance.
The revised RADT program will involve screening in a deliberate manner, prioritizing Defence Team members who have a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 or work in positions where exposure/infection could have a significant impact on operations.
The new directive highlights updated guidance to travel, including domestic and international travel for work and non-work-related reasons, compassionate reasons, and house hunting trips.
Returning to Work
According to the statement, day-to-day changes and decisions to return to the workplace will be made at the local level based on regional realities, local health conditions, and operational requirements.
“L1s will be responsible for seeking advice from Senior Medical Authorities and local Workplace Health and Safety Committees, consulting regional authorities, and ensuring mitigation measures are properly communicated prior to resuming activities in the workplace. The Defence Team will continue to employ a hybrid workforce where it makes sense, leveraging the success that we have experienced thus far by affording our teammates flexibility,” according to the statement.
Adhering to Vaccine Policies
Gen. Eyre and Matthews both made it a point to note that vaccination and attestation remain a priority for CAF members.
“The resilience and strength of the Defence Team is remarkable. Thank you for your hard work throughout these past two years. We ask all of you to continue adhering to PHMs and ensuring both the DND and CAF COVID-19 Vaccination policies are upheld, including maintaining accurate and current attestation information for all current and future personnel on MCS – Monitor MASS for CAF members and GC-VATS for public service employees.”
The statement encouraged all defence members to read the directive in full here. It also highlighted that additional resources could be found within the Maple Leaf, the FAQ: Business Resumption Directive web page.
Members are also encouraged to consult your Chain of Command or submit them through the Ask Anything: COVID-19 inbox.