In recent weeks, many employees and managers have been asking questions about vacation during these unusual times.  The first thing that I would like to emphasize is how important it is that we continue to schedule time off to rest and recharge.  We’ll have an ECHO article next week that goes into greater detail of the mental and physical health benefits of truly stepping away from work and the detrimental effects we can suffer when we don’t.

As always, it is important for employees and managers work together to schedule leave time that ideally:

  1. Suits the employee’s desired timeframe; and
  2. Allows the manager to balance the operational requirements of a work unit.


As always, vacation and compensated leave that would be in excess of the allowable carry-over detailed in collective agreements must be used. I can confirm that we have no plans at this time to extend leave carry over provisions.

I appreciate that the uncertainty of the future may be impacting your vacation plans. Many of you continue to face childcare challenges or are anxiously awaiting your first opportunity to return to the lab. Some of you had vacations planned you are hoping can be deferred as travel restrictions relax.

Fortunately, many parts of the country are beginning to ease pandemic restrictions as the numbers of cases of COVID-19 decline.  This has allowed daycares to begin re-opening and some summer camps to operate.  As these sources of childcare become available, we anticipate more employees being able to return to work.  For those who find themselves unable to secure childcare arrangements, “Other Leave with Pay (0699)” remains available for the immediate future.  The Government of Canada has confirmed that it will continue to support employees with the use of this leave code.  We anticipate more direction on this subject to be provided by Treasury Board Secretariat well in advance of the return to school.   Hopefully this knowledge will facilitate your planning.

For those anxious to have an opportunity to return to the lab, we continue to offer our employees flexibility and support while we slowly begin to increase our on-site operations.  Speak to your supervisor about the potential timelines for your return and make your vacation plans accordingly.

Though we are not back to “normal” and likely will not be for some time , the easing of restrictions are allowing some businesses, museums, galleries, parks, and campgrounds  to gradually re-open.  There is no time like the present to take a relaxing staycation with family and friends.


Take care and stay well,

Emily Harrison

Vice-President, Human Resources