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Flexible Work Procedures

1.          Purpose

These procedures (the “Procedures”) assist in the interpretation and application of the Flexible Work Policy (the “Policy”), set out the process for managing Flexible Work Arrangements, and establish the expectations and responsibilities surrounding the Policy.

2.         Responsibilities When Establishing a Flexible Work Arrangement

a.    Leaders

Leaders should complete these steps when establishing Flexible Work Arrangements with employees:

1.  Align team flexibility plans with the department’s flexibility framework and processes. Follow the three assessment steps below, in this order. Visit the Future of Work website for information.

a.  Assess how your team will work and deliver services,

b.  Assess the work your employees do, then 

c.  Consider individual preferences.

2.  Apply an equity, diversity and inclusion lens and assess Flexible Work Arrangements in a consistent and equitable manner.

3.  Submit an inventory of technology and equipment used at the employee’s Flexible Work Location to the department administrator.

4.  Approve reasonable and necessary employee equipment and supply reimbursement requests in accordance with Employee Reimbursement Guidelines.

5.  Review Flexible Work Arrangements as needed to confirm that the arrangement is still effective or if adjustments are required.

b.    Employees

Employees should complete these steps when establishing a Flexible Work Arrangement:

1.  Review and adhere to the terms of the Flexible Work Policy.

2.  Establish a suitable workspace free from distractions and a suitable workstation set up, including equipment to perform work remotely. Visit How to Create an Ergonomic Setup for information.

3.  Review the Flexible Work Location Safety Guidelines

4.  Make appropriate dependent care arrangements and manage personal responsibilities in a way that allows successful completion of work responsibilities. 

c. Departments

Departments should complete these steps when establishing a Flexible Work Arrangement:

1.  Provide the necessary equipment for employees with a Flexible Work Arrangement to perform their work (see Equipment and Supplies). Departments are responsible for necessary equipment costs, and any purchases must be reasonable and consistent with the University’s Purchasing Policy

2.  Assign an administrator to maintain a department  (google doc) flexible work equipment inventory (external link) .

3.  Ensure that University Property is returned when employees no longer use a Flexible Work Arrangement or leave the University.  

3.  Working Hours and Availability

An employee’s hours of work and schedule require leader approval and employees should perform their work during these agreed upon working hours. Employees should continue to work the standard hours of work and take their lunch and breaks. 

Employees should report any problem that prevents them from performing their work to their Leader. Employees are responsible for notifying their leader in the event of equipment or connectivity malfunction and should follow standard practices if they are sick or otherwise unable to work during scheduled hours.

Where an unforeseen situation arises that impacts an employee, every reasonable effort should be made between the leader and employee to ensure flexibility and adjust work expectations accordingly.

4.      Requesting Vacation, Overtime or Absences

Standard departmental processes apply for requesting or reporting vacation or other absences, and seeking approval for overtime. Flexible Work Arrangements, in and of themselves, should not trigger overtime.

5.      Performance

Employees should continue to meet performance expectations while participating in a Flexible Work Arrangement and the arrangement should not result in any negative impact on productivity or change to an employee’s or their colleagues’ workload. Leaders and employees may visit the Performance & Development website (external link)  for information to support good practices.

6.      Equipment and Supplies

The University will provide employees with the necessary equipment based upon their primary way of working (i.e. three or more days per week). 

Employees who work remotely three or more days per week will receive the necessary equipment for a Flexible Work Location setup. Employees who work remotely less than three days per week will receive the necessary equipment for their on-campus workspace. 

Employees will only receive equipment for one workspace (i.e. either Flexible Work Location or on University Premises). Extra equipment, including ergonomic, will not be provided to employees moving back and forth between their Flexible Work Location and the University Premises.

When an employee who works remotely comes to the University Premises to work, they must bring the necessary equipment (e.g. laptop) or confirm that equipment is available on University Premises (e.g. hoteling workstation) to perform their job. Departments are responsible to ensure appropriate work stations are available for employees working on University Premises.

a.    Existing Employees

It is expected that existing employees will have already sourced most, if not all, of the necessary University-supplied equipment and they will not receive new or additional equipment, unless required. 

Departments should prioritize the retrieval of existing equipment from the University Premises to minimize excess equipment and spending.

b.    New Employee Flexible Work Starter Kit

New employees whose Primary Work Location is a Flexible Work Location (i.e. three or more days per week) will receive a Flexible Work Starter Kit (as needed) from their department. 

The Flexible Work Starter Kit contents are provided to employees on an as needed basis and may include: 

  • One (1) chair
  • One (1) laptop
  • One (1) monitor (and monitor stand) 
  • One (1) keyboard 
  • One (1) mouse 
  • One (1) docking station 
  • One (1) headset 
  • One (1) webcam
  • Software required to do the work
  • Reasonable office supplies and stationary

c.    Additional equipment

Departments may, at their discretion, provide additional equipment. All equipment purchased by the University remains University Property.

7.      Working on University Premises

There may be times where a leader requires an employee to work on University Premises outside their regular schedule (e.g., for an important meeting, events, during peak service periods). Employees may be provided the opportunity to work an alternate remote day if operationally feasible.

Leaders will provide as much notice as possible, at least two calendar days in advance when possible, if an employee is required to attend University Premises. This may not be possible in all circumstances (e.g. in the case of an emergency, sick coworker).

Employees who primarily work with flexibility (i.e. three or more remote days per week) will not be provided with a designated University Premises workspace and will be required to request a ‘Shared Work Space' (i.e.; workstation, meeting room, office) when working on University Premises. Departments should coordinate the use of on-campus workspace based on the needs of employees.

8.      Safe Flexible Work Location Setup 

Employees who work with flexibility are responsible for setting up an appropriate Flexible Work Location (e.g. safe, private, ergonomic). Review the following resources to set up an appropriate Flexible Work Location and prevent strain and injury:

Employees seeking a Medical Accommodation for an ergonomic office setup must do so in accordance with the Accommodation for Persons with a Disability Policy and should contact Workplace Wellbeing Services.

Workplace Violence and Harassment

The Occupational Health and Safety Act defines the “workplace” as any land, premises, location or thing at, upon, in or near which a worker works. This includes anywhere on University Premises or at work-related activities occurring off University Premises. This means Employees working from a Flexible Work Location are required to report incidents of violence that occur in the workplace, as well as behaviours that may indicate a risk of workplace violence. If an employee reports an act of violence or threat of violence, leaders must notify HR Partners and Community Safety and Security.

The University has several policies that address various forms of workplace violence and harassment. All employees are encouraged to review the Workplace Violence Prevention and Response Program, as well as the related policies and procedures.

9.      Incident or Injury

In the event of a work-related injury while working at the Flexible Work Location, employees should follow the same reporting requirements as outlined on the Environmental Health and Safety website. Employees should first treat or seek treatment for the injury, and then report the injury to their leader.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)

Employees who are injured while working from a Flexible Work Location are eligible to apply for WSIB benefits. The decision about whether an injury or illness is work-related can only be made by the WSIB.

Disability Insurance 

Employees working from a Flexible Work Location continue to have access to certain benefit plans, such as disability insurance. In determining approval of the claim for disability insurance, work location is not a factor. When an employee is ill or injured and unable to work, they must follow the standard practices for absences due to illness and injury.

10.      Information Security, Privacy and Confidentiality

Employees working from a Flexible Work Location should follow these guidelines:

  • ensure that other members of your household do not have access to confidential or personal information; 
  • do not leave information unattended in your vehicle or at home;
  • take extra precautions to safeguard hard copy information; and
  • use Google to manage information. If documents need to be shared with external parties, they can be shared via a link. These should be limited, specific and timed. 

Employees should review the university’s Records Management Policy and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (external link) 

Employees who experience or suspect unauthorized access to University data, loss of University data or disclosure of University resources, please immediately report the incident to the CCS Help Desk at or 416-979-5000, ext. 556806.

11.      Ending a Flexible Work Arrangement

Flexible Work Arrangements can be changed or discontinued depending on a department’s operational and service delivery needs. The University reserves the right to change or end any Flexible Work Arrangement at any time for any reason. Where possible, the University will provide a minimum of 30 days’ written notice to the employee should Flexible Work Arrangements change or be discontinued but may provide shorter notice due to health and safety concerns or other exceptional circumstances.  

12.      Return of University Property

When a Flexible Work Arrangement ends for any reason, employees must return all University Property that was provided to them. This includes the Flexible Work Starter Kit, additional equipment, University-owned technology, equipment and supplies, as well as information, documents, files, etc. The equipment should be returned in the same condition in which it was originally received, minus normal wear and tear. Employees are responsible for missing or damaged equipment. Returning the additional equipment is up to the sole discretion of the department.

13.      Working Outside of the Province/Country

The University expects Employees to live and work in Ontario and Employees must reside in a location that allows them to attend at the University Premises when needed, at their Leader’s discretion. 

There may be legal employment-related implications when an Employee lives outside the province.   As a result, the University will only permit Employees to live outside of Ontario while working for the University in extenuating or exceptional circumstances including:

  • The role requires specialized skills such that it would be difficult to fill the role after an Ontario search has been exhausted.
  • Third party funding requirements for a particular program (i.e. the Future Skills Centre) require that Employees must be present in another province for a limited term 
  • Research work requires a local presence (primarily research support staff)
  • There are visa or documentation delays that prevent entry into Canada

The University has no obligation to approve out-of-province/country work under any circumstances.

Considerations of Employee requests to live outside of Ontario while working for the University will be made and evaluated in accordance with the Out-of-Province Work Procedures.