The end of work?

After three years the feds have told their army of civil servants to return to the office. Two days a week. Starting in March. And this has ignited a war.

The union representing 35,000 CRA employees has responded with a strike threat. During tax season, of course, to disrupt as many Canadians as possible. Remote work’s a major issue. Apparently people want to deal with your tax return, conduct audits and handle taxpayer issues while they do laundry, walk da pooch and (especially) administer to children. The public broadcaster did a feature Friday on how the lack of affordable child care spaces in Ottawa (the epicentre of CRA operations) is a big factor, suggesting the back-to-the-cubicle edict is gross and unfair.

Do federal workers, especially in the CRA, have a duty to work in the supervised, regulated, secure, professional environment they were hired for? Do millions of citizens surrendering big hunks of their income have the right to this standard of attentive service and privacy? Or is this all about employees wanting incomes, benefits and pensions, plus work-life balance that lets them go grocery shopping or make dental appointments at 2 pm on Tuesday?

Without a doubt, Covid screwed up a lot, changed habits, gutted institutional authority, altered work and, mostly, did a number of people’s heads. The question Ottawa must grapple with is whether or not the impact of three years of WFH can be reversed. Should it even try? Does the government have a higher duty to its employees or its citizens?

Regular blog addicts will recall the paleo thinking that permeates this pathetic site. Work is work. Private time is not work. Employers have a right to full attention for the tasks employees are paid to perform. Work-life balance has way of turning into an 20-80 split. Corporate culture, memory and collaboration are real things. Zoom is fine for snowstorms and recovering from surgery. Otherwise get your butt in the chair. (Now imagine working for me…)

But the CRA-fed skirmish is underlining the fact that WFH’s destructive impact on personal career ambition may be hard to reverse. Impossible, even. The results of this are far-reaching and far from positive.

First (as we all know) the impact on residential real estate has been devastating. Covid cocooning fueled a housing lust unparalleled in modern history (and crazy values for stay-at-home stocks). Pandemic-induced urban flight destroyed the economics of non-metropolitan areas as Bunnypatch prices were bid to the moon. Household debt levels shot off the charts with $2 trillion in mortgages. HELOC borrowing exploded as people dipped into swelling equity to buy even more real estate. Affordability tanked. RBC says things are worse now than when mortgages cost 19%. And that brought us to now. A housing crisis, everyone says.

Second, as residential real estate has been forever corrupted, WFH has crippled commercial property. The impact on employers, investors and the economy is only starting to be felt. If a recession rolls in, the consequences will grow.

Pre-pandemic, when people actually went to work, the commercial vacancy rate in Toronto (for example) was 2%. Buildings were gong up. Expansion happening. Look at CIBC’s new head office complex, for example. Or Shopify’s huge move into oodles of leased space in that glitzy Well development.

My, my. Now ponder this sorry chart of current commercial vacancy rates from CBRE…

Covid. Tech industry crumbles. Crypto collapse. Workers who don’t want to go to work. Rising interest rates and occupancy costs. And now the spectre of an economic slowdown. The poor guys selling leased space call it a perfect storm. So whole floors in some of the downtown bank towers still sit empty. Last week Shopify dumped that 350,000 feet of space on the sublet market. It’s uncertain Google will ever move into the entire 20-storey building it committed to on King Street.

“We haven’t seen the worst of it,” says a CBRE spokesguy. “By the end of the year, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it hits 20 per cent. And it could go even higher than that over the next couple of years.”

If WFH endures, if organizations like the mighty CRA lose their worker battle, downtowns of major cities could be transformed – into dormitories of condo dwellers. Eateries, grocery stores, nail salons and transit stops will be populated by people with shopping bags in arm, kiddies in tow or little white condo dogs on leads. All of them ‘working’, fingering their mobiles, perchance processing your tax return.

Good luck.

About the picture: “I just wanted to thank you and your coworker Sinan for taking the time to  discuss incorporated VS employee in your blog a few weeks back!” writes Ian. “I appreciate the post, for the time being I will be staying employee. I have attached a photo of Apollo. Although he looks small in the photo he is 80 pounds :)”

254 comments ↓

#1 Dave on 01.13.23 at 1:42 pm

If they’re completing the work assigned to them, who cares where they are when they do it? Is part of their salary literally compensation for being physically present in a certain space at a certain time?

Oversight. Office culture and values. Collaboration. Relationship-building. And if you want a road to advancement, be visible. Deny all you wish, but that’s still the way humans relate to each other. – Garth

#2 Franco on 01.13.23 at 1:47 pm

It’s going to be a tough fight, unions are not known for giving things up. The Government failed when they did not speicifically say in writing to return to work after the virus has been tamed.

#3 Jim on 01.13.23 at 1:51 pm

What’s wrong with reconfiguring the downtowns of major cities? They would be nicer places to socialize if we didn’t have soulless towers housing bankers and accountants. Maybe we could have more parks and entertainment.

And property taxes. – Garth

#4 Dave on 01.13.23 at 1:52 pm

“Oversight. Office culture and values. Collaboration. Relationship-building. And if you want a road to advancement, be visible. Deny all you wish, but that’s still the way humans relate to each other. – Garth”

“A way to advancement”…what a shallow goal.

#5 Millennial Realist on 01.13.23 at 1:53 pm

Attention all Paleo Boomers!

IT’S FRIDAY THE 13TH!

Jump on your Harley and get down to Port Dover, right away! Forget the weather – the tv news shows riders already there!

PARTY ON!

(PS – This is not a request for generational decimation, just some friendly advice for a good time. Have fun!)

#6 Tom on 01.13.23 at 1:54 pm

Thanks to government policies , our real estate has become unaffordable, driving people further out and increasing commute times and cities have become hugely congested, which has also increased commute times, so why would anyone want to go into the office if they have a long commute? I’d rather get less pay than sit on the 401 for an hour every day.

#7 ogdoad on 01.13.23 at 1:54 pm

First off, if I imagine working for you, I imagine being constantly in view of a you while you sit in your big office perpetually replying/reading peoples (mostly stupid) comments from this blog (including my own….i’m inclusive)…with a large, unlit, cigar in your mouth. To your right is a big delete button, which, when pressed, makes a flushing sound that resonates throughout the office. I see Doug and Ryan joining you for a good chuckle (blinds down) when you come across some REAL winner (probably your idea of corporate bonding – which may be surprisingly effective). I also imagine your desk and chair on a 1′ high platform so visitors look that much smaller…

….and maybe that you’re a hard ass?…Nailed it???!!!

Og

#8 Watching the watcher on 01.13.23 at 1:55 pm

Oversight. Office culture and values. Collaboration. Relationship-building. And if you want a road to advancement, be visible. Deny all you wish, but that’s still the way humans relate to each other. – Garth

Spoken by a person who never had children.

To you, office life is your life. Home is boring, empty, meaningless.

To the rest of us, office life is a way to pay for the life we enjoy, with our families and our children.

Cheap, tawdry comment. Life is about personal choices, and I would never stoop to criticize yours. – Garth

#9 yvr_lurker on 01.13.23 at 1:57 pm

They are asking for a return for 2 days a week (40% of the work-week). This hybrid relationship seems perfectly fine and a good balance. If workers can still do their jobs while working from home 60% of the time, I don’t see any problem with this.

#10 An angry advisor on 01.13.23 at 1:59 pm

Wouldn’t a good, nice, hard recession solve this problem?

#11 Diharv on 01.13.23 at 2:02 pm

If they want to get rid of WFH, now is the time to do it.

#12 Former manager on 01.13.23 at 2:03 pm

WFH has got to go. I was part of the management team tasked with transitioning a large team to WFH during the early days of COVID. Fast forward to now and it’s a mess. Impossible to manage remote workers, employees coming and going from their computers as they wish, can’t reach them during office hours and they don’t care. They are milking the system, time theft etc and they know it. Garth, I 100% agree with you. I’ve now left that management job and am HAPPILY going to work on-site. WFH is overrated, isolating, boring. The Government needs to rip off the band-aid and mandate the change. The whiners can whine all they want. They would have a different opinion if they worked a day in my shoes.

#13 Catalyst on 01.13.23 at 2:05 pm

While I think companies and workers should embrace technology to increase productivity, I think it is absolutely unacceptable that there are no physical locations a citizen can go to talk with the CRA. You can call and sit on hold for hours and then eventually talk to someone. That person can give you the right or wrong information with no accountability. Is it any wonder most telephone scams are people pretending to be CRA workers?

#14 Divv on 01.13.23 at 2:05 pm

The 32.6% figure for Calgary is actually a lowball figure, considering that space which is leased [but remains vacant] is not factored into such calculations. Hearsay, but having received firsthand accounts of Calgary’s true downtown vacancy rate being closer to the 50% mark, based on the experience of certain folks looking to rent and others looking to sublet corporate space, this is troublesome. Add in the fact that Canadian Heavy Crude (WCS) is currently at $50 and you have some ‘headwinds’ in the 403.

#15 yvr_lurker on 01.13.23 at 2:07 pm

Moreover, this possible strike action by the CRA is mainly about being without a contract for over a year and the inadequate initial wage offer that does not keep pace with inflation. The remote work issue is just an extra complicating factor. It would have been more balanced to not suggest that the intended strike action is about remote work, and not about wages and the lack of a contract for over a year. I believe that there will be many more such strikes over the next year.

#16 Old Boot on 01.13.23 at 2:08 pm

Tick tock, indeed. Want to work from home?

Just download this software update that tracks your keystrokes and browser activity.

All emergency dispatchers are subject to this level of monitoring at the workplace. Why should the laptop elite be exempt?

Start firing the lazy under-performers and bill them for income received, but not earned.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/tribunal-bc-time-theft-1.6712467

#17 Marco on 01.13.23 at 2:08 pm

the capitalist class in America has been actively working to depress wages and destroy job security and pensions for 40 years now, and largely succeeded in most industries. As a result, they’ve seen astonishingly large corporate profits and record income growth over that time period (250% for the one percenters vs 50% for the middle class).

But if you rig the game so workers can’t win, eventually they’ll stop playing. For the majority out there in 2022 the numbers simply don’t add up.

Our yawning wealth gap is societal poison – will the rich wake up in time to see it? or care?

#18 Ronthecivil on 01.13.23 at 2:08 pm

Two days a week? My god, the horror!

My company has a suggestion that we do two to three days a week. We mostly go Tuesday through Thursday. But the new freedom to sleep in a bit on Monday and make a nice breakfast before heading in right after rush hour, heading home early on Wednesday so I can do a date night, and all that flexibility, actually makes me want to stay late on other days, and more importantly, I have so much energy, I get more things done. More than in the old days of full days in the office. More than work from home. Like twice as much!

Garth expecting a butt in the seat 24/7 is a bit much. The whining from the CRA is pathetic.

We are told to “act like adults” and focus on “getting things done”.

I think that’s perfect.

#19 TDot on 01.13.23 at 2:10 pm

Does this mean I won’t be paying back the CERB?

#20 Squire on 01.13.23 at 2:11 pm

How can the Unions prevent CRA from mandating workers return to the office when they were not hired initially to work from home. These people are working at home in full view of people’s SIN numbers and other information easily copied and used for nefarious reasons. No wonder scams have grown exponentially in the past three years.

#21 Jason on 01.13.23 at 2:11 pm

I tried WFH. Couldn’t do it. Too distracting. I like the routine of going to the office every day. Agree that separating work from personal time is better for both.

#22 TDot on 01.13.23 at 2:12 pm

Does this mean I can claim whatever I want and get away with it?

#23 Vancouver Keith on 01.13.23 at 2:13 pm

My wife worked for a successful software company, during and after the pandemic. During the pandemic, the in office staff level fell from 40+ to five. Since the general reopening, it’s been around the same level. This software company is doing well, expanding and constantly looking for programmers and developers. Staff in this industry are in the driver’s seat, and are behaving accordingly.

I do some investing with my own capital, and every time I go to an in person conference everyone is very happy to be talking face to face instead of in a Zoom meeting – there is no real substitute. You need to be able to talk in person to management and get the body language with the words. I think two days a week is a completely reasonable standard, and I’m a little surprised that the union is balking. We will see if the current generation of workers has the power to make this call with a low unemployment rate and growing retirement rates.

There’s an obvious upside to work from home in that traffic is a brutal nightmare at least where I live, and anything that moves cars out of the rush hour is a big positive. That said, our host is absolutely correct about the role of face to face in the workplace, and if the union is successful in this battle we will all be the poorer for it.

#24 Cat on 01.13.23 at 2:18 pm

We haven’t even touched on the mental health repercussions regarding people being tucked away for 2-3 years or more without regular human contact. Young people are struggling with anxiety/depression, our lives need to return to some sort of normalcy. 25% increase in anxiety, depression and PTSD recorded September 2021 in +18 year olds. We are now in the middle of January 2023, what are the real stats?

#25 dho on 01.13.23 at 2:18 pm

Anyone who has dealt with a federal worker of any kind in the last few years know that they need to get back to the office.

Private industry like Shopify can probably manage to have their remote workers be productive, but the government and unions cannot. Back to the office or get out.

#26 cv5 on 01.13.23 at 2:20 pm

Might I suggest that these 35,000 CRA workers fully commit to a tax revolt to make their grievances heard.

Another thought: when will Trudy trigger the Emergencies Act again? I mean he does have a hair trigger now doesn’t he?

#27 TurnerNation on 01.13.23 at 2:21 pm

Re. Yesterday’s blog. I’m hearing the Feds are working on a new GTSA (unfortunately named).
Known as a Gender Transition Savings Account.
Room will accumulate at birth to the tune of $2000 per annum. Tax free gains natch. At age 12 the plan may be withdrawn for all costs associated with the Gender Transition. Such as surgery, medication, new clothes, counselling and advisory sessions for child + immediate family.

(I satire?)

#28 Hans on 01.13.23 at 2:22 pm

Listened to a radio piece with the mayor of Ottawa pleading his case for a return to work in person… I find it interesting that they can say that people should be back to in person for the sake of the downtown economy. That line of thinking has some potential interesting outcomes. Threatening job losses in order to support businesses and services in downtowns… take the next logical steps. Why stop there? Why not just mandate people live downtown? Mandate that people must order takeout lunch while at work. It for the sake of businesses, so it must be right. I can’t argue against the CRA asking that employees be back for work related reasons… but to say it’s better for the Ottawa economy is a step too far imo.

#29 Jay on 01.13.23 at 2:22 pm

#1 “Is part of their salary literally compensation for being physically present in a certain space at a certain time?”

Yes. always has been.

#30 A Borrower Bee on 01.13.23 at 2:23 pm

From personal (and purely anecdotal) observation, the strongest objections to WFH usually come from those who can live up the “perfect worker” ideal by either having no children or having a spouse handle the children and housework. For dual-income folks with kids, “not work” is really not a thing that exists. There is work work followed immediately by house work, and weekends are for cleaning, cooking and laundry.

With dual-income households now being the norm, it really should come as no surprise that unions will defend WFH if they have the bargaining power to do so. The rise of WFH is arguably the single biggest improvement to happiness most Gen X and below folks have experienced to date – no more expensive after school care, no more crazy early commutes or getting sleepy kids out of the house at 7:30, and no more coming home at 7:00 PM to feed tired kids at 8:00 PM. And no more phoning grandma at 6:45 AM because little Billy has a fever but is not able to stay home alone.

The criticisms levied on this blog are arguably valid from a management perspective, but let’s not kid ourselves: Most employees would happily forego a $20,000 promotion if it means they actually get to see their kids and avoid a painful commute.

#31 Joe on 01.13.23 at 2:24 pm

“While we were looking forward to welcoming Shopify at the Well, their recent decision will not have a financial impact on the project, as Shopify is bound by the terms of their lease agreement until March 2037,” RioCan told CBC News in a statement.

Secondly, dealing with CRA is quite comical
1) disconnected, happens all the time, then you have to wait another hr to get personnel (no doubt their favorite show just came on tv)
2) make sure you give your cell off the bat so they can call you if disconnected
3) being put on hold and they dont come back( probably took the dog out for a walk)
4) its hit and miss, some know their stuff, some know very little, they spend more times off the phone finding answers
5) language barrier or should i say accent barrier, it can be trying at times, but you have to show respect

I can offer first hand info in dealing with some companies such as insurance companies and cable companies. I have had to call these companies for new contracts. What ends up happening is these people are at home and are relaxed and maybe not any call count objectives for each day, but i have been on the phone with these customer servicer reps or managers and have been on the phone an hour with them or more, talking about their family and relationships and many other topics. I do not know how they reach their daily call counts when on the phone that long and im trying to cut things short without being rude, so not sure WFH is every efficient, if they were at the office there is no way they would be on the phone that long.

#32 Sherri on 01.13.23 at 2:24 pm

This is highly confidential work and needs to be done somewhere private, in a secure area with proper oversight, not someone’s living room or from Starbucks on the corner. WFH doesn’t “work” for every job. We’re turning into a bunch of entitled, selfish crybabies!

#33 ElGatoNeroYVR on 01.13.23 at 2:26 pm

Most seem to miss the issue of Security and Privacy (burried there in the post) . How many CRA or bank employees for that matter have a secure ,private office ?
I undersntad the right of employees, but what about the rigths of the customers ,or in this case us ,the people who actually pay for their wages ?

#34 Drill Baby Drill on 01.13.23 at 2:26 pm

How do you train and supervise junior staff working from home?

#35 OriginalAlex on 01.13.23 at 2:27 pm

Yeah, fighting the return to work was expected… But the unions dont really have a basis for it. 2-3 days a week in the office is reasonable.

#36 Quintilian on 01.13.23 at 2:28 pm

Tech industry crumbles. Crypto collapse. Workers who don’t want to go to work. Rising interest rates and occupancy costs. And now the spectre of an economic slowdown. The poor guys selling leased space call it a perfect storm.

It was easily foreseen.

The next development will be WFH to :
Farm Out Paper Pushers To Other Countries.

I have several colleagues whose company has their payables and receivables done in the Philippines and their accounting in Poland.
Bunny Patch is in a world of hurt.

TICK TOCK, TICK TOCK

#37 CanadianTaxpayer on 01.13.23 at 2:30 pm

I take solace in the high probability that the majority of “public servants” milking Covid for all it’s worth, lead very uninspired lives.

How you do anything is how to do everything!

If you want to slack off and be mediocre, works for me. Get out of my way, have a mediocre life.

I’ll be reporting for duty, at work, at 5:00 am tomorrow.

Thanks for the post Garth!

#38 TBA on 01.13.23 at 2:31 pm

This is a unique opportunity to transform our “Federal” service; using WFH people from the Maritimes, the North or heaven forbid, “The West” could work for the Federal government without having to move to Ottawa. Shouldn’t we want a federal bureaucracy that actually looks like our federation?

#39 cuke and tomato picker on 01.13.23 at 2:32 pm

This is your best yet it is not just federal employees it is also provincial employees. Living in Central Saanich it is really apparent these government workers have more time to cut grass, weed eat, walk the dog
,put up Christmas lights etc then retired people. What
a comedy act and let’s not talk about their flex days. One example a person who works in transportation says 30 per cent are giving it all they got 70 per cent are pacing themselves.

#40 Watson on 01.13.23 at 2:33 pm

As one of those moisty mellenials you wane about (do I live in Garth Turner’s head rent free?), many young proffessionals have known WFH, Zoom and PJ’s longer than the coffee-breath older generation. I have seen it in our office that is split generationally. The X/mills/Z’s collaborate more often, they share files and socialize ideas. Our boomer employees are stuck in the past where they were expected to present perfect ideas, and are often not as collaborative as they want to guard and gate-keep information for as long as possible.

I go in once a week, to keep up relationships, check in with my direct reports and make sure everyones happy and productive. I don’t need to make sure they’ve iron their socks.

#41 mike from mtl on 01.13.23 at 2:34 pm

And you’re in the Banking/Finance industry which is probably the most gungho about WFW. The Feds do set an example here and yes they’ve got a battle on their hands with probably the most coddled & entitled workforce there is.

Either employers pick a going forward ideology, grow a spine and make the tough changes or this ‘new normal’ becomes even more entrenched.

WFH has also an employer benefit where they’re no longer really tied to a physical locale, for employees that should be super concerning – losing their local hiring potential. My employer has already been filling new hires totally remote from NS to NC. You can bet they’re not compensating the high COL of our locale.

Public transit agencies are up a creek and the spiral has just started, sublet market like most RE moves at glacial speed so could be a decade or more before all this works out.

Also those quoted figures which the most up to date for Montreal is 18%.

Some perspective quoting the article below: “Today we find more than 9 million square feet of vacant offices or offered sublet. That’s equivalent to six times Place Ville Marie!”

https://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/chroniques/2023-01-13/relance-du-centre-ville/le-defi-de-282-etages-de-montreal.php

#42 Armpit on 01.13.23 at 2:37 pm

WFH??? Has anyone noticed how little service you get when you phone an agency and they keep transferring you to another….and then another… and then when you think you got the right person, the call gets “dropped”??? And you never had a chance to give them your phone number to call back??? I am presently involved with an Insurance Company and I still can’t get the problem corrected…even though it is to their benefit.

Further, if you try to complain, you have to go through the whole cycle again and continue to wait. Who wants to go through that??

You get mediocre at best. Sometimes an inebriated or toasted staff members on the phone.

And who is to say…while they are legitimately open your file, they are not taking snapshots for illegitimate use in the future..like a year later?

WFH has brought down excellence to mediocre as the norm without any retribution. This is a slippery slope that will hurt our society. Just showing up to get a paycheque was frowned. Now, jgetting hire and staying at home for a paycheque is suppose to be the norm.

What’s going to be next???

#43 Linda on 01.13.23 at 2:38 pm

Well, the ‘Black Death’ transformed society so perhaps Covid will have much the same long term transformative effect. Calgary has already converted one downtown building formerly used as office space into ‘affordable housing’; if memory serves there is a second project in the works.

Calgary’s municipal Council & Mayor have been focused on increasing DT population density for quite some time. Policies have been enacted to increase housing density in ‘inner city’ neighborhoods adjacent to the official DT core. Former single family homes are being purchased by developers, razed & multifamily housing erected which is altering the look of those inner city hoods.

So is WFH the end of civilization as we know it? The cons cited – lower productivity, loss of collaboration etc. – seem to be outweighed by the benefits. Happier employees, better work/life balance, far less congestion or pollution due to reduced commuter traffic. And if urban sprawl needs to be addressed, the conversion of all those DT core office buildings into housing may help keep the budget books balanced.

As for property taxes, those won’t go away no matter what the outcome is. Just got our property assessment – funny how the ‘value’ of our property jumped $57.5K from last year. Some neighbors saw their assessment jump over $100K. For all the rhetoric about the mill rate being ‘neutral’, fact remains that if the assessed value increases so too do the taxes owed.

#44 Revenge of the tax farm slaves on 01.13.23 at 2:39 pm

Corporations have been wfh’ing vis offshoring for decades. If it’s good enough for banks/tech it’s good enough for the CRA.

https://dilbert.com/strip/1995-09-15

#45 American House Buyer on 01.13.23 at 2:40 pm

Last one out of Canada, turn off the lights.

#46 Doug t on 01.13.23 at 2:46 pm

EXISTENTIALISM – canadians have spent the covid period staring at their bellybutton and reconsidering their lives – aaaaaaand CHINA FOR THE WIN – insert sad face here

#47 Borden Renter on 01.13.23 at 2:52 pm

I can’t say I blame them, most modern work is awful, meaningless, made up, busy-work, aka: ‘e-mail jobs’. You could fire half a work force of these people and still be productive. Elon showed us it was possible.

Think of it this way: the worst thing in history that one group of humans could do was to force another group of humans to work for free. Slavery. The modern equivalent is to make them work, but thanks to globalism, they never really make enough to ever pay anything off while trying to live the lives of their parents. Enough people are starting to see just how much of a raw deal this is, so they are fighting back by working to rule, or from home. Expect to see more of this.

The sooner this comes to a head, the better.

#48 ImGonnaBeSick on 01.13.23 at 2:56 pm

Just pull a Reagan and fire them all… Dissolve the union.

Why do public servants have a union anyways… Poor work conditions? no. Poor pension plan? no. Not enough perks? no. Wimps that can’t negotiate a wage for themselves? yes.

We have too many CRA agents anyways, make that too many civil servants. Period.

Perfect opportunity to simplify the tax code, and fire a bunch of accountants (one of my favourite pastimes anyways).

#49 Ryan on 01.13.23 at 2:57 pm

WFH will continue to contribute to the inflation battle as production is taking more time or more people to do the same thing before WFH became a thing.

#50 Chris on 01.13.23 at 3:01 pm

I feel the posting paints with broad strokes – truth is WFH has been a very productive way to work and a fantastic perk for our employees. And for the comment about “supervised, regulated, secure, professional environment” I have to call BS. Truth is the world didn’t collapse in the past two years and my taxes were processed on time without any issues… I’d rather give CRA WFH than have to pay more to compete with private sector to offset costs and benefits provded by WFH. Some sectors aren’t well suited for it – agreed… when horses were replaced by the automobile I’m sure there was a lobby to make sure horses not be put out of work. This is just the result of finding a better way of doing things. While I personally don’t have a problem with 2-3 days in the office I also have no issue with clerical work being done by my employees in the comfort of their homes.

#51 Damifino on 01.13.23 at 3:03 pm

Garth must be happy he no longer heads the CRA.

Gonna get real ugly, real soon.

#52 chalkie on 01.13.23 at 3:03 pm

The WFH crowd, it is time to grow up and accept reality, what was a short-term necessity soon became what was felt to be a right, union and non-union alike. Life do not work like that, if you want to stay home, try babysitting the neighbor kids.
If you need a cast put on your broken arm, do you expect it to remain there the rest of your working career, of course not, it was a short-term necessity and you are feeling better now.

Canada has been described as one of the most over regulated housing markets in the world according to experts, of course much of this has been blamed on the heavy-handed regulations adopted by our Mr. Just-in-Time government, the reality is, it has been going on for many decades. The more populated we become, the bigger the debt we will owe for this country, why would we be any different than the United States?

The one thing that will come back to haunt Canada for years to come is the banning of foreign buyers investing into properties in this country. Some of us might not like it, but it is a home ownership disaster in the making.

On average Canada has tipped the 20% average downward pricing on housing, with the likes of Oxford Economics telling us that Canada will plunge 30% in the housing market by the summer of 2023 as the interest rates erase the boom times, released by a tweet on better dwelling. I do believe we have a way to go South yet before we see the bottom, I am not so sure I could speculate that we dip down to 30% on average, reduced home prices in Canada, but I could easily see an average reaching downward to 25% before the balloon party comes to an end.

Years from now, the people of this great Country called Canada will look back and say, you all know where more regulations and taxes led us to before in 2022, have we not learned from that, the answer my friend is blowing in the wind, it will be a repeat all over again, as humans we are slow learners, “yes, yes and yes it will happen again.” Our 10-year old’s boys and girls right now are biting at the bit and getting ready for you and grandma to give them a hand out to start the next housing bubble, and you will hand it out,” “oh-yes you will, you will never learn”. How can I say No to little Jimmy and Sally if they ask me for money.

Countries like Britain are looking at us right now in Canada and trying to learn from our mistakes, “pay attention Mr. Just-in-Time” although you feel no pain you should have pity on those as your government watched us get hurt and more hurt as 2022 moved onward into the valley of debt.

It was rumored yesterday that one of our neighbors who moved into our neighborhood just over a year ago with one of t nicest homes on our 5-year-old street, must have had bad luck with his fancy cars this winter. The neighbor noticed that a small car carrier, tow truck and single car showed up with a five-man crew and yanked all four vehicles from his garage & driveway and then pulled them away. Must have been all brake problems according to a neighbor, because all four vehicles were removed with no wheels turning (dragged out). His wife tore up the paperwork handed to her from the fellow in the little car and their generation Z daughter was outside cussing out the removal crew, I guess they did not understand, these fellows were there to help fix up the family cars. It could not have been a money problem, re: the contractors and maintenance people were a steady flow since they moved in, pool, hot tub, yard, inside work and flower beds, on what I consider to be a new home. Most likely the tow aways were a case of wrong address or frozen brakes, not sure which one. The husband was home but never came out of the house all while the removal activity was in gear, according to our gossip neighbor, but his wife talked up a storm, enough for the both her and the husband.

Before you rush out and add more burdens to your credit card, think about what you are doing, it’s only yourself getting hurt more and more, we live in a world of not understanding needs versus wants and the Jones are leading us to a deep hole with no water.
Why do you need 5 washrooms and 5 bedrooms for a family of 3, give your head a shake, perception gets you nowhere, only to be talked about and laughed at.

Here is the thing: 79 percent of people are living paycheck to paycheck. This means that 8 out of 10 people probably cannot afford the home they’re living in and the car they’re driving. They might not even have the cash to cover the next emergency that pops up. Kind of crazy, right?
We all know them; they are the family that just lives a few houses down from you.
Mr. Jones drives the Land Rover, and Mrs. Jones drives the Mercedes. Their house is picture perfect, their yard is the best in our neighborhood, and their kids are so polite, they make the von Trapp kids look like heathens.
The Joneses are the envy of social media. Yes, they are the ones who throw the best parties, drive the nicest cars, have big screen TVs in every room, sport the latest smartphones, and go on the most Instagram-worthy vacations. But the question is . . . how can they afford it? And even more important—is life just about keeping up with the Joneses?

Names have no relevance; they are examples only and perceived as demonstrating socio-economic or cultural inferiority.

Quote of the day: Are we really in the perfect storm, be yourself, nobody cares

#53 Be Best on 01.13.23 at 3:10 pm

As usual, our Federal workers do not work for taxpayers but instead work for themselves. Despite the gold benefits and pensions they receive.. they want to work from home even at the cost of taxpayers services. It’s time to outsource the work!

#54 Love_The_Cottage on 01.13.23 at 3:10 pm

Fighting a world wide trend that has been moving forward based on technology for 25 years and was simply sped up by COVID.

Good luck.

#55 Tried to ... on 01.13.23 at 3:12 pm

arrange an appointment at one of the large banks online and all the dates were “taken.” No other option so strolled down to actually talk to someone. Looked in all the offices and they were empty. Could only see 2 cashiers so asked one of them if I could make an appointment. Sorry she said … no one here but us. Took my business elsewhere and returned to close my account. No one cared. Like most places now.

#56 The Gorn on 01.13.23 at 3:13 pm

Arthur C Clarke predicts the internet in 1964.

This man was was a true visionary. He predicted working from home way back in 1964. He envisioned a better future for the human race. He was never a psychopath ultra-capitalize finance minister.

I will never go back to the office.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wC3E2qTCIY8

Time to celebrate. With the CRA on strike, everyone will enjoy the benefits of a corporation and pay no taxes.

#57 Sail Away on 01.13.23 at 3:15 pm

Our staff sometimes works from home Saturdays and Sundays, but some come into the office then, too.

Monday through Friday? It’s flexible. Only come into the office if you want to be identified as a person who has a job.

#58 Catalyst on 01.13.23 at 3:18 pm

You mentioned being in person helps you climb the ladder. Many people simply don’t want to do this anymore, the jig is up. Work an extra 20hrs a week to get paid 20k more (10k after tax)? No thanks. The price gap between a condo and a detached house is 400k-800k depending where you live. If you worked the higher pressure job for 30 years you’ve got a whole 300k extra to show for, which doesn’t really move the needle. Plus it ends up being alot less. The more you make, the more tax benefits get cut and your just shifting costs from the government to yourself. Until work is properly rewarded again, its not going to change.

#59 Doing my Part on 01.13.23 at 3:19 pm

Lot’s of first timers whining about having to work from office, notice they are doing it on company time, get back to work.

#60 TheDood on 01.13.23 at 3:20 pm

If company policy says work from office 2 days a week and you don’t agree to it, simple, you’re free to go be successful somewhere else.

I don’t get why this is even a talking point – start firing some asses and watch the majority fall into line.

#61 Faron on 01.13.23 at 3:21 pm

Tech has always had the correct balance: you can work from home, work from work, work from Thailand. Just get your work done.

I self-selected myself back into the office, yet recognize that others work remotely very well.

Broad mandates are a bad idea. Should be a manager level decision if not worker.

#62 ElGatoNeroYVR on 01.13.23 at 3:24 pm

#40 Watson on 01.13.23 at 2:33 pm
The more experienced employees know that collaboration and assisting others must be seen and recognized by mangement. Promotions and wage increases are based on what you can do yourself – value added; as they are individual.
If older employees are not doing that, it is because they don’t trust that they will get the recognition they feel is needed . The younger staff is either in learning mode so they share as a group and learn as a group or hasn’t figured out the game yet. You have a company culture issue , quite obviously starting with ageism. Ask “the boomers” why are they not sharing and be opened to feedback ,and you need the grapevine for this ,not the standard OoO meetings.
I takes a lot of work and time to create a fully inclusive ,collaborative work environment.
Some people share because they are unsure and want validation , not because they truly have something worth sharing.
On to the KPI stuff , all numbers can be manipulated and summary reports never ever tell the whole story .There are people that are experts at doing only what they want while looking fantastic.
In a traditional work environment a good , experienced manager can identify them quite easy , in a WFH it takes a lot more effort to drill into the KPI suporting data and figure out who did what exactly , when and why.
Ultimately as a manager you get the team culture that you build and people will follow where and how you lead ,still way more difficult if WFH.

#63 Sam on 01.13.23 at 3:25 pm

I’ve seen so much career advancement in my one year working fully remote for an American company. People promoted to department heads, principal engineers, etc. Keep yelling at clouds, Garth!

#64 Victor Llearna on 01.13.23 at 3:25 pm

Wow only 13% Vacancy rate in Toronto. For sure most of the Bank worker GO train sheep have not returned, I guess the banks are still leasing the office space so it counts as occupied (for now).
Pretty Sure GO trains are still just doing Milk Runs on LSE and LSW.
On Remembrance Days ( pre covid ) the trains were virtually empty because its a bank/govt holiday, If those sheep never return to office the vacancy rate in Toronto will go wei wei up as leases expire.

#65 KrisTea on 01.13.23 at 3:30 pm

I have heard stories about coworkers (& observed friends) during ‘working hours’, socializing (my vaca), taking kids to extra curriculars, picking up from school, cooking/meal prep, laundry, grocery shopping (on line, but still) etc.
My biggest concern though with fed jobs=CRA, is they have access to ALL of my personal/financial information…in their home…on a computer. I don’t know about your organization, but mine does random ‘security test emails’ on staff via work email…and the amount that fail such tests are high. This may still be a concern if WFW, but just imagine the potential risks from home with less than stellar ‘significant other’ relationships. I grew up with a father that would have tried to corrupt my mom (by force) if she had such info at her fingertips. Desperate times, desperate measures. I grew up in a neighborhood of poverty and abuse. I unfortunately know how certain ‘self percieved’ victims ‘self-justify’ such behaviors especially when struggling. I’m concerned.

#66 Dolce Vita on 01.13.23 at 3:30 pm

CRA.WFH.

Eplains my 2021 tax experience.

Filed Jan.

May, get some bogus World Income assessment. Paid it so as not to upset them.

Oct they finally get around to reading my tax calcs. Get a late fee charge.

Dec they paid back the bogus assessment + a refund per my tax calcs.

Yesterday I got the late fee charge refunded.

———————

If that’s CRA.WFH I hope Gov wins and the Unions lose.

#67 just a dude on 01.13.23 at 3:32 pm

#12 Former Manager: I had the same experience and am 100% in agreement.

WFH is not a long term solution for all the good reasons Garth lists and your (and my) experience.

The sense of entitlement is astounding. I think the only way this is resolved is via a recession and via a reduction of the country’s credit worthiness as happened in the mid-90s.

#68 Faron on 01.13.23 at 3:32 pm

I wonder how many more days of data like today’s strong consumer/big import price misses it will take before equities respond? The US1MO up 25 basis points today.

I bet we see VIX 14.5 before this rally end with a Fed rate surprise.

#69 SunShowers on 01.13.23 at 3:35 pm

“If WFH endures, if organizations like the mighty CRA lose their worker battle, downtowns of major cities could be transformed – into dormitories of condo dwellers. Eateries, grocery stores, nail salons and transit stops will be populated by people with shopping bags in arm, kiddies in tow or little white condo dogs on leads.”

Wow…that actually sounds really good. This is an extremely strong argument in favor of WFH. Glad you can see both sides of the issue here Garth!

Also, #1 Dave is right. It’s also very possible to collaborate from home too. Coworkers can collaborate from home through many instant messaging platforms like Slack, which is very common in the tech world. Everything else like “oversight” and “culture/values” just boils down to feelings and a general fear of change. What sort of things would you want to oversee that wouldn’t be immediately obvious in the work the employee produces from home?

#42 Armpit
This actually began a few decades ago when the hip thing to do was outsource customer service calls to centers in India and the Philippines because it’s cheaper for corporations to pay a colossal overseas bureaucracy fractions of pennies on the dollar than it is to keep 3 or 4 people on staff in North America to handle customer issues.

#70 Penny Henny on 01.13.23 at 3:36 pm

#84 Sail Away on 01.13.23 at 1:23 pm
Re: Tesla price cuts

////////////////

Serious question here.
Let’s say the average price cut was $7000 and if they sell 1 million cars this year that would be 7 billion in lost profit right?
Based on the last quarter what were projected earnings for this year?

#71 Stoph on 01.13.23 at 3:37 pm

Employees should already have child care arrangements if they WFH, so this should be a non-issue for returning to the office.

#72 Sail Away on 01.13.23 at 3:38 pm

DELETED

#73 WFHomer on 01.13.23 at 3:44 pm

Wow, millennials get the first break of their adult lives and boomers can’t stand it.

#74 Maureen on 01.13.23 at 3:45 pm

This is one of your worst ever “Get off my lawn!” postings, Garth.

Are all the baby boomers really this out of touch with the workplace realities of the 21st century?

The patriarchal, paternalistic, elitist and misogynist working environment of the 1900s is coming crashing to an end, whether you like it or not. All this BS about the need for “corporate culture” is exactly that – BS.

How did you possibly turn this into an ageist, sexist issue? You need help, sweetie. – Garth

#75 American House Buyer on 01.13.23 at 3:45 pm

FOR THE GOVERNMENT WORKERS WHO DON’T WANT TO GO TO WORK – FIRE ALL OF THEM. AUTOMATE THEIR JOBS AND SAVE TAXPAYER DOLLARS

#76 Sam on 01.13.23 at 3:52 pm

DELETED (Conspiracy theory nut)

#77 Faron on 01.13.23 at 3:52 pm

#74 Sail Away on 01.13.23 at 10:23 am

was an expected event

#85 Mattl on 01.13.23 at 1:32 pm

the cut to the dividend was expected

Oh, so you expected the cut, but didn’t think it would affect the stonk price? Just listen to yourself. Everyone’s a genius in a bull market. When the market flips to bear, the hubris sticks around for a while.

#78 Globe and Mail on 01.13.23 at 3:55 pm

Just FYI

I saw it noted in G&M article below about Shopify putting 348,000 sqft for sublease along with 400,000 sqft for CIBC in Toronto that the vacancy rate in downtown Toronto is 16% as of end of 2022. Worse than GFC.

“As of the end of last year, the office vacancy rate in downtown last year was 16 per cent, according to data from commercial real estate firm Altus Group. That is four times higher than in prepandemic days and tops the level seen during the Great Recession in 2008-09.”

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-shopify-toronto-office-sublease/

#79 Smart Raccoon on 01.13.23 at 3:56 pm

Working on-site brings memories to me. You can’t get that being involuntary imprisonment in your own home like house arrest.
Why treat your home like a jobsite unless you’re self employed and have more freedom?
I remember having to wake up before 6am because the staff I was supposed to teleconference was in Europe ahead of a few hours.

#80 JSS on 01.13.23 at 4:01 pm

1) Pre-Covid, many office workers got out of bed, got to work, looked busy, and prayed that they wouldn’t get restructured out of a job. But something happened to office worker’s minds with Covid, where lots of them figured out that they could do something else in life other than a cubicle professional job. The movie Office Space is a must watch.

2) I personally know a husband and wife who quit their office jobs and started a lawn mowing and shoveling business. Not sure what they make, but they seem happy doing this work over the last two years. I believe they also hired a couple of workers too. Good for the economy.

3) Career advancement is not in the cards for 90% of people. Within two years of working at any organization, most all employees will have a good idea if they’re going to move up, or sit stagnant in the grey cubicle while receiving annual raises between 0-2%.

4) In regards to the Feds and this WFH issue – they should have waited to broach this subject until after tax season. They lost a lot of leverage here against the union.

5) Coming to work for only two days a week is a very good deal. Most organizations are allowing only two days a week WFH.

6) Stay away from office REIT’s.

7) Sweatpants are a great investment in the WFH culture, which I believe is here to stay.

#81 Faron on 01.13.23 at 4:03 pm

#70 Penny Henny on 01.13.23 at 3:36 pm
#84 Sail Away on 01.13.23 at 1:23 pm
Re: Tesla price cuts

////////////////

Serious question here.
Let’s say the average price cut was $7000 and if they sell 1 million cars this year that would be 7 billion in lost profit right?
Based on the last quarter what were projected earnings for this year?

Me: Here, put this mask on.

Penny: Why? why do I need a mask? Is this a COVID thing?

Me: It’s supplemental oxygen.

Penny: Seriously, WTF.

Me: You are going to need it for the gaslighting that will ensue when the TSLA bulls come out to convince you (themselves) that a price cut, that removes roughly half of their profit margin, is a good thing.

#82 Doug t on 01.13.23 at 4:07 pm

#74 Maureen

Dear dear now – did you write that rant on company time from home?

#83 Jay on 01.13.23 at 4:10 pm

These same people who refuse to leave home to re-enter an office seem to be the same ones demanding politicians “invest” our billions building new transit and LRT lines so people can commute downtown.

City of Calgary is going full steam ahead building a commuter LRT line to downtown with a primary focus on commuters, yet they wont even bring their own staff back, ever. They have a bus running the same line which is mostly empty. Why would this change if no one is making anyone go back in the office?

If we want to keep WFH maybe cancel all these transit projects then and save everyone billions.

#84 Alberta Ed on 01.13.23 at 4:11 pm

The federal civil service has bloated over the past several years and certainly could be trimmed. Much simplified tax forms and tax legislation could reduce the need for tens of thousands of CRA employees.

#85 Dolce Vita on 01.13.23 at 4:12 pm

Noticing in the last month or so on Twitter stories of homes bought during/post Covid FOMO selling for a lot less and Power of Sales, PoS, mostly Condos.

Jan 13 Fort Erie
June 2022 bought for $785K. Sold in November for $600K, a loss of $185K before RE fees.
https://twitter.com/ShaziGoalie/status/1613914819136036865

Jan 12 Brampton
Sold in Dec 2021 for $1.26M, which was $160K over asking. hit the market as a PoS and sold in Dec 2022 for $919K.
https://twitter.com/ShaziGoalie/status/1613558157162467328

Jan 11 Whitby
Sold for $380K above the asking price in April 2022 for $1.18M. Sold in December 2022 for $935K, resulting in a loss of $245K before fees.
https://twitter.com/ShaziGoalie/status/1613196681771888648

Jan 8 Milton
May 17, 2022 for $1.025M. Power of Sale by MIC on Dec 9/22 for 899K: Offer date Dec 19- did not sell. Reduced Jan 4/23 to 879K,
https://twitter.com/loveurhome/status/1612094545629429761

Dec 29 Markham
16 Retail Units under Power of Sale.
https://twitter.com/ShaziGoalie/status/1608440749879697415

Dec 9 Toronto
Power of Sales. ONE condo building.
https://twitter.com/ShaziGoalie/status/1601255758418841601

and it goes on, and on …

—————-

Other Realtors I follow similar stories. About 2, 3 of these a day now. You know, when the Realtors are amazed …. you know it’s getting bad out there for Cdn RE.

If you like this Blogs BC Flop Drops, like I do, follow Sheraz Mahmood on Twitter for the Ontario version.

#86 Ponzius Pilatus on 01.13.23 at 4:13 pm

Cowtown has the highest vacancy rate.
I thought everyone is moving there now.
Shawn.
Cut your vacation short.
This is an emergency.

#87 Mattl on 01.13.23 at 4:14 pm

“Employers have a right to full attention for the tasks employees are paid to perform.”

This is undeniable, the question is how as an employer do you ensure you are getting sufficient productivity. In any environment really, not like the office is always a productive place, let’s be real.

My company uses technology to enforce productivity. We leverage video calls to keep staff connected. Not perfect, but again, the cubicle farms that are today’s office are not exactly conducive to team building.

But the thing about WFH is it has to come with the expectation that the employee is going to work full regular office hours in a quiet, private space. On that CBC piece, a CRA employee was complaining about not being able to drop and pick up her kids. Uhhh, that would mean being out of the office from 8-9 am and then again from 2-3. And then working while taking care of the kids. That version of WFH is BS – if someone wants to work 9-2, NP, it is called part time.

#88 Sail Away on 01.13.23 at 4:14 pm

#70 Penny Henny on 01.13.23 at 3:36 pm
#84 Sail Away on 01.13.23 at 1:23 pm

Re: Tesla price cuts

——–

Serious question here.
Let’s say the average price cut was $7000 and if they sell 1 million cars this year that would be 7 billion in lost profit right?
Based on the last quarter what were projected earnings for this year?

——–

I can’t speak to their revenue projections, but suspect this price drop, in conjunction with the government rebates, is a strategic move to gain a near-monopoly on the EV market.

In 2019, when Tesla made 367k vehicles, Elon said he expects 20M by 2030. Last year, 1.31M were produced. They are executing. Faster and faster. A new car every 19s?

FSD costs $15k, or it can be added by monthly subscription. Most recent FSD is excellent. Mind-blowingly good. And it learns when you make corrections.

Also, TSLA has been profitable for 8 quarters, increasing the profitability each quarter while still continuously expanding production facilities worldwide.

The Tesla revenue stream includes:

-Cars, all models
-FSD software
-Supercharging
-Semis (more contracts than they can fill)
-Powerwall
-Solar roof
-Megapacks (more contracts than they can fill)

#89 Ed on 01.13.23 at 4:15 pm

WFH is so racist. More white settlers have homes to work from at the expense of our minorities that form the bulk of the homeless.

I suggest as a solution to open up offices 24/7 and initiating live in the office.

#90 Fiona on 01.13.23 at 4:17 pm

Ok, Boomer.

#91 TurnerNation on 01.13.23 at 4:20 pm

Winding down the Former World Countries?

.The Bank of Canada may lose up to $8.8 billion over the next few years… The report from the C.D. Howe Institute estimates the total losses over the next two to three years will add up to between $3.6 and $8.8 billion (investmentexecutive.com)

.The Swiss National Bank on Monday reported a loss of 132 billion Swiss francs ($143 billion) for the 2022 financial year, citing preliminary figures. It represents the biggest loss in the central bank’s 116-year history and equates to roughly 18% of Switzerland’s projected gross domestic product of 744.5 billion Swiss francs.
(cnbc.com)

—-
— Political Actors all of em. Playing their parts. Et tu, Trump? Our Rulers distract us with bread & circuses.

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3305952/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Volodymyr Zelenskyy is the 6th president of Ukraine. Before entering politics, he was a comedian, actor, screenwriter, film producer, and director.Prior to his political career, he obtained a degree in law and created a production company, Kvartal 95, which produces films, cartoons, TV comedy shows, including Servant of the People (2015), in which Zelenskiy played the role of President of Ukraine.

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1296124/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Boris Johnson was born on 19 June 1964 in New York City, New York, USA. He is an actor, known for Have I Got News for You (1990), EastEnders (1985) and Novak Djokovic: Refuse to Lose (2022).

#92 the Jaguar on 01.13.23 at 4:20 pm

What we really need is something similar to what happened on August 14th, 2003 at 4:10 EDT.

The ‘entitled’ were probably still in diapers, but some will remember this was the day the electrical grid in the northeast part of North America went AWOL. For days. Food in peeps fridges spoiled. Elevators stopped, streets went dark, and there were no iphones.

Imagine if this happened now in the WFH environment. Our electrical grid is probably more vulnerable than most think, depending on where you live I suppose.

While we wait for the grid failure to happen, someone get Howard Levitt on the telly- phone and get some advice on how to fire the ass of those goverment layabouts…. Burn it all down if necessary.

P.S….Garth, is #74 Maureen the person we used to refer to as Mahone Bay Marcia?

#93 Dolce Vita on 01.13.23 at 4:20 pm

#70 Penny Henny

Let’s say the average price cut was $7000 and if they sell 1 million cars this year that would be 7 billion in lost profit * right?

——————-

* Revenue unless Tesla has $0 in cost per vehicle.

PH Math & Acctg.

And ya:

Wrong.

#94 Chimingin on 01.13.23 at 4:22 pm

#74-Maureen, clearly you don’t do work that’s important, or you’d recognize that corporate culture is not all bad, in spite of your woke word salad that throws all the blame on the toxic male. To assail the ‘patriarchy’ because of the need to have staff in the workplace is ludicrous. Frankly, you don’t sound like you have experienced much if that’s all you think the working world is comprised of.

I’m a non-Boomer female who has worked in male-dominated industries and female-dominated ones. I’ve worked for places on that on the outside looked all soft and caring that were horrendously toxic, run by women, and other places that looked like they had a crappy culture that were actually great to work for, run by men. I’ve had experience with it the other way around too, and all in both private and public sectors.

I currently work at the office and WFH, and find it quite reasonable to do both, as my job permits it. It’s a sign of your narrow outlook and your privilege that you think asserting that some jobs need to be done in a corporate setting is ridiculous to even suggest.

And for those of you on this blog who complain about how awful it is to work for ‘the man’, as the old saying goes, or the ‘patriarchy,’ in current parlance, well, in my experience you are usually the ones who contribute least to the team.

#95 Matt on 01.13.23 at 4:22 pm

I think there’s definitely a place for in-office work where it makes sense, but having public servants do work remotely does have several benefits. I think what doesn’t make sense is having a blanket return to office policy that applies to everyone in the public service. This is a bad decision as not every job is the same; so it’s ineffective to apply the same standard.

Some of the remote work advantages in my opinion are:

1) Huge taxpayer cost savings by paying for less office space. If a government call centre agent sits at a desk all day taking phone calls, what advantage is there to having that worker sit in a downtown office tower as opposed to a desk in their home office? The job is exactly the same irrespective of physical location, so why should our tax dollars be spent on office space that’s not needed or necessary?

2) A lot of jobs are concentrated in Ottawa. If the best person for the job lives in Saskatoon and can complete the job remotely, why should we settle for someone mediocre from Ottawa?

3) Allowing for remote work can be a huge advantage in communities that need well paying jobs. This can include in rural, remote and indigenous communities.

4) Some government programs are run nationally with workers geographically spread across Canada. In some instances some of these workers are the only ones that work in their specific workload in that specific geographic area. In this case, why should the taxpayer care if the person wants to work remotely (especially if the taxpayer doesn’t have to pay office space for that worker) if that worker won’t be collaborating or doing anything specifically in an office that’s any different from working remotely?

5) The world is facing a climate crisis. With increased work from home it reduces the need for commuting and would likely cut down on our greenhouse gas emissions.

I think the right approach is to determine how much remote work each position can do, and then make a determination of how much should be done. In-office work should also be purpose-driven. It doesn’t make sense to have people working in an office if they’re sitting on Zoom or MS Teams collaborating with colleagues who are working remotely that day or are in different geographical areas than them.

#96 Ponzius Pilatus on 01.13.23 at 4:23 pm

Some trouble at the Berlin TESLA slave farm.
German Workers don’t like the way Musk treats them.
German’s most powerful Union (IG Metal) is representing the workers.
Time to treat your workers fairly, Musk.
Or your factory goes the way of Walmart.
Out of Germany.
VW would gladly take it over.
For pfennigs for a Deutsche Mark.

#97 Just some guy on 01.13.23 at 4:25 pm

My co-worker’s neighbour works for CRA as an auditor. According to this guy, CRA audit success rates are down 70%. Not sure if that’s true. Just passing along un-vetted, third party hearsay. Strikes me as accurate though.

#98 CM on 01.13.23 at 4:26 pm

Oversight. Office culture and values. Collaboration. Relationship-building. And if you want a road to advancement, be visible. Deny all you wish, but that’s still the way humans relate to each other. – Garth

Didn’t someone quit your firm last year because you offered none of that? Except perhaps oversight.

It was a good departure. – Garth

#99 Chris on 01.13.23 at 4:28 pm

There are some good arguments for working at home vs in the office on both sides of the debate.

Life goes by fast, in my early 50s now and have enjoyed the new hybrid work environment. I’ve saved and although I want to work until 55, if I have to go back to the office more than 2 days a week, I think I might pack it in early.

In the last couple of years, my wife and I have increased our social life and added a new hobby that gets us out to meet people. We have connected more with our neighbours, as we have more time for walks in the evening, since we don’t have to commute. I guess we embraced the hybrid life and love it.

Not against going back to the office, but with technology the pandemic taught us it is available to make our lives easier and actually get a chance to enjoy ourselves more often. Saving on average 5-6 hours of commuting time a week has done wonders for us both.

(And we live right in the city of Toronto).

Both of us have demanding jobs, both of us manage people and we have deliverables that we must meet on time/budget. It can be done.

#100 James on 01.13.23 at 4:28 pm

I’m actually surprised that the vacancy rate in Toronto is only 13%. Everything I see and hear suggests it is much worse. I was wandering down the PATH several times this last month and it is pretty grim. Over half of the stores I remember are now totally boarded up and drywalled, trying to look like it is all just a wall. The crowds at the food courts were pretty week every day, and many of those food places only open a few hours daily or just 2-3 days out of every 5 during business week days. This looks and feels like a much bigger shift than just COVID.

#101 Toronto_CA on 01.13.23 at 4:29 pm

I live and work in the UK now, which has the lowest return to office in the Western world I believe.

Commutes into London due to constant train strikes and very unreliable, expensive commuter trains means no one is very incentivised to spend 3 hours a day coming into work and back home.

My office says they want 2 days a week in, but…no one checks if you do or not. Most do 1 token day a week. It’s not as productive for my team who is constantly on Teams calls with remote offices around the world. I am much less productive on the days I am in the office.

AND YET – to Garth’s credit- I do get value from the few days I go into work and think it is important. Just as most of us have said since June 2020 or so when return to office was starting up – the HYBRID approach is the way forward. I don’t get why that should be a huge problem, for anyone.

#102 ogdoad on 01.13.23 at 4:34 pm

Secondly, G. Contemplating the hornets nest that is usually stirred up when y’all write on this topic, its really hit home today how good I actually got it….

Then, imagine what’s in store for this weekend – 5’5″, hourglass, yoga pants, TIGHT

Let’s be content for a bit, shall we?

Happy Friday!

Og

#103 Sail Away on 01.13.23 at 4:34 pm

#77 Faron on 01.13.23 at 3:52 pm

Oh, so you expected the cut, but didn’t think it would affect the stonk price? Just listen to yourself. Everyone’s a genius in a bull market. When the market flips to bear, the hubris sticks around for a while.

———

Holy moley, let it go. You’re jumping around like a monkey on meth.

Risks were expected, as noted during my original buy statement below. There was value then, there’s value now:

“SA on 11/14/2022:
Cautiously… I’m joining MM [in buying AQN]. Div might get cut but still attractive with O&G company at 2015 price, even with the renewables arm being a concern. I expect today’s dive is anticipating a div cut. We shall see. 10.64 buy.”

#104 DON on 01.13.23 at 4:35 pm

I get the main point.

But folks can waste a lot of time in the office on extended breaks / lunches, other quick errands and chatting to co-workers about non work related subjects. In the office people can appear to be working where as at home…the computer tracks periods of in activity…when you last saved a file etc without having the latest tracking software. Productvity comes down to getting the work done that has been assigned on time and with quality.

With personal phones and small digital camera’s even at work, an unethical employee can steal information without anyone really knowing other than the coincidence that every case file that person had access to (activity log on the case file etc) resulted in a breach of information.

I guess it depends on the nature of work or the organization. And I do get the culture pary, but most of the time those are just flashy ethical words/slogans that are never truly implemented, monitored or measured.

Depends on the org and nature of work. I suspect that future collaboration software will be much like entering a virtual office…with virtual seating showing your avatar in the seat. Who knows…but shift happens when new technologies are introduced. Like everything, it is about balance.

But not having congested highways etc would help with pollution etc etc.

#105 You want what now? on 01.13.23 at 4:35 pm

How can you tell if a civil servant is working? Trick question, that’s what contractors are for. Having worked beside these folks for a number of years I can honestly say the Pareto principle is woefully inaccurate. 80/20 is more like 95/5 for chair moisteners to worker ratio. Let them strike. It’s unlikely you’ll see the difference.

#106 East Coast Carrie on 01.13.23 at 4:38 pm

I run a government funded essential services business here on the east coast. My staff never had the option to work from home because their jobs provide support services to actual human beings in need of regular human contact.

Prior to this, I worked from home running another organization for almost two years and don’t recommend it. The isolation, lack of human contact, and small world was all too much. Once, out on a casual walk with my small white dog, I ran into one of my contractors and it took me a few minutes to recognize the guy. I’d only seen him from the shoulders up for the previous two years. So, yeah, nothankyouverymuch.

Now, I’m old school. I like having regular conversations in person with the people I work with. Going to the “office” and working with staff I also genuinely like and respect was a gift after the two years of isolated hell. There are way more upsides in my view, but more importantly, in our case, there isn’t an option. We provide important, essential services. So maybe that’s the broader discussion. How essential exactly are you?

#107 Reality Check on 01.13.23 at 4:38 pm

My god, however did all of us baby boomers manage to raise kids, look after a house, commute, have activities outside the home (like sports, volunteering, a mistress) and somehow manage to be physically present at a place of employment 5 days a week.

Yes, I know, I know, things are so much tougher now.

#108 knotaeverydayblogger on 01.13.23 at 4:38 pm

My son is a global corporate tax manager, What desk he sits at is irrelevant, he works from home for a global tech company. Microsoft meetings when necessary.

My daughter is a food packaging company accountant. She can work from home but likes the office. She goes in everyday, even during the whole plandemic, to get out of the house, but it doesn’t necessarily mean she will climb the ladder.

Times a changing man. Get with it or get left behind.

#109 American Home Buyer on 01.13.23 at 4:40 pm

WE DON’T MIND THAT CANADA’S OVERCOOKED, OVER PRICED HOUSING MARKETS ARE CORRECTING AND COLLAPSING. WE HAVE NOT SPENT A DIME ON ANY HOME CONDO, OR TOWNHOUSE IN CANADA IN OVER 20 YEARS. PART OF BEING SUCCESSFUL IS KNOWING WHEN TO STOP SPENDING AND START THINKING DUMBOS
https://oldhousesunder50k.com/save-this-old-texas-fixer-upper-on-1-acre-25k/

#110 BitcoinBro on 01.13.23 at 4:40 pm

Look at the data from NYC.

If corporations have not been able to persuade folks consistently return to offices in the most eclectic place on earth… Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, etc. doesn’t have a chance. It’s over.

Note “consistently”. There is absolutely still value in meeting in person , especially in creative/strategic jobs. Every day, Monday-Friday 9-5? Forget about it Garth, that ship sailed

#111 Brett in Calgary on 01.13.23 at 4:42 pm

It will be interesting to see who wins these battles, the business or the workers. IMO young workers finally have the upper hand (limited supply of labour), but a deep recession might fix reverse this.

I manage 5 employees and we all WFH. Four are productive/useful and one is not. I suppose I could get a bit more out of the 1 if I was breathing down his neck in the office, but it may just be wiser to fire and try again. I find most young folks are willing to work hard and pull their weight regardless of where they are.

Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get together a couple times a month in person, and iron things out, that is still needed.

#112 Juve101 on 01.13.23 at 4:43 pm

#8 Watching the watcher

Shame on you.

#113 Mattl on 01.13.23 at 4:45 pm

#77 Faron on 01.13.23 at 3:52 pm
#74 Sail Away on 01.13.23 at 10:23 am

was an expected event

#85 Mattl on 01.13.23 at 1:32 pm

the cut to the dividend was expected

Oh, so you expected the cut, but didn’t think it would affect the stonk price? Just listen to yourself. Everyone’s a genius in a bull market. When the market flips to bear, the hubris sticks around for a while.

———————————————————–
Regarding the dividend cut, yes, I expected it. 10% dividend wasn’t sustainable, for reasons I shouldn’t have to explain. I expected the market to react favorably to the dividend cut – the company is healthier today then it was last week.

Not sure what any of my post has to do with bull markets or hubris, this is a buy low, collect dividend, long term hold for me.

You are a narcassist, so I’m sure the following will fall on deaf ears……

You have a serious likeability problem. I didn’t even come at you hard, just responded that the dividend cut was expected (for anyone paying attention). Your ego just can’t handle any pushback. If your online persona is anything like how you communicate in real life, get help. Seriously, you are one of the bigger jerks I’ve come across online which really says something. Get a grip man.

#114 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.13.23 at 4:45 pm

As yessss,
The entitled federal employees protected by the union slugs that represent them.

President Ronald Regan fired tens of thousands of Air Traffic Controllers in the early 1980’s
The expected “Air traffic Armageddon” ……that never materialized.

Accountants that can be replaced by computer software…..?
Fire them all.

And dont stop with the CRA.

#115 Terry on 01.13.23 at 4:46 pm

I agree with Garth on getting most people back to the office. To many WFH people lack the discipline to not let themselves get distracted with other house chores and errands. CRA and taxpayers paying their salaries expecting to get the services our taxes paid for hired them to work Full-Time at the office not Part-Time at home allowing themselves to get detoured doing some house cleaning, dog walking, laundry or cutting their grass. Just a thought, maybe if we had more people back in the office at CRA it wouldn’t take so long to get a “live” person on the phone when people are calling for help with a tax matter!

#116 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.13.23 at 4:48 pm

@#90 Fiona
“Ok, Boomer.”
+++
Wow.
A millennial plagiarized a zippy one liner.
How predictably unsurprising.

#117 Escaped Goat on 01.13.23 at 4:50 pm

Love your work, Garth. But as a big believer in free markets and progress, I disagree vehemently with your 2nd point regarding the negative impact WFH is having on commercial real estate. My point is: who cares if commercial real estate takes a hit. If working from home decreases the cost of doing business (and decreases the cost of big government) by decreasing the spend on real estate, game on! Your point seems more than a little Luddite. My wife works from home; she still misses lunches and puts in ridiculous hours. On the upside, she doesn’t have to waste time commuting, and our cat lays in a bed (sleeping or looking at her with love in his eyes) on her desk all day, asking for the occasional scritch. The trick will be to ensure productivity stays the same or rises. Technology will find a solution for that. A fiduciary has an obligation to the shareholders: ditch the un-needed real estate. Same goes for government. The vacant real estate will find a use eventually. Otherwise, let’s go back to making 25 pins a day by hand.

#118 under the radar on 01.13.23 at 4:53 pm

#8 Shame on you.

WFH is a thing and office space is in trouble because of it, making it the least desirable asset class in commercial real estate.
Office space costs a lot to retrofit to suit tenants. Air purification and ventilation, Leeds, state of the tech ready etc. Multi unit residential produces income without any of the above issues.

#119 Classical Liberal Millennial on 01.13.23 at 4:54 pm

Bunch of whiners. I would be thrilled if my employer offered 2 days in the office rather than 5.

#120 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.13.23 at 4:58 pm

@#74 Maureen McTears

“The patriarchal, paternalistic, elitist and misogynist working environment of the 1900s is coming crashing to an end, whether you like it or not. All this BS about the need for “corporate culture” is exactly that – BS.”

+++
Slow day in the University Library?

Not to worry Maureen.
The looming recession is an equal opportunity unemployer.

Boomers and Mills will all be cutting each others throats for the disappearing jobs.

Misandrist or misogynist matters not to the unemployed that must agree to show up to the office 9-5 Monday to Friday.

As for the hundreds of thousands of Canadian Double double slurping, donut chomping, govt workers out there clogging up the Tim’s drive throughs on their commute after dropping junior off at school when they should be working……
Enjoy it while it lasts.

#121 Islandgirl on 01.13.23 at 5:03 pm

I’ve been working from home for over 10 years now, and although there are lots of perks, I won’t deny that I miss aspects that you can only get while working in an office. Alas, there are no offices for my company near me, I would have to relocate to the lower mainland where a comparable house if forever outside my budget. And only 2 days a week is not that much! But habits are hard to break.

#122 Linda on 01.13.23 at 5:15 pm

#107 ‘Reality’ – LOL. Seriously, do not know how I managed to commute, work all day etc. No wonder I felt tired all the time. Definitely lucky to reach retirement without major health issues. Lots of coworkers didn’t. In fact, quite a few died before ever reaching retirement age. These days enjoy being able to get up without running flat out all day long, only to repeat. Very much a hamster wheel kind of lifestyle. Do not miss it.

#123 truefacts on 01.13.23 at 5:16 pm

Simple solution – eliminate income taxes.
When introduced, it was supposed to be TEMPORARY.
It’s been 100 years – how long is “temporary”?

– Original 11-page tax act now over 3,000 pages!
– In 1918, a person paying 14 dollars in today’s terms, now pays over $4,000.

#124 Formly BC guy now Alberta Guy on 01.13.23 at 5:19 pm

My employment is shift based, 7 days at work and then 7 days at home. CRA go to work in the office, take your jammies off and open the curtains.

#125 Ms. Escaped Goat on 01.13.23 at 5:20 pm

#117 Escaped Goat

I suspect for those on commission or with equity, working from home is no problem.

What does your wife do and how is she compensated?

#126 Ronaldo on 01.13.23 at 5:20 pm

What needs to happen is what happened in the early 80s recession when 1/3 of government employees in BC were laid off.

When employees start dictating to their employers whose salaries and benefits rely on hardworking taxpayers to fund such, a rude awakening is in store.

It’s gotten to the point that even private industry cannot compete with the salaries and benefits that government workers are getting. As Smoking Man would say, “tax eaters.” Lucky they’re not working for Elon.

#127 Tender Vittles on 01.13.23 at 5:23 pm

Doesn’t make any difference where they pretend to work. Government offices are just daycare for adults.

#128 Ronaldo on 01.13.23 at 5:23 pm

#120 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.13.23 at 4:58 pm

Right on.

#129 Pull an Elon on 01.13.23 at 5:23 pm

I suspect many employers will pull an Elon in the recession … laying off 50% of the woke netflix-wining-pajama crew … and retaining hungry go getting producer/developers.

#130 The Original Jake on 01.13.23 at 5:25 pm

Work from home also means work from anywhere by anyone. So, the Feds or provincial governments can shop the global labour pool… pay less in salaries and benefits. Save tax payers money and force the current civil servants into other sectors that are under served like restaurants, airport staff, hotel housekeeping… etc. Fight fire with fire.

#131 The Great Gazoo on 01.13.23 at 5:25 pm

#8 Watching the Water

“To you, office life is your life. Home is boring, empty, meaningless.

To the rest of us, office life is a way to pay for the life we enjoy, with our families and our children.”
_________________________________________

Garth provides a daily blog that provides helpful financial information and today a different perspective on corporate culture, relationships, WFH vs WFO – and you come up with these insulting comments. Seems like family life has done little for your character Walking on Water – as I suspect your approach to others with a different view is not an isolated incident.

#132 Grasshopper on 01.13.23 at 5:25 pm

I don’t like the idea of (yet another) tax on capital gains on a principal residence.

But should one choose to go to work 2 days a week (40%) and WFH 3 days a week (60%), would it be fair to apply a tax of 60% on the capital gains on a principal residence?

#133 Faron on 01.13.23 at 5:26 pm

#113 Mattl on 01.13.23 at 4:45 pm

You have a serious likeability problem.

Couldn’t care less ’round here. That should be plain.

I didn’t even come at you hard,

Ha, I didn’t come at you to begin with at all. You lurched in just as you lurched at our beloved Flop yesterday. My reply to you was brief and not coming at you hard. At. All. Grow up, man.

Fact is that the opportunity cost of your purchase is double digit % of your initial investment.

Anyhow, I’m sure your AQN will now rip face in Karmic retribution.

#134 Faron on 01.13.23 at 5:28 pm

#103 Sail Away on 01.13.23 at 4:34 pm

a monkey on meth

That’s a funny lyric for a song of harmony. Maybe it’s a Venezuelan thing?

#135 4 out of 3 people find math hard on 01.13.23 at 5:31 pm

Work From Home employees may be inadvertently accelerating their demise. It could be very soon they will just atrophy on the line through irrelevance. The disruptive trend of increasingly more aware Artificial Intelligence may soon be able to do all the “work” these WFH employees are currently getting paid for . Artificial Intelligence can be trained on all of the tax code, and all relevant legal cases rulings involving the tax code. Today, there are AI programs that can emulate a person on video along with speech , well enough to be mistaken as a real person. What if the Canadian government outsourced all tax issues to a mainframe? WFH issued solved. But wait, there is more! Almost all “work” could soon be replaced by AI. Manual labour may soon be able to be replaced by Humanoid Robots that are guided by vision AI . This is not 50 years in the future, this trend may be apparent in 5 years in the future.

#136 2%-er on 01.13.23 at 5:33 pm

I have no issue with CRA employees (or anyone, for that matter) working from home if they can complete their work from there.

That sentiment of 9-5 butts in seats in a cubicle or office is incredibly outdated. Workers are not widgets.

It took a pandemic to force us to modernize, which is sad. It should have happened years ago. Sorry Garth, but times have changed. Sometimes, in-person workplace collaboration is necessary. But many jobs simply do not require this.

#137 JM on 01.13.23 at 5:34 pm

My millwork guy working on my kitchen steps out all the time in the middle of the afternoon to ensure his work life balance. My kitchen upgrade that should’ve taken 3 weeks is now taking well over 6 weeks. LOL.

#138 JD on 01.13.23 at 5:37 pm

There is no way to sugar coat this – you sir are a dinosaur. Hybrid work is here to stay – and rightly so. The pre-pandemic 5 days out of the office came to be when there was a single earner per family with the mother stay home. Having 2 parents work from the office 5 days a week simply does not work. Pre-pandemic life was unsustainable for working moms – this is far more manageable. You along with everyone else in society is no doubt happy to receive my income tax contribution (over $40k in 2022). So let’s give this paleo complaining about WFH a rest, shall we?

#139 Drew on 01.13.23 at 5:42 pm

I work at a company as well trying to think of ways to convince employees about the advantages for coming back to the office such as what you described, Garth. It makes sense to us but not to them.
One solution is to change employees to contractors and not pay health benefits,payroll taxes, cpp etc.
The company saves no money by employing you from home.
The thing employees don’t want to understand is that if they’re not contributing to the culture of the office, then the company has no real reason not to hire from outside the city or country.
That would be very painful to white collar workers who have nice pay cheques and the luxury to work from home.

#140 A Dollar is a Dollar is a Dollar on 01.13.23 at 5:43 pm

And if our tax code was not so distorted to let the wealthy game the system with special exemptions that require so much extra staff time to process, we would need only a fraction of current CRA employees.

Every person should have a similar basic exemption, and each category of earnings should have the same level of taxation.

Just like under the great, smart, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, we should be taxing the wealthiest categories at 80-90%.

That’s how we built a great post-war middle class, which has been decimated since Reagan and Mulroney took office.

#141 Yorkville Renter on 01.13.23 at 5:43 pm

asking people for face-to-face time 2 or 3 days a week is hardly onerous… give me a break.

and people wonder why our productivity is so much lower in Canada vs the US?

for the record, I’m between 40 and 50 years old so not a Boomer

#142 Summertime on 01.13.23 at 5:47 pm

The argument between office and WFH work is truly about control and enforced ‘hierarchy’/micromanagement vs. efficient and lean work process.

The discussion is absolutely useless. Look at WFH/remote work job openings, increasing in exponential scale.

Mr. Market will say it’s word again and it won;t be the dead of WFH, on the contrary.

Plus the World Economic Forum clearly advocates for WFH/virtual work in order to reduce pollution and save energy and resources.

Somebody did not do his/her homework with this article?

#143 Felix on 01.13.23 at 5:48 pm

What a revealing pic- dogs are so lazy.

Happy Feline Friday!

#144 Reality is stark on 01.13.23 at 5:49 pm

I like WFH.
Camera is on the computer.
I monitor the keystrokes.
I e-mail you 7 days a week and you better answer.
I can easily get 12 hour days out of them.
I never get the excuse that traffic was bad, car repairs etc.
Glue them to the box.

#145 T-Rev on 01.13.23 at 5:49 pm

I have been on all sides of this. Held an exec role at a big multinational through COVID. They told us to stay home, I went in 4 days a week because I like having a formal workplace, and seeing people from my team. Still made it out to the field weekly as well, as it was a company that makes “real” goods and services that require’s 80% of staff to be hands-on tools and equipment, so no working from home for them.

Recently offered an SME role working with a niche division within same multinational. Global team, spread far and wide. WFH. Or WFAnywhere actually. The engineering team is HQed in europe, and the “kids” there have the option of hybrid work. What I’ve noticed is the ones that are least effective always work from home, but there’s high-performers in both the groups that tend to zoom from the cubicle and from their kitchen tables. But the poor performers are almost always kitchen table folk. I’ve found it much more difficult to connect and build rapport with my new team vs previous roles with a physical presence. I value the few times a year we get together in person. I do feel that employees can be effective remotely, but it takes a slightly different (extra?) set of management tools, and a laser focus on accountability and deliverables. Are CRA managers (i.e. government employees) up to that task? Right.

The biggest issue is collaboration, training, and onboarding, less so than getting employees to put the actual time in I think. I see folks from my team putting in crazy hours in some cases actually, but it took waaaayyy longer to get the team all pulling in the same direction than if we were physically together. And that continuity of knowledge, company loyalty, etc, will suffer over the long term as a result and must be managed and mitigated. It’s a different world, but it can be done. But it takes more managerial skill and effort to get the same team productivity.

I feel bad for those starting careers. Old (40s) farts like myself might not mind staying home with just our families, but young folks need to forge bonds with their coworkers and can’t do it the same way remotely. Those are key friendships and networks that will sustain them over a lifetime. I’ve made my friends, family, and connections. They haven’t.

#146 Ian on 01.13.23 at 5:55 pm

Hi Garth, My only comment today is on childcare in Ottawa. It’s incredibly difficult to get a spot and that was in Jan 2021, today, no way. We got one by chance, otherwise one of us was taking leave without pay. Again not debating if CRA should be striking. Just stating that during COVID people bailed on daycares, obviously some didn’t reopen. It’s a mess in Ottawa to find care.

#147 MinuteMaid on 01.13.23 at 5:56 pm

DELETED

#148 Dog on 01.13.23 at 5:57 pm

#24 Cat on 01.13.23 at 2:18 pm
We haven’t even touched on the mental health repercussions regarding people being tucked away for 2-3 years or more without regular human contact. Young people are struggling with anxiety/depression, our lives need to return to some sort of normalcy. 25% increase in anxiety, depression and PTSD recorded September 2021 in +18 year olds. We are now in the middle of January 2023, what are the real stats?

****************
Then we should also talk about the mental health issues are caused by poor culture, bullying that happens in the office. Less sick time taken if at home etc etc etc.

This isn’t a one size fits all situations.

And the over priced dowtown shops and restaurants lose out to businesses in the worker’s home community. Even Steven.

Less congestion and parking for those folks that love going shopping downtown or those tryi g to get to their hospital appointments having to wait in rudh hour traffic.

#149 crossbordershopper on 01.13.23 at 6:01 pm

I was ahead of the curve my work life balance is 0:100 and I suspect most peoples intent is to join me.
Commercial vacancies will diminish as time goes on, the biggest issues are that women are not having children and people are not marrying. all the financial mumbo jumbo that this blog talks about is for a narrow old school viewpoint that is long past gone. Younger people just live there life with no expectations or obligations, no children to worry about, no pension to worry about, just work because your young and you can, enjoy life then you hit about 50 and its too late, women cant have children, men are set in there ways. and you end up with single 80 year old people who all die alone and there brothers and sisters have to clean up after them, sell there cars, personal effects etc. Ive seen it all, single people are greedy and dont understand that someone has to burry them. This is the society we have now, selfish, irresponsible, only in it for themselves, they talk and talk about life, its there life they can do what they want with it. They die and no one remembers them there after, not even pictures on mantles, no one keeps pictures of unwed childless brothers or sisters who have passed on there mantle. We are part of a bigger society, part of a team, a tribe per say, we have obligations and comitments to our group and ourselves to make things happen.
IMO

#150 Alois on 01.13.23 at 6:03 pm

#114 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.13.23 at 4:45 pm
As yessss,
The entitled federal employees protected by the union slugs that represent them.

President Ronald Regan fired tens of thousands of Air Traffic Controllers in the early 1980’s
The expected “Air traffic Armageddon” ……that never materialized.

=================
The Backstory ..

Got to know a couple of older fellows that were pilots back then…

When the strike occurred the pilots established their own peer – to – peer protocol for take -off and landing…and the skies were even safer.

#151 Vstrom rider on 01.13.23 at 6:07 pm

If you don’t know how to manage remote workers, maybe you’re just a lousy manager?

You should be evaluating results, not how many hours a butt is in a chair. Either I’m getting my work done, or I’m not. If I am, it’s not relevant how much time I’m actually working, I am a productive employee. And if I’m not getting my work done, then it doesn’t matter if I come in at 6 am every day and don’t leave till 6 pm, I still need to be let go.

Smart managers will adapt their management style as necessary. The ones who can’t or won’t will lose good people and will only be able to attract mediocre employees. People who are good at what they do have options, if you won’t allow WFH we can easily find employers who do, and you’ll be left with those employees who don’t have options.

#152 DON on 01.13.23 at 6:10 pm

#15 yvr_lurker on 01.13.23 at 2:07 pm
Moreover, this possible strike action by the CRA is mainly about being without a contract for over a year and the inadequate initial wage offer that does not keep pace with inflation. The remote work issue is just an extra complicating factor. It would have been more balanced to not suggest that the intended strike action is about remote work, and not about wages and the lack of a contract for over a year. I believe that there will be many more such strikes over the next year.

*********
Good addition to the convo. Strikes are all about leverage.

#153 Father's Daughter on 01.13.23 at 6:14 pm

#146 Ian on 01.13.23 at 5:55 pm
Hi Garth, My only comment today is on childcare in Ottawa. It’s incredibly difficult to get a spot and that was in Jan 2021, today, no way. We got one by chance, otherwise one of us was taking leave without pay. Again not debating if CRA should be striking. Just stating that during COVID people bailed on daycares, obviously some didn’t reopen. It’s a mess in Ottawa to find care.

————————————————

While I appreciate childcare challenges (I have a 3 year old and 1 year old) I don’t think that justifies having a parent stay home to work, because we all know that nobody is working when looking after kids that are younger than school aged. Other solutions include an Au Pair, nanny share with another family (nanny alone is so expensive), one parent stays home in the younger years. I realize that this isn’t ideal but we can’t be paying people to do much less work than is expected in their hired roles. I think it’s completely nuts that people think WFH is a right. Work as per your employers preference is the expectation or find a new job that encourages or allows remote. Imagine they had to go back full time!

#154 Penny Henny on 01.13.23 at 6:16 pm

DELETED (Abusive)

#155 Alois on 01.13.23 at 6:19 pm

#134
4 out of 3 people find math hard on 01.13.23 at 5:31 pm

Work From Home employees may be inadvertently accelerating their demise. It could be very soon they will just atrophy on the line through irrelevance. The disruptive trend of increasingly more aware Artificial Intelligence may soon be able to do all the “work” these WFH employees are currently getting paid for .

==================

This WFH post has clearly struck a chord….when I first logged on there was already 120 + comments.

I agree with the Comment #134 ….these petulant CRA parties are only hastening their own demise and cutting their own throats.

AI will be the future…
…..these CRA employees and others have at or near ZERO bargaining position.

#156 Mean Gene on 01.13.23 at 6:23 pm

Most Federal Snivel Servants work an average of 37.5hrs per week, I wouldn’t be surprised if they just attend the office 15 to 22.5 hours a week that would satisfy the mandate from Ottawa…

#157 Ohm on 01.13.23 at 6:33 pm

Calgary’s office rate is being clobbered due to over building, it will balance itself out but it has nothing to do with Gov workers; those are located in Edmonton.
Gov workers; if they dare to strike legislate them back to work or fire them. This is becoming a joke. Never once was I instructed to WFH during this whole so called pandemic. Like most of us that had to work through it or if one was lucky enough to have a job during that time; thank you truck drivers for keeping our shelves full as possible.

2023 is going to be brutal!!

#158 al on 01.13.23 at 6:39 pm

” Does the government have a higher duty to its employees or its citizens?” False choice obviously. I see our host is still beating his WFH horse lol

#159 Peggy on 01.13.23 at 6:43 pm

(1) I certainly disagree with your depiction and personal opinion about WFH. I WFH and am able to work professionally, put in the hours and effort expected, without distraction. (2) Good city planning has always been based on communities and neighbourhoods where people can live, work and play. The creation of a very large “downtown” to which “everyone” had to “travel” each day was never a good idea or plan. Work and homes are created to support people – people are not created to fill jobs and buildings. The priority is people and their quality of life. (3) In the intermediate term, the high-rise office buildings will be converted to 50% housing on the upper floors and 50% business on the lower floors. In a few hundred years, the high-rises will be demolished and the city re-built with mid-rise buildings, and be properly planned for people to live, work and play in the 40+ neighbourhoods throughout Toronto – providing, of course, that lessons have been learned from the current ugly and disfunctional mess that Toronto is, and from which people strongly desire to escape.

#160 PRIZMA on 01.13.23 at 6:44 pm

WFH put an extra 25 pounds on my midriff! Fridge is too damn close!
I haven’t even been called back to the office, but I’m here!

#161 wallflower on 01.13.23 at 6:49 pm

“how the lack of affordable child care spaces in Ottawa (the epicentre of CRA operations) is a big factor”

meaning our federal employees are conducting child care while doing their jobs …. which super peeves me

I WFHd for 20 years (prior to covid) and not at the taxpayer teat, and always had child care arranged for my work to be done without supervising children at the same time.

#162 DM in C on 01.13.23 at 6:52 pm

WFH is not the norm now in tech — my team is distributed across the country, from BC to ONT. We overachieved on our KPI last quarter and we get. shit. done. As their manager, I don’t need to sit in an office — we have weekly team meetings and 1:1’s to touch base.

My son works for a SaaS company and hit 109% of his FY quota. From home.

Sorry Garth, this GenX with a team of Millennials and Xennials disagrees.

Going into the office is going the way of the dinosaur.

#163 Habitt on 01.13.23 at 6:54 pm

The times they are a changing

#164 Doing my Part on 01.13.23 at 7:03 pm

Wow Garth, you really hit a nerve with the wokester millennial crowd.
Sounds like many do not want to do a days work for a days pay.
I have worked in the WFH atmosphere and run cross paths with WFH’ers at the pool, coffee shops and socially during working hours.
It’s the worst kept secret that people take advantage and steal time from employers while WFH.

#165 Penny Henny on 01.13.23 at 7:06 pm

Hey Dolce.
Remember this line?
Those that know DO.
Those who don’t teach.
Which one are you?

And no wonder why, some of the mistakes that you’ve made on here are on the the scale of being 10x’s wrong. Good thing you had the protection of a university whose only care was profits.
I’m sure your Mama loved you though.

#166 The Original Jake on 01.13.23 at 7:08 pm

#136
“It took a pandemic to force us to modernize”

How come my driver’s licence and OHIP cards are still physical cards while every other business “modernized” to get their cards into our digital wallets. Covid and work from home certainly didn’t incentivize gov’t to “modernize” like every other business.

#167 Penny Henny on 01.13.23 at 7:10 pm

I forgot, those who can’t teach teach psyh Ed

#168 WFH is like being in an Amazon Warehouse - Work like Robot on 01.13.23 at 7:12 pm

Work-from-home accountant ordered to repay former employer $2,600 for ’time theft’

A tribunal has ordered a British Columbia accountant to pay her former employer more than $2,600 after a tracking software showed she engaged in “time theft” while working from home.

TimeCamp captured the detail of employee’s activities that company could then use to distinguish between work and non-work activities.

What is TimeCamp? One of many softwares that monitor every little thing you do while working from home (like keystokes, mouse movements, sites accessed, tasks completed, productivity) and sends very good analytics to the boss who can performance review live – like Amazon.

And depending on how stringent the employer is they can turn you into a robot where you have to do things like urinate in a bottle like Amazon drivers as there is no time for breaks or getting out of the chair in order to keep up with productivity.

I feel that most will get called back to office and most will find new ways to make money.

This makes entrepreneurship and gig work that is flexible with the ability to move to affordable areas very lucrative.

The pandemic opened this thought process.

I work in HR. The younger crowd does not want anything to do with corporate facilities and lack of flexibility.

So, this is what is going to happen. Employers with no flexibility will continue to struggle to find employees. Watch! And the job hipping and resignation will continue.

A lot of people do not understand how much wealth is supporting the younger generation. They don’t need to work at all. Ever. Rich parents have them covered and they know they will never afford rent or a house in their lifetime.

#169 kommykim on 01.13.23 at 7:14 pm

RE: #48 ImGonnaBeSick on 01.13.23 at 2:56 pm
Why do public servants have a union anyways…

=======================================

Because treasury board (The one who pays them) likes it that way. They don’t want to negotiate with 170,000 individuals if they can deal with a single entity instead. (PSAC union for example)

#170 VladTor on 01.13.23 at 7:15 pm

Garth …After three years the feds have told their army of civil servants to return to the office. Two days a week. Starting in March. And this has ignited a war.

The union representing 35,000 CRA employees has responded with a strike threat.

————–
It won’t work. The trade union agreement does not say with almost 100% probability that they can work from home.

Secondly, if we had a strong government, and not a liberal weakling, then they would have waited for the strike and acted like US President Reagan once did.

When the strike of the union of air traffic controllers began in the states and the country was paralyzed. Reagan simply fired all air traffic controllers. The union ceased to exist and the next day he hired everyone who wanted to work, but without a union.
Has anyone heard of the air traffic controllers’ strike since then?

And finally. Working from home for CRA employees is a malfeasance against Canada’s national security.
The guilty should be in jail!

Home computers are not protected from cyber attacks. Even if the workers used working laptops, the communication channel is still available to hackers. I think that a lot of valuable information about Canadians has already been leaked to foreign intelligence agencies.

#171 Sunny South on 01.13.23 at 7:16 pm

In the interest of Friday the 13th, work from home and the ever interesting new year income tax season, would you please consider (for our newer pack members) discussing the difference between tax credits and tax deductions. My daughter thanks you in advance.

#172 bubu on 01.13.23 at 7:18 pm

WFH means for me to be available 16 hours a day. We need a law to force to be in the office and like in Europe penalize the employer if you get a call or email after the program.

#173 millmech on 01.13.23 at 7:20 pm

AQN, hoping it goes to $8 and will pick up 3000 shares.

#174 Ohm on 01.13.23 at 7:20 pm

#143 Felix

Yeah that good for nothing feline is probably under the blanket being Sheppard by his Canine buddy,but,but,but, typical of todays times. :)

#175 BCWally on 01.13.23 at 7:28 pm

Controversial subject no doubt. I never had the experience of working at home myself being in industry and on the steel.
It was awful for us, we flew to work and then stayed in camp. The restrictions were extremely depressing and it was a lonely experience. The outbreaks made it worse. We got quarantined in a special camp wing if you caught it. No outside contact, no way home.
Glad some people could stay home.
I wonder if anyone remembers that manager from Dow Chemical that wrote a very revealing piece here in the blog.
She told us that she had just finished eliminating a number of office positions having contracted them out to an Indian firm overseas. They were a lot cheaper apparently and quite efficient.
She was quite forward in pointing out this flaw in the WFH strategy, that the competition for office work was not limited to your city or even country.
I’m hoping you people in that category recognize this inherent threat.
Question: Who will remember you several months after you retire? Likely almost no one as you have moved on and become irrelevant to the daily working experience of the people left behind.
That I’m sure could easily apply to a remote worker.

#176 DON on 01.13.23 at 7:32 pm

I suspect this post is for cannon fodder Fridays?

Chumming the waters, while working on an upcoming doozie of a post.

lol

#177 Sail Away on 01.13.23 at 7:33 pm

I’ve been working hard since last March to achieve 50 pullups in a single set in my 50th year. Currently at 38, so not crazy far away, but still far. It’s tough- when I really work the pullups, it adds muscle weight, which then needs to be lifted. Or when I drop weight through lots of mountain running, it causes upper body muscle loss and lower strength. It’s a delicate balance. My hands are basically one big callous. Tough life.

#178 Ronaldo on 01.13.23 at 7:40 pm

#138 JD on 01.13.23 at 5:37 pm
There is no way to sugar coat this – you sir are a dinosaur. Hybrid work is here to stay – and rightly so. The pre-pandemic 5 days out of the office came to be when there was a single earner per family with the mother stay home. Having 2 parents work from the office 5 days a week simply does not work. Pre-pandemic life was unsustainable for working moms – this is far more manageable. You along with everyone else in society is no doubt happy to receive my income tax contribution (over $40k in 2022). So let’s give this paleo complaining about WFH a rest, shall we?
—————————————————————-
Would be interesting to see how a plumber and his nurse wife would work out working from home, lol.

And many other examples. The next thing we will hear is that those that are required to work at the office compared to those that are allowed to wfh will be asking for travel allowance, clothing allowance, parking allowance, child care allowance, pet care allowance, and on and on.

Be careful what you ask for. There is a recession looming and if you are able to work from home, you can work from anywhere which means that your job could very well be eliminated and farmed out or contracted out as someone suggested.

#179 American House Buyer on 01.13.23 at 7:50 pm

Biggest problem Canadians have right now is the elected and unelected politicians running their lives and spending their money before they even get a chance to see it.
You always get what you elect – so every time – choose wisely before you let them spend all your money.
If you are broke, have nothing in the bank, have nothing in the driveway and nothing with your name on it – then you are a typical dumbo voter in Canada. Politicians are not your friends – they are talking heads that get paid to talk. Their only accountab ility is the ballot box. Let that sink in the next time you cash your welfare check.

#180 Faron on 01.13.23 at 7:55 pm

#177 Sail Away on 01.13.23 at 7:33 pm

I’ve been working hard since last March to achieve 50 pullups in a single set in my 50th year. Currently at 38,

I dunno, kind of sounds like a monkey on meth TBH. No?

#181 Ohm on 01.13.23 at 7:57 pm

#162 DM in C

Hey awesome to you all that a PRIVATE company is able to establish you accomplishments to feed your goals until the heads up decide not to. Good on you!!

Please do not compare what your company is doing (for now) to tax pay employees that think that it is in their best interest to keep working that way. I am referring to any Canadian/s that have tried to talk to a gov worker without being cut off after 45 min on hold only to call back and have it done to one once again.
The irony is that who ever complains to whatever gov agency are told that they did not do enough to get through?????? It is beyond frustrating, the whole gov system is broken. As mentioned I am not talking about private enterprises.

#182 mike from mtl on 01.13.23 at 7:57 pm

I don’t know where this ‘convert unused office space to residential’ comes from. If that was viable you’d have seen it before but it’s been limited to low scale lowrise Lofts or hotels – wonder why? Because you can’t somehow turn an office tower to live in.

First the vast marjory of commercial towers have leases and tenants in the decade range, either wait it out or buy out all the tenants. Good luck.

Second the cost to acquire the property is huge money like 100s of millions to billion range.

Third most towers are owned by giant REITs, or quasi-government who would rather eat glass than write-off the value to sell.

Forth even if a highrise could be had for 0$ you’d have to contend with the city/municipality, who’s bread and butter is taxation. Good luck rezoning.

Fifth offices are not condos! Notice who condos are either very slim or extremely rectangular? Well that’s because if you want bedrooms with windows you need a lot of outside surface, a design concern cube farms didn’t have. Think about the huge floor with only a small amount of windows, you’d want to live in a home with only windows in one room and a windowless cell?

Sixth the costs involved retrofitting, drains, HVAC, ducting, would be astronomical on a scale of 30-40 storeys, better demolish it and start again.

Seventh firecode as it is now, while sort of overlapping with hotels and condos, wouldn’t accept a bunch of windowless single egress, residences that permit stoves and smokers.

Eighth the city would have a cow over now collecting easy property taxes from a dozen corps than the hundreds of nickel and dime unit ‘owners’.

This is a non-starter.

#183 VladTor on 01.13.23 at 7:59 pm

#172 bubu on 01.13.23 at 7:18 pm
WFH means for me to be available 16 hours a day.

————–

No problem I will “BE” but can you tell me what I will “DO”…. watching TV, playing comp game, reading book…

#184 Nonplused on 01.13.23 at 8:01 pm

“The public broadcaster did a feature Friday on how the lack of affordable child care spaces in Ottawa (the epicentre of CRA operations) is a big factor, suggesting the back-to-the-cubicle edict is gross and unfair.”

This is fake news. It is extremely important in today’s world, where the MSM survives on manufactured stories to generate clicks and sell ads, to realize it is practically all fake. The days of paying a subscription to have real news delivered to your door are over.

Of course there are no child care spaces available right now. There hasn’t been any demand for going on 3 years. Go and try and buy a suit right now, and you’ll understand the situation.

Once the demand returns, yes, prices will rise. However rising prices brings additional supply. Every single time. Unless the government regulates the additional supply out of existence. It works this way for everything except scarce commodities, and even there it works to some extent.

————————————-

My question is if they fired all the WFH crowd, would anybody notice? After all, they haven’t been working for 2 or 3 years and we haven’t noticed so far.

When they closed the schools, we noticed that. Students fell behind, grades suffered, and test scores dropped. I would have bet against it, but it happened. I could even observe it with my own kid, who required unprecedented levels of supervision to get him to 80% of his previous performance.

When the police or the bus drivers go on strike, we notice that too.

But did we really miss any of the office workers? I’m not talking just CRA here. I mean all of them. Maybe they should feel lucky they have a job, because chances are 80% of them aren’t strictly necessary.

Case in point, Twitter fired about 80% of their staff. Yet they are handling record traffic, rolling out new features, and so far the site has been running fine. What were all those people doing? I mean besides interfering in elections? And I wouldn’t be a bit too surprised if we find out when Musk writes his memoirs (yes he will one day, and it will be a best seller) that all he did was cancel the WFH employee’s VPN connections. Especially the ones that weren’t showing much traffic. (Yes, they can track that. Down to the keystroke. And no, it’s not illegal. It’s their equipment.)

—————————————

Calgary commercial real estate has been suffering from before covid due to the current clown show we have in Ottawa. But don’t worry, they aren’t just mismanaging that one part of the economy. It is but the canary in the coal mine. It will come to an economy near you shortly. Where goes Calgary goes Canada. So when you lose your job in the not too distant future, remember, you voted for these clowns.

And therein lies the problem with democracy. Harper doesn’t look so bad in retrospect now, does he? But nobody liked him. So, they voted in someone they thought they liked more, but they forgot the universal knowledge we all have since high school that extremely likable people are usually two-faced liars. Being well liked requires a lot of effort, so usually the person who goes about making sure they are well liked has an ulterior motive. And whatever that motive is, it probably isn’t the job at hand.

#185 Cow Man on 01.13.23 at 8:05 pm

Sir Garth:
To your point on property taxes. Is it the time to extend the financial education you provide, to assessment facts, and how residential properties are heavily subsidized on municipal services through industrial, commercial, and other assessment classes ?

Residential property owners in the GTA and large cities are getting a free ride from other assessment classes. Little do they know.

#186 Flop… on 01.13.23 at 8:05 pm

Blue Collar Bum here.

I work for some sort level of organization that some people still call government.

We have to report to work every day, but the people I work with, once at work spend all day worrying about organizing things at home.

So it’s not Work From Home, as much as it is Home From Work…

M48BC

#187 Jack on 01.13.23 at 8:05 pm

Just called CRA the other day. No wait time, employees were very pleasant and knew their stuff. Maybe because they didn’t have to suffer through the usual commute?

#188 Lawless on 01.13.23 at 8:05 pm

What’s the obsession with physical butts in chairs?! The hard workers in the office continue to be the hard workers at home. Slackers at home will also be slackers in the office. This need by folks of your age/ilk to exercise physical control over workers physical locations is truly strange and honestly dated. And the view that folks working remotely are not committed is absurd – the same people committed in the office are committed remotely. The elder generation references jargon like “collaboration” and this ill-defined “spark” that occurs in the offices to justify a return. It just happens to be immeasurable and complete bullocks. If you (as an individual) benefit from being in an office, fill your boots. But we aren’t all built the same. Nor is all work the same. Some folks find an office draining – I’m talking about us introverts. Some folks need a quiet environment to focus for some of their work, which is not provided in many offices. Some people just want to do their work without all of the phony socializing (i.e. you’re my boss/coworker/employee, not my friend). Some want to avoid the time suck/expense of an unnecessary commute. Physically traveling to the core to create a digital work product is environmentally irresponsible, especially for companies with ESG policies. But really for everyone. It is economically irresponsible for corporate officers with a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to hold on to unnecessary office space. It is irresponsible for employers to call employees back to the office without adequate health protections in place – hate to say it, but the pandemic is not over. My boss avoided COVID for 3 years and was COVID positive within 1 month of returning to the office. And let’s be Frank – real estate uses change over time. I feel the heyday of shopping malls is behind us. And these spaces are being adapted to modern uses. The existence of corporate office space in downtown cores is no reason to revert to an unnecessary and frankly inferior way of doing things.

#189 earthboundmisfit on 01.13.23 at 8:08 pm

The federal civil service is seriously bloated. Perhaps the CRA is a good place to start the thinning.

#190 protea on 01.13.23 at 8:09 pm

Thats what I admire about Elon Musk who laid down the hammer for employees to return to work.

The B.C. woman who was fired from her job has been ordered to pay her former employer $1,500 as reimbursement for “time theft.”

Looked like the employee was a CPA, in many of my business calls to customer service enquires often heard in the background dogs barking,
children crying, many calls being dropped due to weak WIFI connections, this pandemic has screwed up the way we work enormously and companies should take strong action to demand employees return to a office enviroment.

#191 TS on 01.13.23 at 8:09 pm

I work as an essential worker for a major municipality in Ontario and never worked from home.

Every day I’m let down by the 25% of City employees who WFH whether it be tendering / procurement / training / payroll/ IT.

These were people who you used to be able to seek out and confront them know their cubicle if they weren’t doing what I needed them to do

Now they just ghost you for three weeks because they’re scared to tell you they forgot or didn’t do it.

I can’t imagine that provincial or federal workers are any different

#192 Ohm on 01.13.23 at 8:15 pm

#175 BCWally

Good post bud. In my position there was limited, distant, communication between our comrades had to be 6ft or 2 mtrs away from one another, could only use the bathroom one at a time, no lockers, no microwave to heat our food (although the bosses had access to it), ordered to have lunch and equipment in our vehicles for two years. Ordered to take the shot or get fired and the WFH complain about returning to the office a couple of days a week. These people have no idea what the rest of us (so called lucky ones that had jobs) went through..

#193 Alba on 01.13.23 at 8:15 pm

Throughout the pandemic we have continually been asked to be patient when requiring any assistance from Government departments because of work from home measures. It has been the excuse for double the processing time for immigration, passport control and other documentation. If during this time these processes were handled in a timely manner then I think WFH would make perfect sense but they absolutely proved by their own behaviour and response that for Government employees it’s not a viable arrangement.

#194 Mattl on 01.13.23 at 8:15 pm

133 Faron – telling me to grow up is rich. I rarely comment and am almost always on topic. Don’t argue with really anyone here. Have had more engagement with Garth then other posters, which is why I come here.

You embarrass yourself daily here. You spent months arguing crampons with a guy that was clearly trolling you. Fully obsessed with Tesla, and apparently AQN now for some odd reason. Blew up, promised to go away and was back a few days later.

I’d understand your behaviour if this was say 10 years ago and we were all still trying to figure out how to communicate anonymously on the internet. You, however, are still fully committed to arguing on the internet with rando’s. Your dedication to this useless cause is admirable, and frankly very grown up behaviour that we can all aspire to.

#195 Monkey shoulder on 01.13.23 at 8:25 pm

When we call the cra, an audio message warns us that some employees are using their personal phones. by continuing, you accept the risk…just for that, back to the office 5 days a week!

#196 Ponzius Pilatus on 01.13.23 at 8:31 pm

#187 Jack on 01.13.23 at 8:05 pm
Just called CRA the other day. No wait time, employees were very pleasant and knew their stuff. Maybe because they didn’t have to suffer through the usual commute?
————————
I find most Government employees very pleasant and friendly.
BC LIQUOR store employees are much friendlier than those in the private stores.
And the prices are lower, too.

#197 Hmm on 01.13.23 at 8:34 pm

Ya i think that WFW ship has sailed.
Times are a changing, don’t fight it.

#198 Ponzius Pilatus on 01.13.23 at 8:37 pm

#191 TS
These were people who you used to be able to seek out and confront them know their cubicle if they weren’t doing what I needed them to do.
—————————
Interestingly,
You are the kind of supervisor.
That drives people to work from home.
Your ears must be burning constantly.
Get some people skill.

#199 Faron on 01.13.23 at 8:41 pm

#194 Mattl on 01.13.23 at 8:15 pm

grown up behaviour that we can all aspire to.

Congrats, get to it. Maybe you’ll learn how to invest along the way.

#200 Blair on 01.13.23 at 8:42 pm

They should fire the whole works of them.

#201 Ponzius Pilatus on 01.13.23 at 8:44 pm

27 TurnerNation on 01.13.23 at 2:21 pm
Re. Yesterday’s blog. I’m hearing the Feds are working on a new GTSA (unfortunately named).
Known as a Gender Transition Savings Account.
Room will accumulate at birth to the tune of $2000 per annum. Tax free gains natch. At age 12 the plan may be withdrawn for all costs associated with the Gender Transition. Such as surgery, medication, new clothes, counselling and advisory sessions for child + immediate family.

(I satire?)
————————
Satire?
Not really .
Just out of touch.
As usual.

#202 richard on 01.13.23 at 8:49 pm

“After three years the feds have told their army of civil servants to return to the office. Two days a week. Starting in March”

What a giant blunder the government is making by requesting these workers to come back for only 2 days in the office. If they can have a tantrum over this imagine what it will be like to get them back to 5 days. There is no case for any type of negotiation on this matter. They were hired to work in an office and have access to very sensitive information. Nothing says secure like having your kids in front of you posting Tik Tok videos while you’re asking Canadians for their SIN numbers and tax information. Just look at the results of this WFH experiment. Even though the government has ballooned the size of it’s workforce since the pandemic many of these federal agencies are now a mess.

#203 Alois on 01.13.23 at 8:50 pm

Conversions of hi rises from commercial to multi- uses including residential:

Here in BC

https://theelectra.ca/

Welcome To The Electra

A Mid-Century Icon In The Heart Of Downtown Vancouver

Located at the corner of Burrard and Nelson in downtown Vancouver, The Electra is a solid class-A heritage building dating back to the year 1957. Formerly the headquarters of BC Hydro, the unique 21-story skyscraper was converted into residential and commercial strata units in 1995.

The Electra is located in a convenient, central part of the city – within walking distance of everything from the grocery stores, trendy restaurants, shopping malls the seawall and even a popular movie theatre.

In addition, residents enjoy access to The Electra’s gym, social club, billiards room, media room and outdoor BBQ area.

The building also boasts three fully-equipped guest suites for the use of owners and residents, as well as one of the largest bike rooms in the city.

#204 Arctic Gringo: Qalunaaq on 01.13.23 at 8:55 pm

The latest Sunwing, Westjet and Air Canada mid-management rumour is that their pilots and flight attendants and airport ground crews were WFH before Christmas, and that the delays and cancellations had absolutely nothing to do with weather. The staff apparently figured that they should be able to perform their jobs remotely too, matter how silly WFH sounded to them.

My dentist and her staff of 5 hygenists are all considering WFH as well, even when they don’t reside in the same dwelling. I guess I’ll be the house calls.

My Peterbuilt parts guy wants to deliver my parts from his home. Maybe he’ll contract that out or through drones. Maybe the drone can carry a 200 lbs differential?

Can I 3D print a 4000 sq. ft. house so the framers and plumbers can work WFH too? You know, equality for all.

#205 bubu on 01.13.23 at 9:00 pm

#183 VladTor, you don’t have a clue… I don’t work for Gov… You know what DevOps 7/24 is? I know is a bit above your intelligence level but that is ok, I’ll pay taxes to make sure you get your welfare.

#206 Ponzius Pilatus on 01.13.23 at 9:04 pm

#120 FURZ
Not to worry Maureen.
The looming recession is an equal opportunity unemployer.

Boomers and Mills will all be cutting each others throats for the disappearing jobs.
————————
You’re telling the future again?
You have not delivered on the previous ones (Putin’s head on “spike”, and gas at 3 bucks).
Is that how you run your “plumming” business?

#207 Ohm on 01.13.23 at 9:06 pm

#191 TS

Spot on, there is a difference (in my experience) from Muni workers to Gov workers. Muni’s mostly temp jobs (usually 8 months per yr) work there butts off, not all but most. When laid off in my region pick up something on the side. Hired many of them. The largest complaint I get out of them is how the full time office staff was able to get away (and is still) from this WFH crap and others have mentioned if, and I mean If they return your call it is with dogs barking, kids screaming, loud tv or music in the background. It is getting to the point that if politicians does not do something about this then the general populace will. What a gong show!!!

#208 45north on 01.13.23 at 9:07 pm

Oversight. Office culture and values. Collaboration. Relationship-building. And if you want a road to advancement, be visible.

I worked 40 years in the Federal Civil Service. All of it in the office. The first ten years were at Stats Can. Stats Can is a highly centralized department. There are three groups: subject matter, methodology and IT (Information Technology) with IT at the bottom. Back in the day, everybody went to the office. I learned the corporate culture because I was in the office. 5 days a week. How else are you going to know anything?

#209 Ohm on 01.13.23 at 9:12 pm

#197 Hmm
lol. unless you are self employed and will sell your soul for that option. Good-luck! :)

#210 Wrk.dover on 01.13.23 at 9:16 pm

No way I am reading 200 narcistic comments just so I can interject, home is where the vice is!

Bottom line.

#211 Phylis on 01.13.23 at 9:22 pm

Most of it is about the commute.

#212 David W2 on 01.13.23 at 9:23 pm

Unions have fought for rights other sectors now enjoy. This is just another step in progress and culture evolving.

#213 ritenote on 01.13.23 at 9:28 pm

Jerome Powell, Fed Chair wants Boomers to “unretire” and return to the workplace….not hard to figure out why…

#214 Ham and Eggs on 01.13.23 at 9:29 pm

The CRA prides itself on finding “theft” so I suggest the government do a ‘time theft’ sweep on all civil servant work hours logged. It’s simple enough. It’s just an audit of information already logged on every machine. They don’t have to buy any new gear and no new training is required. Hey if they can catch CERB frauds they can catch employee fraud. If the government would demand proof of hours work and immediatly claw back time theft from workers either doing laundry or walking the dog when they should be working, we would probably find a lot of recoverable wages and benefits. Bathroom breaks are regulated at work…why not at home? And what about those sick days when you couldn’t come to work? Claw them back …you’re already home in bed !! And, what about a home office camera so the supervisor can look over your shoulder to make sure you’re not just watching porn? And make it mandatory you wear office attire for those spontaneous meetings? No more pants off touchy sessions when the minister doesn’t remember he’s on Zoom? Just a thought.

#215 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.13.23 at 9:35 pm

@#198 Ponzie’s Pejorative People Pun

” Your ears must be burning constantly.
Get some people skill.”

+++++

Alas Ponzie, most govt workers lack “skill” as opposed to the private sector that are full of “skilled” tradesmen with “skills”.

I heard tonight on the radio that for every 5 tradesmen that retire….there is 1 tradesmen to replace them.

Seems like the trades are the place to be in the next 25 years.

#216 VladTor on 01.13.23 at 9:44 pm

#189 earthboundmisfit on 01.13.23 at 8:08 pm
The federal civil service is seriously bloated.

____________

To understand why simply read this book “The Peter Principle”.

You will understand how working any big hierarchical system.

#217 Vancouver Keith on 01.13.23 at 9:48 pm

I love some of these comments, complaining about an inefficient … CRA. Think about it. I suspect the 100% WFH is a bargaining chip that will fall, don’t see the workers hitting the bricks over two days a week in the office.

#218 Doug t on 01.13.23 at 9:57 pm

#177 sail away

You lost me here – wth are you telling anyone this ? Hero biscuit?

#219 Doug in London on 01.13.23 at 10:16 pm

If I were one of those government workers, I would just assume that WFH was a temporary arrangement and one day we would be back in the office, and plan for it accordingly. End of story, see you coworkers there, period.

As for all those underutilized office towers, converting some of them to residential space is actually a good idea.

#220 Scipio Canadense on 01.13.23 at 10:23 pm

Excellent observations and insight good sir. A thought provoking post.

#145 T-Rev on 01.13.23 at 5:49 pm

When I read the above comment, I could have just as easily written it myself…except I am mid 50s. The parallels are uncanny.

I too am a team lead in a mid-size organization and my observations have been similar with the biggest challenges being, hiring, onboarding, training/mentoring and project team collaboration. When all of the work is distributed but has to come together in a whole to complete a part of a larger project, WFH adds an additional element of challenge. It can be done, but as #145 noted not as easily. Even then retention has become an unfortunate casualty despite competitive salaries and benefits (We still offer BD pensions). The short term solution for me has been to entice back recently retired employees who enjoyed the work and found they had not much to do during the pandemic. Most of the above noted issues disappeared with these people and they get happily paid on a straight contract basis without benefits. The added and ironic bonus is that most of them could easily WFH as they have the technical and institutional knowledge, skills and proven self discipline to WFH but prefer to come to the office. Go figure.

SC

#221 Ronaldo on 01.13.23 at 10:31 pm

#215 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.13.23 at 9:35 pm
@#198 Ponzie’s Pejorative People Pun

” Your ears must be burning constantly.
Get some people skill.”

+++++

Alas Ponzie, most govt workers lack “skill” as opposed to the private sector that are full of “skilled” tradesmen with “skills”.

I heard tonight on the radio that for every 5 tradesmen that retire….there is 1 tradesmen to replace them.

Seems like the trades are the place to be in the next 25 years.
—————————————————————
Absolutely. With 500,000 new immigrants per year into Canada which is equivalent to 10 cities of 50,000 people each year, tradepeople will be very busy building housing for them. You will recall that in the 80s recession the government got rid of most of their skilled workers when privatizing the highways, sections of the forest service (log scalers, forest technicians, carpentry shops, mechanical shops, marine, warehouses, etc.) and others. We will have no shortage of workers (who want to work).

#222 Gulf Breeze on 01.13.23 at 10:42 pm

We no longer live feudal lives where we have to work in close proximity to the lord of the manor. We have already sacrificed enough to rapacious corporations who underpay employees to keep their share prices up.

Whatever happened to that conservative, libertarian, free agent dream?

#223 Ohm on 01.13.23 at 10:47 pm

#212 David W2
lol, that is the funniest thing I have read. Union heads are in bed with whatever company that employs the poor souls that pay there wages.
When was the last time you called your union head to ask for help?? How many times have staff seen union heads hang out with the (hint,hint, free lunches, dinners, golf games, hockey tickets, cinema etc.) so called heads of Corps that the union is actually being in a state of conflict of interest.
Young people see it all the time; 5g is going to make it that much more uncomfortable for you; just saying that there are many preying eyes out there. Me, I do not give a shit any longer, I am too old for this but I am listening to the young angry ones and I really am quite impressed on what they are doing; be careful, they are pissed…

#224 crowdedelevatorfartz on 01.13.23 at 11:50 pm

@#223 Ohm
“they are pissed…”

+++
Everyone is p!ssed.
Vote accordingly.

#225 American Home Buyer on 01.13.23 at 11:53 pm

Here is a tip for all the broke and indebted in Canada.
Instead of spending 2 mill on dirt and drywall in crime ridden Canada – take your 2 mill to small towns with universities and colleges across the USA and buy older homes that can accomodate lots of students. You will be doing a good service for everyone in these towns. Check the local zoning and housing needs in the towns before you spend.
Everyone wins!

#226 the Jaguar on 01.14.23 at 12:02 am

One reads through the comments today, where what can only be described as ‘the great perpetual divide’ between those who value ‘XY&Z’ and those who think otherwise stands in such stark and nauseating contrast. Check out post # 4 from Dave who writes ” “A way to advancement”…what a shallow goal.” if you need an example. What’s smaller Dave…your ambition, your brain, or your understanding of who and what provided you the standard of living you currently enjoy?

Values. Today it is WFH versus bum’s back in seats. Other issues on other days, but whatever the subject at hand, increasingly it comes down to one thing: how in hell am I going to get away from these lazy bast__ds and live out the rest of my life without their constant bleating resentment and entitlement ringing in my ears. I wonder if the winning Loto ticket might buy me my own private island, but it seems doubtful.

I never thought I would consider leaving Canada. I suppose it’s unlikely at this stage in my life, but increasingly the idea of establishing a base elsewhere has real appeal. I understand perfectly why amigo a mi DonG loves his digs and the locals in Mexico. Thanks again for providing the ‘real deal’ on recent happenings there DonG, if you are reading.

The current and coming changes to the urban centers and their demographics as reported in census numbers gives one pause for thought. Whether real estate is up or down, it’s going to be a sh_t show. Monsters and ‘Ponytails’ roaming the quiet countryside and urban landscapes who seem to be reproducing faster than the most current version of Covid. Why hang back with the Brutes?

Then again, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (conquest, war, famine and death) hooves pound ever nearer. With the blood of Vikings coursing through my veins, I just might survive the whole debacle. But what does survival look like in a ragged new world? Somehow I think it will begin to resemble the past. We blinked and a return of the roaring twenties passed us by…now it’s 1939 deja vu all over again. Mercy.

#227 Travelling on 01.14.23 at 12:06 am

WFH or WFW. Who cares? Are corporate profits up? Are dividend increases happening on a regular basis? They are? Fantastic!

Whether in the office or not, 80% of the workforce has always been a bunch of coasters with 20% going above and beyond. If that 20% wants WFH or WFW, I wouldn’t stand in their way.

This sounds like another personal ego trip. Society changes.

Adapt!

#228 SoggyShorts on 01.14.23 at 12:17 am

#140 A Dollar is a Dollar is a Dollar on 01.13.23 at 5:43 pm


Every person should have a similar basic exemption, and each category of earnings should have the same level of taxation.

Just like under the great, smart, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, we should be taxing the wealthiest categories at 80-90%.
********************************
“Each category should be the same”
+
“Some categories should be 90%”
=
Everyone should pay 90%, right?

You need to make up your mind, whether a dollar is a dollar, or not.

#229 Jon B on 01.14.23 at 12:19 am

Oh come on, stop dancing around the issue. At the heart of WFH is the sole premise that most employees simply want to get paid while putting in a bare minimum of effort in an environment that is minimaly inconvenient to their lifestyle. Impressing the boss? Going the extra mile to earn a promotion? Get real, that’s pre-2010 behavior. Society is becoming unglued and WFH is part of this unraveling. I suspect big Tech will offer some sort of solution to highly decentralized businesses that involves the collection and monitoring of data.

#230 SoggyShorts on 01.14.23 at 12:23 am

#4 Dave on 01.13.23 at 1:52 pm

“Oversight. Office culture and values. Collaboration. Relationship-building. And if you want a road to advancement, be visible. Deny all you wish, but that’s still the way humans relate to each other. – Garth”
—————————————————-
“A way to advancement”…what a shallow goal.

**********************
Shallow? I get that work-life balance for some is the ultimate goal, but are promotions, growth, and raises no longer desirable at all?
What about retiring at a reasonable age? How does one expect that to happen without advancement?

#231 Linda on 01.14.23 at 1:39 am

I’m somewhat surprised by the amount of hostility expressed about WFH. It isn’t like this is something that never happened before Covid. It just wasn’t so widespread. Also, how does one reconcile headlines proclaiming 1 million positions are unfilled with comments saying various generations will be fighting each other to get a diminishing number of jobs? As for firing all the government employees & contracting out – presumably overseas – do you really want your personal information being handed over to foreign nationals? Keep in mind your tax information contains your name, SIN number, home address & since direct deposit is a thing your banking information. Might be worth reconsidering that idea. Just saying.

#232 DON on 01.14.23 at 1:49 am

#189 earthboundmisfit on 01.13.23 at 8:08 pm
The federal civil service is seriously bloated. Perhaps the CRA is a good place to start the thinning.

*******
You just made their list!

#233 Old English on 01.14.23 at 1:55 am

DELETED (Anti-vax doodle)

#234 Barry on 01.14.23 at 3:31 am

No I couldn’t imagine working for you but if I needed a reliable worker and you gave her/him a favorable reference I would hire them in a heartbeat.

#235 mark on 01.14.23 at 5:03 am

No dog in the fight, but it has been eye rolling to see mayors and ceos of reits howling like wounded animals in the media at every opportunity.

Being scalded to come back by these people would surely have the opposite effect.

#236 Mr Burns on 01.14.23 at 7:36 am

Homer tripled his productivity with wfh, and then….

#237 millmech on 01.14.23 at 7:37 am

#221 Ronaldo
The money out there for trades is very good right now, one of our electricians is working afternoons shifts for our company seven days a week and works for another company wiring houses during the day, everyday.
I asked how much she is taking in a month being that busy and she showed me here pay stubs, the young lady is clearing $15,000 a month between both jobs.
I do not know many twenty four year old people who make this but she is well on her way and is getting ready to open her own company soon.

#238 Habitt on 01.14.23 at 7:39 am

There has to be an understanding between people that have work and people that need work. Roberto d’Aubuisson.

#239 No WFH for employees accessing sensitive info on 01.14.23 at 7:48 am

Does anyone know of a bank/credit union that has mandated their call centre staff back to the office full time? If yes, please share the names as I’m fed up with encountering WFH phone reps and I’d like to move my business over.

It is beyond high time for workers who have access to our personal/sensitive information to return to the office full time, for the sake of security of said personal/sensitive information–banking, taxes, health. I believe these institutions owe a duty of care to their customers first.

Since the pandemic started, in my many calls to banks, CRA, provincial ministry of health, I’ve experienced/heard:
-dropped calls
-barking dogs
-crying babies
-voices of other occupants in the home
-doors creaking open/closed
-yes, very long wait times for the CRA
-and yes, the warning that some CRA employees may be using cell phones and that there are risks that we need to accept it we proceed. Well, if we need the help, we must proceed, but why should we have to accept that kind of risk? We wouldn’t if they returned to the office full time and used their given landlines.

So, just how secure is our information? Who else is seeing the workers’ screens or hearing details of the calls? Is their window open, because voices travel very well particularly if they bounce between the sides of houses–I’ve heard conversations from inside the house when standing outside near the open window. Can we really trust that the workers are not writing down our info to be used nefariously by them or someone they know? Cell phones can become recording/listening devices. Some bank phone reps say that they’re not allowed to have cell phones in the room with them when they’re working. Do they really comply and who is looking in on them about any of this when they’re WFH? Isn’t every remote connection a possible weak point into the whole system and how can employers possibly shore those up?

I know of people in the private sector who have already been recalled to the office full time. They’re getting through their work and handling respiratory illnesses that people catch from activities outside of work. Mask up when it’s crowded, open windows, stay home when sick, wash hands.

I am also aware of a company whose union has said to its membership repeatedly, that it is ultimately the employer’s decision whether employees can or can’t continue to WFH, that the employer has right to return people back to the office, that there is no language in their collective agreement that gives the union the ability to change that.

Let’s hope that the federal government stated this clearly in any agreement with CRA employees, and that a hybrid arrangement morphs into a gradual full time return to office for these people who have access to our very sensitive personal information. The government would be foolish to give up any bit of control over this employer right to the unions.

#240 Wrk.dover on 01.14.23 at 7:56 am

#177 Sail Away on 01.13.23 at 7:33 pm
I’ve been working hard since last March to achieve 50 pullups in a single set in my 50th year. Currently at 38, so not crazy far away, but still far.
____________________________

Got my 5th jab the other day, the tech couldn’t believe my arm was relaxed, not flexed, until she lifted my wrist and dropped it on the chair arm.

M69NS

#241 Phylis on 01.14.23 at 7:58 am

If your work from home goals are all measureable won’t it reduce any creative inputs for and to the group, i mean you’ll just turn into a robot and limit any personal growth opportunities? Sounds like get in the box and stay in your box type of scenario. Ha ha. ( heard all about call center front line wfh from the other side recently, ps choose the french option, you’ll thank me)

#242 BeenthereBrad on 01.14.23 at 8:14 am

Garth, easy to agree with you. Perhaps as a boomer also, we see the work culture differently then these newest generations. We were not handed near the handouts, they have been given. The pandemic was the worst thing to happen from a work culture standpoint. Musk said no choice, 40 hours at the office and enjoy your off time after that. Iger gave in to the snowflakes for a 4 day office mandate, sadly. The road to financial freedom for these newer generation will be through inheriting the labours of their boomer parents when they die off. The horizon does not look overly bright does it?

#243 ImGonnaBeSick on 01.14.23 at 8:18 am

#169 kommykim on 01.13.23 at 7:14 pm

That’s definitely the sensible answer… I liked mine making fun of them instead, but yours is definitely correct as well.

#244 Re-Cowtown on 01.14.23 at 8:19 am

And this is why Alberta needs the Soverignty Act: To protect Alberta from Green activists, politicians and bureaucrats who can’t do math.

Before their “Green Transition” coal accounted for 8% of German power generation. Now it is 31% and likely to climb.

Next stop will be burning cut up tires to keep the Mercedes factories running…

https://www.zerohedge.com/energy/big-green-mess-germany-coal-stunning-31-electricity-production

#245 Bileth on 01.14.23 at 8:22 am

An effective manager will ensure their staff is productive and responsive. If not, staff must be appropriately performance managed.

Visibility can be important, but it isn’t the only thing that determines suitability for promotion. Such is the current job market and hiring processes.

Employees saving countless hours on commute and being able to spend time with family or exercising, organizations saving millions on commercial real estate and reallocating that budget to other costs – just two significant benefits of some amount of WFH.

#246 Matt on 01.14.23 at 9:30 am

As someone who had to be on site throughout the pandemic (live of a trademark) I really don’t mind the reduction in traffic. Change isn’t always scary ;) Have a great weekend

#247 Honest Realtor on 01.14.23 at 10:07 am

A big part of this debate over WFH is the current labour shortage, which reduces employer leverage in work location discussions.

The enormous upcoming increase in immigration will help even things out, creating more return to the workplace.

In just the next couple of years, Canada plans to have over 1.45 million new permanent residents.

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2023/01/14/why-canadas-plan-to-bring-in-145-million-permanent-residents-wont-fix-the-labour-shortage.html

But it is complicated to fulfil our employment needs, and this will be just the beginning. Many more immigrants will be needed in the next decades. We will hit 50 million population here surprisingly soon, and then it will be only upwards from there. Housing demand will correlate directly with this demographic tidal wave. Jobs, workers, homes and immigration are all closely connected, by necessity.

#248 Dharma Bum on 01.14.23 at 10:25 am

#146 Ian

Hi Garth, My only comment today is on childcare in Ottawa. It’s incredibly difficult to get a spot and that was in Jan 2021, today, no way. We got one by chance, otherwise one of us was taking leave without pay. Again not debating if CRA should be striking. Just stating that during COVID people bailed on daycares, obviously some didn’t reopen. It’s a mess in Ottawa to find care.
—————————————————————————————————-

Here’s a novel idea:

You wanna have kids?

How about TAKE CARE OF THEM YOURSELF!!!

WFH = Eff The Dee

#249 Maureen on 01.14.23 at 2:09 pm

Garth, I totally agree with you that we need to properly tax assets such as homes, whether used for residential only or a hybrid workplace.

But in the midst of a global environmental crisis, you are saying lets all quadruple our carbon footprint again, get back in our cars and commute into the office!!??

You cannot be serious. This is the same kind of horrific wilfull blindness that got us into this problem from the 1970s onward. Look at the lies and distractions that were created by Exxon, among many corps.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2354492-exxon-scientists-in-the-1970s-accurately-predicted-climate-change/

You need to stop looking backwards. Look forward, Garth. Please.

You like car-centric suburban sprawl better than downtown density? Weird. – Garth

#250 mark on 01.14.23 at 5:55 pm

#239 No WFH for employees accessing sensitive info

It’s not just local WFH. Depending on what I’m calling about when ringing my bank, I’ll often end up talking to someone in the Philippines. Last year on a call I heard a rooster crowing in the background!

#251 Ohm on 01.14.23 at 6:51 pm

#224 crowdedelevatorfartz

Always do but us old folks are thinning out. I will go to my grave knowing that I did the best I could. :)

#252 BRM2000 on 01.15.23 at 12:34 am

This is a very tricky problem, there are good arguments on both sides. However, the real question is what is going to actually prevail — WFM or office work. The “powers that be” seem to have pushed the panic button and demanded everyone go back to work. Is this social engineering or a legitimate attempt to bring back the social camaraderie to the work place? As these 2 forces labour vs management fight it out, there are larger trends at work that will supersede and influence what actually happens. For example, someone I know who does hr for a major bank told me that new lawyers they hire are offered nice big corner offices and perks like that, but they turn them down to demand to be able to WFH; the banks usually cave.

So if the “elite influencers” of the corporate world are getting to work from home, why wouldn’t the rest of them look at this and say, why not me? The continuing high cost of gas and inflation of durable goods is pushing people to cut back on costs. In the civil service, there is a considerable divide of “boomer” managers that are derided their millennial workers, with gen x in the middle as usual. The boomer managers want people back in the office. I think on balance, the negatives of going into the office outweigh the positives. Businesses can’t disagree that the work is not getting done, it is. The extra costs of commuting, clothing, putting up with social sadism (office politics) public bathrooms, Covid risks all out weigh the occasional good joke one might hear at the water cooler. It really is on the knifes edge, one more crisis will kill going to the office forever. It could be another pandemic, an unfortunate disaster in an office area (Putin missile etc. dirty bomb), energy crisis etc. Last time I was downtown in a corporate food court it was a grim affair. Not many workers, lots of security guards everywhere to block the homeless coming in. It had the air of desperation. The best thing was how clean everything was.

#253 GTA on 01.16.23 at 10:39 am

WFH is the only green initiative that will have a significant impact on the environment as fossil fuel consumption is drastically reduced.

#254 SignWave on 01.16.23 at 10:57 am

Here is one result of the WFH experiment in a highly creative field requiring team collaboration:
Start @ 17:20

https://youtu.be/rVvh6QrjgHU