Strike could be last hurrah for Ottawa’s core as public servants fight for telework

Downtown Ottawa is buzzing with public servants in numbers that haven’t been seen since before the pandemic.

And it’s all thanks to workers fighting for the right not to have to be there.

Tuesday marks six days since more than 150,000 public servants walked off the job as part of their contract negotiations with the federal government.

One of the major sticking points is the union’s call for more flexibility to allow workers to do their jobs from home.

In December Treasury Board President Mona Fortier directed office workers who had spent most of the pandemic working remotely to return to the office at least two days a week.

After COVID-19 hit, the city’s downtown businesses have suffered without throngs of workers to frequent them.

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Downtown Ottawa city councillor Ariel Troster says she thinks public servants will never return the core full time and the city needs to rethink how it supports the businesses that once relied on the workers.

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