Is remote work here to stay? Policy makers can play a role in shaping the future of work for Canadians

TORONTO, March 2, 2023 – Three years after 40% of Canada’s workforce shifted suddenly to working remotely, policy makers have a unique opportunity to assess the returns of the experience and shape the future of work in Canada. A new report from the CSA Public Policy Centre, Out of Office: The Public Policy Implications of Remote Work, describes the key benefits, drawbacks and implications of remote work, and explores a range of economic, social, and environmental questions that should inform ongoing decisions about the return to office. The report concludes with four recommendations for policy makers to help guide remote work conversations across Canada.

Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rapid adoption of remote work, there has been a dramatic shift in the expectations and preferences of working Canadians. The results of a CSA Public Policy Centre survey of 1,280 Canadians conducted in December 2022 help illustrate this shift in preferences and expectations:

  • 81% of younger workers (aged 25-44) identified remote/hybrid roles as their ideal working situation compared to 61% of workers over the age of 55,
  • 59% of remote/hybrid workers would take an on-site role if it offered the same or more pay, while 68% of on-site workers would take a remote/hybrid role for the same or more pay,
  • 49% of respondents stated that they would consider moving to a lower-cost-of-living community if they could work remotely, with another 22% saying they might consider such a move, and 29% stating they would not consider it.

“The pandemic has brought about many changes, one of which is how we work,” says Sunil Johal, Vice President, Public Policy at CSA Group.

Given the broad range of issues that remote work impacts, including the housing crisis, climate change and productivity, government leaders can play an important role in charting a path towards a modern, inclusive workforce that can compete globally.”

Following a thorough assessment of the benefits, drawbacks and implications of remote work, the report outlines four strategies for government leaders to consider. These include:

  • Developing accessible and affordable digital infrastructure throughout Canada
  • Updating federal and provincial labour laws to account for the rise in remote work
  • Reviewing and assessing tax and revenue issues related to remote work
  • Optimizing policy frameworks ranging from immigration to skills-training through a talent attraction and retention lens

“Whatever the future holds for remote work in Canada, decisions should be informed by evidence-based policies,” added Johal.

At this juncture, Canadian policymakers not only have a unique opportunity to shape a future of work that is healthier, more productive and equitable, but to seize the opportunity to position Canada as a desirable remote-work destination of choice for international workers.”

To download CSA Public Policy Centre, Out of Office: The Public Policy Implications of Remote Work and learn more about the Public Policy Centre.

About CSA Group
CSA Group is a global organization dedicated to safety, social good and sustainability. We are a leader in North American standards development and in product testing, inspection and certification around the world. Our mandate is to hold the future to a higher standard.

For more information, please contact:
Kimberly Gibson
CSA Group
[email protected]


March 2, 2023