Canadian banks delay employees’ return to offices until at least spring

November 26, 2020

By Nichola Saminather

TORONTO (Reuters) – Toronto-Dominion Bank said the majority of its employees are unlikely to come back to their workplaces until at least the spring, an internal memo seen by Reuters on Thursday showed, joining rivals Bank of Montreal and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in delaying a return to work sites.

“A return to TD locations at scale (is) not likely until at least the spring,” Kenn Lalonde, executive vice president for human resources at Canada’s second-largest lender, said in the memo.

“Should you be asked to return before then, we will continue to make every effort to provide you with four weeks advance notice,” he added.

On Wednesday, BMO and CIBC said employees working from home will continue to do so until at least April.

Most office-based employees at Canadian banks have been working remotely since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March. A resurgence in cases in many parts of the country, including Toronto, has prompted the resumption of lockdowns and tighter safety measures.

About 40% of downtown Toronto tenants are financial and law firms, according to Deloitte, and banks occupy many of the city’s prime office towers.

Royal Bank of Canada, the nation’s largest lender, hasn’t set a timeframe for a return to its workplaces. But in a Nov. 12 memo seen by Reuters, the bank encouraged employees in the Toronto area who had gone back to their work sites to resume working from home if possible due to provincial lockdowns.

Bank of Nova Scotia has chosen not to set a specific timeframe for remote-working employees to return, given continued uncertainty around the pandemic, according to an e-mailed statement.

“We have advised employees that they will receive ample notice of any re-entry plans, including at least four weeks notice, should they be asked to return to the physical office setting,” the statement said.

(Reporting by Nichola Saminather; Editing by Paul Simao)

Public Affairs