Toronto encouraging employers to work remotely until at least September

May 29 2020, 8:13 pm

Mayor John Tory announced that the City of Toronto and a number of the city’s other major downtown employers, as well as Toronto’s post-secondary institutions, will continue to support employees, to work from home until September at the earliest.

On Friday, Tory said this effort is part of the work the City is doing to keep pressure off the TTC and Metrolinx, as the city’s restart and recovery period begins.

According to Tory, telecommuting and a commitment to phasing-in the return of employees to work and staggering start times will help businesses maintain physical distancing and reduce pressure on public transit as more businesses resume operations.

“We are doing everything we can as a municipal government with the help of businesses, institutions, and non-profits to help residents and businesses get through this pandemic and the restart and recovery of our economy,” Tory said.

“As Toronto reopens more businesses, it is critical that we follow public health guidelines and return employees to the workplace in safe and manageable ways. Asking banks and other major employers in the downtown core to wait until at least September to begin returning the majority of their employees to work will help alleviate pressure on public transit and allow physical distancing to be maintained.”

The City of Toronto, as a major downtown employer, will also continue to prioritize working remotely and will encourage all staff who are able to continue to work from home as the city continues to deal with COVID-19.

The new Toronto Office of Recovery and Rebuild (TORR) has been reaching out to finance and insurance companies, universities and colleges, and other large employers to request that they return employees to the workplace in a safe and gradual way while adhering to public health guidelines.

Finance and insurance employees account for approximately 12% of all public transit commuters in Toronto – more than 57,000 use transit as their main mode of commuting. Over half of students at Toronto’s universities and colleges also commute by transit including to downtown campuses.

Tory said that if workers start after 9 am it can “fit sleep patterns better for some Torontonians” and alleviate TTC pressure, by having people use transit on off-peak times.

Currently, the TTC is running at 20%. Tory said that it can safely run at 30% capacity — an additional 180,000 people a day.

The City has received commitments from several major employers to support a gradual and proactive approach to reopening and to help the City work safely towards recovery and rebuilding:

  • Bank of Montreal
  • Canada Life
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
  • Centennial College
  • Deloitte Canada
  • EY Canada
  • George Brown College
  • Humber College
  • KPMG Canada
  • Manulife
  • National Bank
  • OCAD University
  • PwC Canada
  • Rogers Communications
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Ryerson University
  • Scotiabank
  • Seneca College
  • Sun Life Financial
  • TD Bank
  • University of Toronto
  • Yamana Gold Inc.
  • York University
  • Zurich Canada

The City is encouraging all large employers to adopt similar measures and to work with their facilities management to assess floor layouts and access to workplaces (such as use of elevators), determine how to safely meet with customers, adjust work shifts and business hours and review practices and procedures being implemented by other employers.

In addition to this, there will also be the ActiveTO plan to build up Toronto’s bike network and a strong recommendation for all people who travel on transit to wear a mask.

To date, there are 10, 901 total coronavirus cases in Toronto with 8,086 recovered. There are 810 reported deaths.

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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