Telecommuting, and a commitment to phasing-in the return of employees to work and staggering start times where possible, will help businesses maintain physical distancing and reduce pressure on public transit as more businesses resume operations. 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 per cent 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.
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
- National Bank
- OCAD University
- PwC Canada
- Rogers Communications
- Royal Bank of Canada
- Ryerson University
- 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.
The City also announced today the launch of an outreach and consultation initiative to engage residents, communities and businesses, and to seek their perspectives on how the City can recover, rebuild and emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic even stronger.
Toronto’s recovery and rebuilding in the months to come will be guided by public health considerations and provincial decisions, but will also rely on residents, businesses and others sharing their unique insights on successfully restoring and rebuilding the City’s communities and social and economic infrastructure.
There are several ways to get involved:
- download a discussion guide
- provide feedback online or to TORR by June 30, or
- host a meeting or discussion – sample agendas and resources available online.
More information about the City's recovery and rebuild efforts, the online survey, and tips and resources to hold a meeting are available at toronto.ca/RecoveryRebuild
The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services, social supports and economic recovery measures. Check https://www.toronto.ca/covid-19/ for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.
“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. 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. As one of the major employers in the downtown core, the City of Toronto will also continue to prioritize working remotely.”
- Mayor John Tory
“It’s imperative that we partner with Toronto’s businesses and institutions when it comes to the economic restart of our city. Their commitment to supporting the recovery of Toronto and sharing their ideas and plans means that we can rebuild a stronger and better future for Toronto, while keeping everyone safe.”
- Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson, Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee (Ward 21 Scarborough Centre)
“As the City continues to respond to COVID-19, the health and safety of our employees, like other major employers, remains a top priority. We’ve taken a number of preventative measures to help ensure we protect our employees, including telework options wherever possible. The services the City provides are critical to millions of residents and businesses and I’m thankful to have a dedicated and committed public service who continue to do an outstanding job during this extremely difficult time.”
- Chris Murray, City Manager
"We are pleased with the discussions we had with major downtown employers and want to commend them for their commitment to a safe and gradual return of their employees. Now we look forward to hearing from residents, communities and other businesses with their insights on how to recover and rebuild and how Toronto can come out even stronger.”
- Saad Rafi, Chief Recovery and Rebuild Officer