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Leaders need one focus, to help stop the spread of coronavirus: an open letter from Canadian business leaders


March 15, 2020


An open letter from Canadian business leaders.

The organizations and employers we represent compete fiercely every day. Today we stand united in a shared battle against COVID-19.

We urge every leader in the country to immediately shift focus to the singular objective of slowing the pace of transmission of this coronavirus.

International experience demonstrates that social distancing is the only effective method, and is in the best interests of our employees, their families and our communities.

While this will have significant economic impact on our businesses in the short term, it is critical to weathering this storm and will hasten the recovery.

Governments across the country have acted yet these measures will only be effective if all employers step up and do their part to protect the nation’s health and welfare.

The undersigned have taken important steps and urge your organizations to join us:

· Urge your employees to stop all non-essential travel, whether for personal or business reasons. Travel exposes people to infection, increasing risk for their personal and professional contacts.

· Enable your employees to practise social distancing. Facilitate work-from-home for all non-critical business functions. Work with government, if necessary, to ensure sick pay for workers. Cancel any in-person gatherings or events. Ensure that mental-health services are in place to support those in need during a period of social isolation.

· Maintain essential services to Canadians. In co-ordination with government, develop clear guidelines to protect the health of employees who provide critical services to the public.

· Understand that your employees are looking to you for leadership and trusted information in turbulent times. Share trusted advice from public health agencies and communicate consistently and clearly with your employees. Recap the latest guidance and show them what you’re doing to support it.

On behalf of all of us, including millions of colleagues and employees, thank you to all healthcare workers on the front lines on whom we are relying to help us through this emergency. We have enormous respect and gratitude for your efforts.


  • Wendy Andrushko, president, DuPont Canada
  • Charles Brindamour, chief executive officer, Intact Financial
  • Neil Chrystal, president and CEO, Polygon Homes
  • Dean Connor, president and CEO, Sun Life
  • Neil Cunningham, CEO and president of Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP)
  • Dennis Darby, president and CEO, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters
  • Paul Desmarais III, senior vice-president, Power Corporation of Canada
  • Victor Dodig, president and CEO, CIBC
  • Charles Emond, president and CEO, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ)
  • Gordon J. Fyfe, CEO, British Columbia Investment Management Corporation
  • Russ Girling, president and CEO, TC Energy
  • Tim Gitzel, president and CEO, Cameco
  • Roy Gori, President and CEO, Manulife Financial
  • Blake Hutcheson, president, OMERS
  • Goldy Hyder, president and CEO, Business Council of Canada
  • Hassan Khosrowshahi, chairman, Persis Holdings
  • Michael Latimer, CEO of OMERS
  • Don Lindsay, president and CEO, Teck Resources
  • Chuck Magro, president and CEO, Nutrien
  • Dr. Mark Machin, president and CEO, CPP Investments
  • Bharat Masrani, group president and CEO, TD Bank Group
  • Michael McCain, president and CEO, Maple Leaf Foods
  • David McKay, president and CEO, Royal Bank of Canada
  • John Peller, chairman and CEO, Andrew Peller Ltd.
  • Brian Porter, president and CEO, Scotiabank
  • Alex Pourbaix, president and CEO, Cenovus Energy
  • Ian D. Smith, CEO, Clearwater Seafoods
  • Louis Vachon, president and CEO, National Bank of Canada
  • Darryl White, CEO, BMO Financial Group
  • Mark Wiseman, founder, FCLTGlobal


Source: CEOs call on peers to take action on limiting spread of virus in workplaces (Globe and Mail)