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Opinion: Open letter from Canadian business leaders

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Darryl White, CEO of BMO Financial Group, recently joined other CEOs of large Canadian companies in a commitment to do their part to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

First published in The Globe and Mail, on March 16, 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

Ayman Antoun President IBM Canada

John Baker President and CEO D2L

Scott Balfour President and CEO Emera

Mark Barrenechea Vice Chair and Chief Executive Officer OpenText Corporation

Kevin Beingessner Chief Executive Officer Coril Holdings

Scott Bell President and Managing Director General Motors of Canada

Kilian Berz Managing Director and Senior Partner The Boston Consulting Group

Mirko Bibic President and CEO BCE Inc. and Bell Canada

Charles Brindamour Chief Executive Officer Intact Financial

John Chen Executive Chairman and CEO BlackBerry

Neil Chrystal President and CEO Polygon Homes

Donald Clow President and Chief Executive Officer Crombie REIT

Dean Connor President and CEO Sun Life

Guy Cormier President and CEO Desjardins Group

Ben Cowan-Dewar Co-Founder and Managing Director Cabot Links

Keith Creel President and Chief Executive Officer Canadian Pacific Railway

Stephan Crétier President & CEO Gardaworld

Neil Cunningham CEO and President Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP)

Rola Dagher President Cisco Systems Canada

Thomas d’Aquino Founding CEO Business Council of Canada

Dennis Darby President and CEO Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters

Dax Dasilva Chief Executive Officer Lightspeed POS

Daniel Daviau President and CEO Canaccord Genuity Group

Marc de La Bruyère Managing Director Maclab Development Group

Charles Deguire President Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder Kinova

Paul Desmarais III Chairman and CEO Sagard Holdings

Paul Desmarais Jr. Chair Power Corporation of Canada

Victor Dodig President and CEO CIBC

Ian C. Dundas CEO Enerplus

Ian Edwards President and CEO SNC-Lavalin

Charles Emond President and CEO Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ)

Dawn Farrell President and Chief Executive Officer TransAlta Corporation

David Filipchuk President and Chief Executive Officer PCL Constructors

Chris Fowler President & CEO CWB Financial Group

Gordon J. Fyfe CEO British Columbia Investment Management Corporation

Louis Gagnon President Mercer U.S. and Canada

Sabrina Geremia Country Director Google Canada

Russ Girling President and CEO TC Energy

Tim Gitzel President and CEO Cameco

Blake Goldring Executive Chairman AGF Management Limited

Roy Gori President and CEO Manulife Financial

Christine Healy President and Chief Executive Officer Total E&P Canada

Andrew Hider Chief Executive Officer ATS Automation Tooling Systems

Blake Hutcheson President OMERS

Goldy Hyder President and CEO Business Council of Canada

Gord Johnston President & CEO Stantec

Michael Katchen Founder and Chief Executive Officer Wealthsimple

Faisal Kazi President and Chief Executive Officer Siemens Canada

Hassan Khosrowshahi Chairman Persis Holdings Ltd.

Jeff Kinnaird President Home Depot of Canada

Patrick Lamarre President Kiewit Canada Group

Michael Latimer CEO OMERS

Don Lindsay President and CEO Teck Resources

Stephen Liptrap President and Chief Executive Officer Morneau Shepell

Mark Little President and Chief Executive Officer Suncor Energy

Jon Love Chief Executive Officer KingSett Capital

Marcelo Lu President BASF Canada

Elio Luongo Chief Executive Officer and Senior Partner, Canada KPMG LLP

Dr. Mark Machin President and CEO CPP Investments

Chuck Magro President and CEO Nutrien

Nicolas Marcoux Chief Executive Officer and Senior Partner PwC Canada

Bharat Masrani Group President and CEO TD Bank

Michael McCain President and CEO Maple Leaf Foods

Mike McDerment Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Freshbooks

David McKay President and CEO Royal Bank of Canada

Gordon McKenzie President and Chief Executive Officer Canpotex Limited

John McKenzie Interim CEO TMX

Al Monaco President and Chief Executive Officer Enbridge

Andrew Moor President and CEO Equitable Bank

Doug Murphy President and Chief Executive Officer Corus Entertainment

Joe Natale President and Chief Executive Officer Rogers Communications

Jeffrey Orr President and Chief Executive Officer Power Corporation of Canada

Rob Peabody CEO Husky Energy

Kevin Peesker President Microsoft Canada

John Peller Chairman and CEO Andrew Peller Limited

Rob Penner President and CEO Bison Transport

Cole Pinnow President Pfizer Canada

Sam Pollock Chief Executive Officer Brookfield Infrastructure Partners

Brian Porter President and CEO Scotiabank

Alex Pourbaix President and CEO Cenovus Energy

Ricardo Prosperi President, Canada Tenaris

Dani Reiss President & Chief Executive Officer Canada Goose

Michael Rencheck President and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Power

Hartley Richardson President & Chief Executive Officer James Richardson & Sons Limited

John Risley Chairman and Chief Executive Officer CFFI Ventures

Jean-Jacques Ruest President & Chief Executive Officer CN

Jeffrey Russell President, Canada, and Senior Managing Director Accenture

Steve Sammut President and CEO Rocky Mountaineer

Lino Saputo Jr. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Saputo

George Schindler President & Chief Executive Officer CGI Group

Sam Sebastian Chief Executive Officer Pelmorex Corp.

Bradley Shaw Chief Executive Officer Shaw Communications

Jad Shimaly Chairman and Chief Executive Officer EY Canada

Ian D. Smith CEO Clearwater Seafoods

Geoff Smith President and CEO Ellis Don

Stephen Smith Chairman and Chief Executive Officer First National Financial

David Smith Chief Executive Officer Keyera Corp.

Nancy Southern Chair and CEO ATCO Ltd.

Ronald Stern President and Chief Executive Officer Alberta Newsprint Company

Sandra Stuart Group General Manager, President and CEO HSBC Bank Canada

John Sullivan President and Chief Executive Officer The Cadillac Fairview Corporation

Garrick Tiplady Managing Director Facebook and Instagram Canada

Guy Turcotte Founder President and CEO Stone Creek Resorts

Louis Vachon President and CEO National Bank of Canada

Nicole Verkindt Founder and Chief Executive Officer OMX

Anthony Viel Managing Partner and Chief Executive Deloitte Canada

Galen Weston Executive Chairman Loblaw Companies

Darryl White CEO BMO Financial Group

Penny Wise President 3M Canada Mark Wiseman Founder FCLTGlobal

Mary Ann Yule President and CEO HP Canada

Jeff Zweig President and CEO Mosaic Forest Management

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Darryl White Chief Executive Officer, BMO Financial Group

Darryl is Chief Executive Officer of BMO, the eighth largest bank in North America by assets, serving over 13 million customers across Canada, the United States, an…


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