The bank halts plans as COVID-19 cases rise across Ontario
One of Canada’s largest banks has paused its return-to-work plans for its Toronto staff as COVID-19 cases rise across Ontario.
Scotiabank halted plans to have all its remote employees return to its head office in downtown Toronto by Jan. 17 due to concerns about the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, according to a Reuters report.
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“Based on the Government of Ontario’s latest guidance, Scotiabank is pausing its plans to begin a phased and gradual return to office for employees working remotely, and will reassess timing in the new year," the bank said in a statement seen by Reuters. “When Scotiabank employees do begin to return to offices, the move will be staggered for different groups, with the majority of head-office employees working in a hybrid model.”
Ontario has seen more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases a day since last week, and experts are growing increasingly concerned about the transmissibility of the Omicron variant.
Jeff Kwong, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, told CBC News that Omicron that the timing of the variant’s emergence – just before the Christmas holiday season – could add to the province’s worries.
"I think it's going to spread really quickly in Ontario," Kwong told CBC News. "It's going to be tough in the next month or two."