Many Canadians will return to in-person work in the coming months. However, the nature of work has changed significantly in the last 18 months.
The focus right now is on getting out of this health crisis, but it’s important to plan ahead for important issues, including the return to the workplace. For many people, going back to the office represents a return to normal.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has released a 21-point plan to provide guidance for businesses and policy recommendations for governments on four key areas for the re-opening of the economy: health/safety, teleworking, skills/training and the future of customer engagement.
Here are the key points from the Canadian Chamber:
Health and Safety
There are numerous considerations for employers to think through now to be able to react quickly,
particularly the need to manage a workforce that may not be entirely vaccinated. Although vaccination and herd immunity will be the long-term solutions to the pandemic, a suite of complementary measures will need to be used by businesses to rebuild trust that the workplace is safe to return to. These include rapid screening, ventilation upgrades and monitoring, as well as masking and
In order to do so successfully, the government must provide clarity on what employers can ask of their employees’ vaccination status, harmonize vaccine credential systems, provide clear guidance on workplace infection prevention and consistent criteria for safe re-opening of businesses.
The world of work has changed. Social distancing
and health and safety protocols imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic forced firms to introduce telework on a large scale. Once the pandemic is over, many of these changes are anticipated to remain in the form of a hybrid work cycle for most businesses. There are several actions businesses can take to build a “new normal” workplace that aims to
incorporate the positive aspects of teleworking and limits the risks, including
synchronizing the physical and remote workplace,
reframing the office as a hub for engagement and
To facilitate this shift, governments must improve Canada’s digital
infrastructure, provide fiscal incentives to support remote work and establish national
Developing enduring workforce skills and talent pipelines is critical to building the resilience of companies and workers in order to grow in the post-pandemic economy. Although this has always been important for businesses, it takes on an added importance given the pandemic has accelerated digital adoption, automation and other technologies. There are key actions companies should implement to improve workforce upskilling and reskilling, build a culture of lifelong learning and better utilize their existing
Employers also need a closer alignment of business needs, the labour market and
education programming to inform both education policy and appropriate fiscal
Consumer spending habits changed drastically during the pandemic, resulting in a considerable increase in e-commerce and curbside pickup. Although many
consumers will want to revert to in-person experiences, more activity is likely to structurally shift to remain online. The pandemic has also not
abated the increasing consumer desire to purchase products that have been
Businesses should keep a close eye on emerging
environment, social and
governance (ESG) initiatives.
Governments can help
businesses make these
transitions to the new
digitized environment by
updating Canada’s privacy rules to protect customer data.
For more information on the Canadian Chamber’s 21-point plan, visit chamber.ca