Canadian businesses urge federal govt to bring employees back to office

(Reuters) – Top Canadian business executives called on the federal government to bring public sector employees back to workplaces, saying deficiencies in public services due to virtual work was affecting the business community and individuals.

In a letter signed by 32 business associations dated Oct. 31, the executives expressed concerns about the government’s inability to engage effectively with stakeholders as virtual connectivity cannot replace meeting in-person and urged the federal government to implement a return-to-office strategy.

The federal public service sector employed over 319,000 in 2021, according to data from Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

A majority of companies that largely shifted to remote work since early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic are struggling to bring back employees to offices as they hesitate to give up the comfort of working from home.

“We strongly urge the federal government to lead the way to a return to normal that will both foster economic growth and ensure that all Canadians receive the quality of public services that they have a right to expect,” the letter said.

(Reporting by Mehnaz Yasmin in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)