•   
  •   
  •   

Technology As pandemic spreads, a wave of executive teams announce pay cuts

22:45  25 march  2020
22:45  25 march  2020 Source:   msn.com

What if Canada gets an outbreak of the new coronavirus? A look at pandemic plans

  What if Canada gets an outbreak of the new coronavirus? A look at pandemic plans OTTAWA — Canada has a leg up on preparing for a potential outbreak of the novel coronavirus because the country already has a detailed pandemic plan, according to federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu. It includes lessons learned from the 2003 outbreak of SARS in Ontario and the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. So what is supposed to happen if the virus starts spreading in Canada? Here's a simplified look: —Some steps in the plan are already underway, like stepping up surveillance of the disease in Canada and globally, and alerting the public to the potential outbreak.

a close up of a street in front of a mirror © Provided by The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Murray Mullen says he was focused on the bigger picture when he approached senior executives and directors at his trucking and logistics business about taking pay cuts in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The chief executive of Mullen Group Ltd. projected how the virus could wreak havoc on the Alberta-based business, which was founded by his family and is now traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. He said it was essential to start making plans for the company to sustain itself into the early summer.

Related video: Employment lawyer advises flexibility during pandemic (Provided by CityNews) 

Alberta suspends jury trials in wake of COVID-19 pandemic

  Alberta suspends jury trials in wake of COVID-19 pandemic Jury trials in Alberta have been suspended until May 31 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an email sent to prosecutors Friday by Calgary's chief Crown prosecutor Sue Kendall. Defence lawyers will be given the option to re-elect to judge-alone trials which would allow already-scheduled trials to proceed. If counsel chooses not to re-elect, trials will have to be adjourned.

"My primary objective is this: How do I make sure the business is strong so that I'm around when demand improves?" Mullen explained by phone from his home in Victoria, B.C.

"I can't do anything about this (virus), nobody can do anything about this, but you've got to get people back employed. The most comforting thing I can do is say, 'Look, the company's strong. It'll be around in three months.'"

The board committed to forgoing any pay for 90 days, while his senior teams have "taken somewhere up to a 50 per cent pay cut," he said. Mullen himself gets a salary of $1 per year, with much of his pay made up of performance-based compensation, which he added won't amount to much this year.

Calgary Stampede temporarily lays off 80% of staff amid COVID-19 outbreak

  Calgary Stampede temporarily lays off 80% of staff amid COVID-19 outbreak The Calgary Stampede has laid off 80 per cent of its staff temporarily due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It's not yet known if the event, which draws more than one million visitors to Calgary each year, will go ahead in July. "With the recent restrictions of mass gatherings as a result of COVID-19, the Calgary Stampede is currently facing an unprecedented halt in activity. To that end we have made significant temporary staff reductions and are working through this with all of our employees," the organization said in an emailed statement Tuesday evening.

Several other Canadian companies have made similar financial commitments in recent days that put temporary restraints on executive salaries, an effort partly to show employees that belt tightening isn't just happening in the lower ranks. But the move can also help companies slow the bleeding of cash that might happen as the bottom falls out of their revenues.

In the oil and gas industry, executives at Canadian Natural Resources and Ensign Energy Services Inc. were among the first Canadian operations to commit to lower salaries in the short term as part of broader reductions in capital spending. Others companies are expected to take similar steps in the coming weeks.

These moves have drawn skepticism from some, including Larry Savage, a professor of labour studies at Brock University, who said he sees alternative motivations behind what are seemingly goodwill efforts.

Blue Jays catcher Reese McGuire’s court date pushed back due to pandemic

  Blue Jays catcher Reese McGuire’s court date pushed back due to pandemic Reese McGuire’s appearance at the Criminal Court Complex in Clearwater, Fla., this week was rescheduled for April 20 after a slate of proceedings, including criminal cases, were suspended amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The post Greg Auman on the buzz in Tampa surrounding Tom Brady: ‘It doesn’t get much bigger’ appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.The Toronto Blue Jays catcher was to appear Monday, the day the suspension took effect, after he was arrested Feb. 7 and charged with exposure of sexual organs, a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and fines up to $1,000.

Savage said he believes some companies are voluntarily lowering executive salaries now in hopes of heading off the federal government, which could require reduced compensation practices for industries that want to qualify for COVID-19 bailout packages.

"As government is asked to step up, and play a larger role in figuring out how to deal with the crisis, people are going to turn their eyes to which companies have proactively taken steps to demonstrate they buy into this idea of: 'We're all in it together,'" he said.

"For a company seen as focused exclusively on its profitability, and not on the public good, I think there may be some repercussions over the long term."

At Mullen Group, the CEO describes unique circumstances thrust upon his business that led to executive salary reductions. Even while shipments of food items and other "needs" are flowing pretty steadily, other parts of the business, such as services dedicated to the energy, mining and forestry industry, have taken a hit.

The company projects temporary layoffs may be issued to half of their staff of 6,100 people as fewer clients require shipping services, Mullen said. A $5-million financial assistance fund has been established for eligible laid-off employees, and company benefits will be maintained, it outlined in a press release.

Alberta shelters brace for domestic violence surge linked to COVID-19

  Alberta shelters brace for domestic violence surge linked to COVID-19 Women's shelters and sexual assault centres in Alberta are preparing to face an expected surge in domestic violence linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. Relief organizations have reported evidence of sex and gender-based violence spiking after disasters and emergencies around the world, including in the United States after Hurricane Katrina, and experts warn economic stress and quarantines could exacerbate existing abusive relationships.

Elsewhere, the reasons for executive salary reductions vary.

Cineplex Inc., for example, outlined changes to its leadership pay structure that will take place over a month, after it temporarily laid off part-time employees and closed all movie theatres through at least April 2. Its senior executive team will forgo their base salaries for the first two weeks, and receive 40 per cent of their pay for the final two weeks. Other lower-ranking leadership would see their salaries paid at around 55 to 60 per cent, depending on their role.

The monetary challenges facing Cineplex are unique, however, as the movie exhibitor approaches a June 30 deadline for the $2.8-billion takeover of the company by Cineworld PLC. One of the conditions of the transaction is that Cineplex keeps its debt below $725 million, while it's headed into a period some observers say could totally reshape the movie business.

Other companies are focused on a broader reduction in capital spending, which in the resources sector has included delaying major projects.

Energy giant Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. said last week its president would see a salary reduction of 20 per cent. Other members of its management committee will see pay reduced by 15 per cent while vice-presidents and board members would see a smaller reduction of 10 to 12 per cent.

Canada's health sector at risk of cyberattacks as COVID-19 fear spreads: CSE

  Canada's health sector at risk of cyberattacks as COVID-19 fear spreads: CSE Canadian health agencies face an elevated risk of cyberattacks as criminals try to take advantage of global anxiety over the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Canada's foreign signals intelligence agency. The Communications Security Establishment issued an alert today warning that health organizations involved in the national response to COVID-19 face an "elevated level of risk" of cyber security incidents.

Oilpatch company Ensign Energy Services Inc. announced a pay cut for its top executives on Monday, lowering the salary of its president and chief operating officer by 20 per cent and its chair by 40 per cent.

Recipe Unlimited Corp., which owns marquee brands such as Swiss Chalet, Harvey's and St-Hubert, outlined a voluntary suspension of compensation for its CEO on Tuesday until its locations are "fully back open for business." The food services company, which currently only offers pick-up and delivery options, said the board's compensation was also frozen among other changes that include dividend payment suspension and a temporary halt to royalty fee collection.

But companies will find other ways to compensate their executives that aren't directly tied to salary, Savage suggested, for example payment in shares in the company, preferred stocks, and promises made for when the pandemic is over.

"A narrow focus on salary obscures the picture a little bit," he said.

"Income inequality was a huge problem before the pandemic and that gap between the super rich and the rest of society is likely to grow even more in the wake of COVID-19. The cynic in me says that as soon as the economy turns around, the executives will be the first people asking for bonuses and pay raises."

Partha Mohanram, a professor of accounting at Rotman School of Management, said that while companies can go public with executive salary reductions for disclosure purposes, the leadership is effectively engaging in what's "partly a PR exercise."

"Some of it just signalling (from the companies)," he said. "I'm not saying this is wrong, this is absolutely an appropriate signal... but pardon me if I don't feel all warm and fuzzy by the supposed altruism."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 25, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CGX) (TSX:ESI) (TSX:CNQ) (TSX:RECP)

Follow @dfriend on Twitter.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version improperly quantified the salary reductions of Cineplex leadership.

Are you on LinkedIn? Follow Microsoft News Canada and keep up with the latest industry news, career, jobs and tech updates. Connect with us now!


CFL decides to postpone its 2020 global draft due to COVID-19 pandemic .
TORONTO — The CFL postponed its 2020 global draft due to the COVID-19 pandemic Tuesday. The draft was scheduled to be held April 16. It will now coincide with the opening of training camps. Teams remain scheduled to open rookie camps May 13 with training camps getting underway May 17. However, last week CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said the league was looking into all contingency plans regarding all facets of the 2020 campaign amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. In a statement Tuesday, the CFL said all the top global prospects will be invited to Toronto for a combine before league officials.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks
usr: 3
This is interesting!