Dear Associates,

 

Summer is finally here!  While it will be a bit of a strange summer, restrictions continue to be lifted and I am happy to see summertime activities beginning to resume (with new safety measures in place, of course).

  • Malls in the Greater Montreal Area reopened on Friday,
  • Select movie theatres are reopening in Alberta this week, and
  • Most regions in Ontario have now entered the second stage of the province’s reopening plans, which includes restaurant patios, enclosed malls, swimming pools, and HAIR CUTS!

A SUCCESSFUL STAGE 1 RETURN TO THE OFFICE

As our tenants continue to reopen, our home offices are following suit.  Our Stage 1 Associates started returning to our home offices earlier this week, and their experience and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.  While we outlined the proactive steps that the Homecoming Committee (HC1) took to prepare us for a safe return in both the Townhall and in my email last week, “seeing is believing”.  I have included some pictures below to show you changes we have implemented.  Furthermore, I encourage you to talk to your colleagues that have returned, to hear about their experiences first hand.

 

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AN IMPRESSIVE RISK MANAGEMENT ASSESSMENT

In last week’s Townhall, Fernando mentioned that we were having our return-to-office plans and procedures reviewed by Marsh, a highly reputable global risk management firm.  Marsh’s review encompassed 25 distinct categories related to pandemic planning, crisis management and business continuity.  In addition to reviewing our documentations, Fernando, Michael Byass and I spent two hours on a video call with an SVP from Marsh explaining our procedures and providing details. The Marsh experts commended us for prioritizing the health and well-being of our Associates, and gave our plans a score of 98%. 

If you’re like me and wonder: “What happened to the other 2%?”, Marsh suggested improvement to our vendor preparedness plans, to better assess our vendors’ and partners’ ability to maintain service levels during a pandemic.   We will be enhancing our plans accordingly.  With respect to Associate safety, we received a perfect score.

 

REIGNITING OUR CULTURE OF INFORMAL LEARNING

I was thrilled to see more faces in the office this week.  While I have been incredibly impressed by many Associates’ ability to adapt, leverage collaboration technology, and work productively from home, one of our greatest strengths is our informal learning culture, which is less accessible from a distance.  Mitch has always championed informal learning opportunities; often pausing critical meetings to bring Associates in to observe, and engaging Associates to work on unique projects as “extracurricular” learning opportunities.

As an example, on Thursday, I joined a conversation in an open area just outside my office with Dixon, Greg and Jason (all standing at least 6 feet apart).  I learned something important from them related to our Laval apartment project and I was able to offer some guidance.  This just would not have happened as soon and as efficiently if we were not all in the office.
By virtue of their proximity to the action, many of the Associates that returned to the office have already been engaged to support our key priorities, including the CECRA rent-relief process and the acceleration of critical development applications.  I look forward to seeing more of you in the office soon, as we continue to safely roll out our gradual, staged return-to-office plans.

 

PRIORITIZING HEALTH AND WELLNESS

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that these are still challenging times.  As COVID-19 restrictions loosen and more businesses reopen, many may feel anxious or stressed.  Please remember that our benefits include LifeWorks by Morneau Shepell, an excellent Employee Assistance Program (EAP).     Lifeworks provides you and your dependents with free and confidential access to qualified counselling and support services, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Do not hesitate to contact LifeWorks anytime, at 1-877-630-6701 (English) / 1-877-588-1299 (French).  You can also access support via their website:  lifebalance.net.  User ID and password rbceng (English) / rbcfr (French).

Starting this week, HR will be introducing a weekly email series featuring wellness resources, to ensure you know what services you have access to, and provide tips to help you navigate these challenging times.  In addition, our Learning Centre has gone virtual.  The Effective Managerial Leadership Program has successfully moved online and virtual Excel, Word and PowerPoint training sessions are being scheduled (register with the Learning Centre by Wednesday June 24).

 

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

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Jo-Anne and I wish all the fathers and grandfathers a Happy Father’s Day.  We hope you had a relaxing and memorable day.

Note:  This Father’s Day penguin is definitely not me, with a golf club and an electric saw…or a tie, for that matter! 

 

As always, If you have any questions or comments, please submit them via the confidential “Ask the BCLT” survey.

Stay strong, stay safe, and see you soon,

 

Peter