Several Canadian banks and life insurance companies released a joint statement Dec. 15 regarding their annual meetings in 2021.

The statement, issued by BMO, CIBC, Canadian Western Bank, Laurentian Bank, National Bank, RBC, Scotiabank, TD Bank Group, Great-West Lifeco, Canada Life, Manulife and Sun Life explains that they are considering alternatives for their respective annual meetings in 2021 to respect social distancing directives.

“As a result of the anticipated ongoing impact of COVID-19, and in consideration of the evolving protocols from public health and government authorities, we have jointly obtained a court order that allows us to hold our annual meetings in 2021, in whole or in part, using electronic means,” says the statement.

The order permits AGMs to be conducted over webcasting, teleconference or other electronic means, in addition to or instead of an in-person meeting. The order also permits alternative means for distributing meeting materials.

The order was obtained because Canadian banks and insurance companies are not permitted to conduct an electronic annual meeting in lieu of an in-person meeting without relief from the court. In March 2020, they jointly obtained a similar court order.

The statement goes on to say they are “are considering ways to enhance the participant experience in 2021, leveraging the learnings from our respective 2020 annual meetings.”

The specific arrangements for each annual meeting will be announced separately prior to the scheduled date.