Due to the COVID-19 crisis, several banks and insurers announced March 20 that they have jointly obtained a court order allowing them to hold their annual meetings by electronic means. This move is in line with the latest directives from public health and government authorities.
“The order permits our meetings to be conducted over one or more of webcasting, teleconference or other electronic means, in each case in addition to, or instead of, an in-person meeting, and permits alternative means for distributing meeting materials,” says the statement issued by BMO, CIBC, Canadian Western Bank, Laurentian Bank, National Bank, RBC, Scotiabank, TD Bank, Great-West Lifeco, Canada Life, Manulife and Sun Life.
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.
“We believe these precautions are prudent measures to protect the health and well-being of our stakeholders, while supporting shareholder and policyholder engagement and their ability to attend and exercise their rights,” said the banks and insurers.
The specific arrangements for each annual meeting will be announced separately prior to the scheduled date.