Businesses and institutions must consider risk and ethical considerations of re-opening: York U expert


TORONTO, April 28, 2020 – Canadian provinces are creating frameworks to reopen their economies after several weeks of shutdown for non-essential services due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Image Source: Government of Ontario

What will businesses and institutions be required to consider as they develop plans to re-open, based on Ontario’s newly announced framework?

“Businesses and organizations should be using the framework the government announced to guide their plans for re-opening, but that won’t be enough.

"Their leaders – whether the owner of a small business or the board of directors for a large corporation – will need to ensure they establish proper protocols based both on risk and on ethical considerations,” said York University Professor Richard Leblanc, an expert in organizational governance, law and ethics.

It is important that the reopening occurs in several stages, beginning with the least risk. Though the Ontario government’s recent announcement provides a framework, it is likely that more outdoor work and small businesses with physical distancing may be allowed to reopen first.

“Even the earliest stages will require detailed planning, whether related to the use of non-medical masks, social distancing in offices (and even elevators), sanitation, hygiene requirements or personal protective equipment based on the risk to their employees and customers,” said Leblanc, a Professor in the School of Administrative Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

Sports stadiums and airlines may be among the last to re-open, due to the proximity of customers. Even schools, at least in their traditional physical form, may be late said Leblanc.

Leblanc, who is frequently consulted by corporations and other institutions, is available to comment on:

  • How companies should prepare for back-to-work staging
  • How work, consumer and employee behaviour may change in the post-pandemic era
  • The role of boards and senior management during COVID-19 and beyond
  • Business and organizational differences between Canada and the United States, and impact on handling of the coronavirus crisis

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York U's fully bilingual Glendon Campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

Media Contact: Gloria Suhasini, York University Media Relations, 647-463-4354,