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Canada’s big banks and insurance companies have won court approval to hold their annual general meetings online for a second year.

Pointing to the continuing impact of COVID-19, the financial institutions said Tuesday in a statement that they had jointly obtained a court order to permit them to hold virtual AGMs in addition to, or instead of, in-person gatherings.

The applicants – which included Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Canadian Western Bank, Laurentian Bank, National Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia, TD Bank Group, Great-West Lifeco, Canada Life, Manulife and Sun Life, as well as some subsidiaries – first obtained court permission to hold this year’s shareholder or policyholder meetings online in March, in the early days of pandemic-related restrictions on gatherings.

The Globe and Mail reported last week that the financial institutions had applied to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for a new order on virtual AGMs for next year. In their statement Tuesday, the group said it had to take that step because Canadian banks and insurance companies cannot hold virtual AGMs in lieu of in-person meetings without court approval.

“We are considering ways to enhance the participant experience in 2021, leveraging the learnings from our respective 2020 annual meetings,” the statement said. “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.”

Details about individual AGMs will be announced separately, the statement said.

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