Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A Chinese couple wear protective masks as they walk in an empty shopping area that would usually be busy during the Lunar New Year holiday, on Jan. 28, 2020, in Beijing, China.

Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Canadian companies are banning travel to China and instructing staff to work from home if they have recently gone there as the deadly coronavirus that began in Wuhan spreads around the world.

The novel coronavirus had killed at least 100 people and infected thousands of others as of Tuesday, with more than 4,600 confirmed cases in China. Those numbers have put a chill on companies that do business in China and cast uncertainty on future plans.

At investment giant CI Financial Corp., for example, the human resources department sent a memo to employees to ask them to halt or reschedule any planned trips to China and Hong Kong.

Story continues below advertisement

“During this time of uncertainty, we request that all employees planning to travel to Hong Kong and China cancel or delay their travel until the virus is contained,” according to the internal memo. “All employees who have travelled to Hong Kong or China anytime after Jan. 12, 2020, are asked to work from home for 14 days following their last departure from those areas, including those who have already returned to work.”

CI Financial spokesman Murray Oxby said on Tuesday that the company has a small investment research office in Hong Kong, where analysts focus on the Asian economy.

Bank of Montreal said it has implemented precautionary measures to help protect the health of its employees. “Business travel is banned to Wuhan, and Hubei province, and any employees returning from these areas are required to work from home for 14 days,” BMO spokesman Paul Gammal said in an e-mail.

BMO has a fully incorporated subsidiary in China that allows it to take deposits, called BMO China Co., and it has roots in the country that date back to the 1800s.

Concerns are escalating that the coronavirus has spread rapidly both inside and outside China.

Graham Shantz, president of the Canada China Business Council, said Canadian corporations are postponing travel plans to China until authorities such as the World Health Organization provide signs that the virus crisis is nearing an end. “There are real operational impacts for members with a presence in China because they’re delaying their trips, which can delay contracts and decisions as well,” Mr. Shantz said.

Lumber producer Canfor Corp. has cancelled flights that had been booked in the coming weeks to China. The Vancouver-based forestry company, whose business includes lumber exports to China, said it is staying abreast of global health recommendations as it alters travel schedules and also takes precautions within British Columbia.

Story continues below advertisement

“Employees who have recently been to China are being asked to report their travel to their supervisor and consider remote work options for approximately 14 days following their return to Canada,” Canfor spokeswoman Michelle Ward said.

At Canadian insurer Manulife Financial Corp., no travel ban to China was announced on Tuesday, but the company is taking precautions. “We are taking appropriate preventive measures according to the needs of different markets, including reminders on personal and office hygiene, more frequent office cleaning, and encouraging employees to work from home,” Manulife spokesman Sean Pasternak said in an e-mail.

Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd., Canada largest diversified mining company, also said it has measures in place to minimize health risks for its staff. Teck has 15 workers based at offices in Beijing and Shanghai. “Our first priority is always the health and safety of our people, and we are closely monitoring the situation,” Teck spokesman Chris Stannell said.

Air Canada has scaled back its schedule to China. “In response to the coronavirus situation, we are cancelling select flights to China to better match capacity with expected demand,” Canada’s largest airline said in a statement. “Air Canada currently operates 33 flights a week to China and the resulting capacity reduction is relatively small. Those customers who are affected will be notified.”

Canada’s benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index rose 0.3 per cent on Tuesday after dropping 0.7 per cent on Monday. Air Canada shares, which are part of the index, gained 0.8 per cent on Tuesday after a 7.6-per-cent decline on Monday amid investors’ jitters over the impact of the coronavirus on the carrier’s global network.

With a report from James Bradshaw

Story continues below advertisement

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the authors of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies