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TD Bank, CIBC and Bank of Montreal are seen in the financial district in Toronto, on June 24, 2020.

Carlos Osorio/Reuters

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce will keep most of its employees who are currently working remotely away from offices until at least September, pushing back plans to return staff to the workplace.

The decision, circulated to staff in a memo on Wednesday, is the second extension of the bank’s broad remote work policies in little more than a month, and comes as Ontario – where the bank is headquartered – issues a more restrictive stay-at-home order.

Between 15,000 and 17,000 CIBC employees have been going into work daily throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, in branches and other critical roles. And staff in some regions and business lines may come back to offices sooner. But most of CIBC’s nearly 44,000 full-time staff will eventually return to a blend of on-site and remote work, tailored to different groups and roles, according to Sandy Sharman, group head of people, culture and brand.

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“It’s not one size fits all,” Ms. Sharman said in an interview. “It’s really about what type of work do you have to do today, and is it better that you’re in the office, better that you’re remote? And how do we determine that ratio for you?”

The bank is looking at “job families,” but also types of activity – focused work, collaboration, or learning and development, for example – to decide what needs to be done together and what can be done remotely. And for the past three weeks, the bank has piloted a rapid virus testing program for about 50 employees on its trading floor who volunteered to be tested twice a week.

“Do we want to get our people back? Absolutely,” Ms. Sharman said. “But I think we have to be very steady with how we want to do it when we want to do it.”

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