Press Release: New study assesses Canadian Real Estate Managers response to COVID-19 risks and essential workers in commercial properties

Vancouver, Canada – As buildings across Canada roll out measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, commercial real estate managers are responding to new health and safety risks and expectations around social distancing, hygiene and cleaning. On the frontline of this response are those who provide janitorial and security services – workers who we know earn low wages and face poor working conditions.

Recognizing the critical role that property service workers play in protecting public health, a network of Canadian pension fund trustees and union representatives is analyzing how Canadian real estate managers are ensuring that conditions are in place for essential building workers to meet health and safety standards.

The Canadian Capital Stewardship Network (CCSN), which is housed at the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE), is assessing the real estate arms of ten Canadian pension funds against a set of Responsible Property Management Principles specific to COVID-19.

Exercising the fiduciary duties of prudence, loyalty and the pursuit of competitive rates of return in commercial real asset portfolios during this global health crisis means that particular attention must be given to ensuring that tenants are provided with high quality security and janitorial services.

“We know that for service providers such as cleaners and security guards to be able to do their job property, they must be adequately trained, able to access proper personal protective equipment, appropriately supported, fairly compensated and provided with decent working conditions,” says Shannon Rohan, Chief Strategy Officer at the Shareholder Association for Research and Education, “and this what we have laid out in the Responsible Property Management Principles.”

The Responsible Property Management Principles are aligned with COVID-19 guidelines put forward by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International and Canada, as well as a Special Appeal from the United Nations Global Compact.

“I enthusiastically endorse the project,” said Cam Nelson, a union-appointed trustee on the board of the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan. “The questions and guidelines are thoughtful and appropriate and we look forward to engaging constructively with the industry on this critical topic.”

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Media contact:

Tamara Herman, Senior Program Officer, Canadian Capital Stewardship Network (CCSN)/ Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) Responsible Investment Leadership

therman@share.ca