Montreal, March 13, 2020 - In response to the government's recommendations to minimize the spread of COVID-19, Desjardins Group has begun adopting a number of preventive measures, including cancelling large gatherings. As a responsible employer and organization, Desjardins considers the health and safety of its employees, directors, members and clients a top priority.
Given the situation, the Federation's Board of Directors has decided to change the format of its 2020 Annual General Meetings (AGMs).
To comply with regulatory requirements, the voting portion of the AGMs will now be held online on Saturday, March 28. Desjardins Group has used this format in the past during a special general meeting in fall 2018.
Elections for positions on the Board of Directors and Board of Ethics and Professional Conduct have been postponed until the 24th Congress this fall. Outgoing board members will continue to hold office until then.
The Federation's Board of Directors is directing caisses to adopt similar measures and hold their AGMs at a later date.
Caisse payments of member dividends will be delayed accordingly, as they must legally be approved at each caisse's AGM. Desjardins can, however, confirm that members will be receiving member dividends in 2020. According to the financial results released on February 26, member dividends for 2019 totalled $317 million, up $64 million, or 25.3%, from the year before.
"Desjardins Group is aware of the repercussions of this decision, but I believe we have a duty to put public health ahead of internal governance processes," said Guy Cormier, President and CEO of Desjardins Group.