Going Concern

Layoff Watch ’20: EY Canada Job Cuts Are Underway (UPDATE)

[Updated on Sept. 15 with additional information.]

While EY in the U.S. is continuing to tell people in its tax, risk, and assurance practices that their services are no longer needed, we’ve been told that a second round of layoffs has begun in Canada, particularly in Ontario.

A source said:

Another round of firings has begun at my EY Ontario office. I assume it’s happening all across the province? They’re telling people it’s COVID-related. Has exclusively been staff accountants with less than three years of experience.

Now, the thing that sets this alleged round of layoffs apart from the one in July is, back a few months ago, EY was telling people they were being let go because of poor performance (just like what is happening now in the U.S.) This time around, EY is “explicitly calling out COVID as the reason,” according to our source.

(S)he added:

4 people have been laid off since the new round began last week. ~10 weeks severance pay is being granted.

That’s all we know for right now. If you or a colleague have been impacted by this latest wave of layoffs, or if you have any additional information to confirm the tip we received, please get in touch with us using the contact info at the bottom of this post.

[Updated on July 9 with additional information.]

A couple months ago, we heard rumors that if EYers in Canada didn’t take voluntary unpaid time off and cut back their billable hours, there would be job cuts.

Welp …

EY Canada is starting a wave of layoffs. Does not appear to be a large round, but names have been coming up in the past couple of weeks.

That’s a tip we got on Wednesday, and it’s not the only one we’ve received in the past 24 hours. From what we’ve been told, EYers in Toronto, Calgary, and in the province of Quebec have been impacted so far. As of now, we don’t know how many people in total have been affected.

Another EY employee told us:

I can confirm there have been a handful of job cuts at my office in southwestern Ontario. I’ve not personally been impacted.

One person who was impacted worked in Quebec and told us (s)he just got let go because of poor performance, which they said “is BS.”

I’ve been working overtime last 5 months non stop. Now when you ask to get paid your overtime they refused. This company treats its workers terribly.

l guess I didn’t accept the pay cut proposed last April so that makes sense. Last week 2 other people I know have been laid off too without any single warning.

The option EYers were given, according to this person, was working four out of five days a week for 20% less pay.

People were told that if enough people took that option, the company will not proceed to layoff but that’s a lie, a round of layoffs has already started. I didn’t want to enroll because I needed the money to take care of my family and needed to pay my bills and couldn’t afford the cut.

This person told us that during the COVID-19 crisis, EY has been trying to save money because not enough money is coming in. And, this person added, “employees are working themselves to death.”

I know many people (not partners) who work regularly (7 days) during their off time and way after office hours, some until very late at night but don’t claim the overtime because it is frowned upon and to avoid getting in trouble with leadership. It is normal to do that over there, that’s how they operate.

This person also said the office (s)he worked in had a “culture of silence” and that “employees are afraid to speak up.”

Generally, employees are afraid to speak up for fear of losing their jobs. It is the normal culture over there, fear management. Everything was ok for me until I started voicing concerns and asking questions. That’s when I started getting micromanaged and being ostracized.

Gee, sounds like a fun place to work!

Another casualty of the job cuts reached out to us on Thursday morning, and this person said they know of two other people from their office in Ontario who were also let go.

I didn’t receive much of a notice really – partner set up a video call and then I found myself to be in the call with the partner and HR. Was told during the call that that’d be my last working day and I’d lose access EOD but will receive pay in-lieu of notice according to laws based on my location (Ontario) and conditions set out in my offer letter. Reason given for layoff by partner was performance-based which is BS since I’d received really good ratings and reviews throughout the year, including the most recent review cycle. I was also fully billable on an engagement which was going to be extended.

This person said a few days before (s)he was let go, EY Canada said during its all-hands webcast that the firm had reached its target enrollment rate for the voluntary enhanced flexible work arrangement, which would help the firm avoid layoffs.

So, now they have people who are getting reduced pay (in exchange for reduced hours? Don’t really think so even if it that’s what the program says) AND they’ve laid off people (based on pay is what it really looks like) claiming it’s performance-related. Not sure how I feel about having worked here over the past several years.

We’re still trying to find out some more details on the job cuts as this situation seems to be pretty fluid at this point. If you can shed some more light on what’s going on at EY Canada, give us a holler using the contact info below.

Related article:

Layoff Watch ’20: Is There Trouble Brewing at EY Canada?