Leading the world when the world needs us the most
A letter from Darren Entwistle, President and CEO
Leading the world when the world needs us the most
A letter from Darren Entwistle, President and CEO
Dear shareholders, customers and communities,
In 2020, our working, educational and social lives have changed dramatically. As citizens, employees and employers, we have had to respond in unprecedented ways to keep our families, colleagues and fellow citizens safe, informed, healthy and productive.
As the global leader in social capitalism, your Company responded to the many challenges associated with the pandemic with our customary grit, innovation and spirited teamwork. Thus far, our team, with the support of our extended TELUS family, has committed $150 million to support Canadians through the COVID-19 crisis. I want to share with you some of the extraordinary ways in which we are leveraging our human and financial resources to support our customers, communities and fellow Canadians during this challenging time in our nation’s history.
Delivering vital services to support Canadians in a rapidly changing reality
Since the beginning of the health emergency, your Company has taken the evidence based direction of a team of national medical experts known as the TELUS Medical Advisory Council. These specialists have considerable experience and expertise in pandemic leadership, public health, mental health, primary care, occupational health, infectious diseases, digital health, and health economics, to help guide our response to the pandemic.
As an essential service, we have worked tirelessly to keep Canadians connected to the social, economic and educational resources that matter most, whilst also protecting the well-being of both our customers and our team members. We have leveraged our world-leading technology to enable 95 per cent of our domestic team, and 90 per cent of our international team to work from home, supporting our customers safely and productively.
Importantly, your Company has demonstrated compassion and understanding in respect of the financial hardships this pandemic has placed on many of our customers. To help alleviate some of this pressure, we implemented a number of solutions, including waiving home internet data overage charges; waiving wireless roaming fees; offering flexible payment arrangements; extending promotional periods; deferring all planned pricing increases; and delaying suspensions, cancellations and write-offs.
Serving our customers safely and effectively
Within the 136 essential stores that continue to operate amidst the pandemic and support our customers with their mobile and home needs, your Company has created a safe environment through a touchless in-store service experience. Our stores operate with strict health and safety measures in place including a maximum of two customers in store at a time, a greeter who completes a health check, as well as social distancing and safety protocols, such as cashless transactions, hand sanitisers and frequent sanitisation of surfaces.
Our touchless in-store experience is complemented by your Company’s innovative virtual installation and repair processes for the fulfilment of services at the homes of our customers. TELUS’ touchless fulfillment process at a customer’s premise is supported by a series of demo videos to assist customers, including Virtual Technician Visits, SmartHome Security Technician Assisted Installation and How to Install your Control Panel. Consistent with your Company’s legacy of innovative “firsts”, it is worth noting that TELUS was the first Canadian telco to offer virtual installations as part of our response to the health crisis.
Enabling our business customers during difficult times
Similar to the success of our virtual installation programme for consumers, our Business team has completed virtual installation and repair work across multiple business sites, including pharmacies, senior care homes and hospitals across Canada. We are also providing our business customers with the tools and resources to facilitate remote working, enabling them to continue serving their customers whilst national closures are enacted. Moreover, we have shared our pandemic planning resources, including the guidance of our Medical Advisory Council, with 500,000 of our business customers to help them protect their customers and employees, whilst also assisting in the continuity of their own businesses. We are helping our business customers in supporting their own clients virtually, facilitated by a TELUS Secure Business offer, providing an equipment credit and three months of free service, as well as offering customised payment arrangements to assist in managing this challenging economic period. Lastly, we launched our nationwide #StandWithOwners campaign, which encourages Canadians to “tag” their favourite local businesses on social media. In turn, those nominators will receive a $25 gift card to use at the selected business on behalf of TELUS (up to $500,000).
Being the best in the world when the world needs the best from us
Thanks to our talented engineers, computer scientists, technologists and technicians, our country’s networks stand alone in terms of the experience we are offering citizens throughout this health emergency. By way of example, U.K.-based Opensignal analysed wireless download speeds around the globe, from January through the end of March, when much of the world was in isolation. The report shows that not only are Canada’s networks continuing to operate exceedingly well, Canada earned the distinction as the fastest across 45 countries tested. By contrast, countries like Australia and the U.K. were challenged to support the added pressure, at times experiencing download speeds up to 15 per cent and 30 per cent slower, respectively. This acknowledgement from Opensignal complements the network superiority recognition our team has consistently earned from Tutela, PCMag, Ookla, and J.D. Power, for three or more years in respect of network performance excellence.
Providing the network strength to keep Canada working – remotely
The strength, speed and consistency of our networks have bolstered our nation’s productivity. According to an independent global study examining the impact of recent work-from-home measures, Canadians have recorded a 170 per cent increase in remote work since emergency measures began taking effect, contributing to an overall increase in productivity of 25 per cent. By comparison, the same report found that the shift to remote work had the opposite effect in Europe and the United States, where productivity has declined by 8.2 per cent and 7.2 per cent, respectively, since self-isolation policies began.
Leveraging our significant investments to keep Canadians connected
Through our world-leading broadband networks, our team is dedicated to providing Canadians with the speed, reliability and coverage to help us all live better lives and keep us connected. Since 2000, we have invested almost $200 billion in network technology, infrastructure and operations, and we are poised to invest prudently another $40 billion into our country over the next three years.
This longstanding commitment to network excellence, reflected in the strength and reliability of our PureFibre network, has proven foundational to the robust connectivity supporting more people and families working, learning, playing games, accessing entertainment and socialising virtually from home. Your Company’s ongoing investments in technology and infrastructure have allowed us to effectively manage a 50 per cent daily increase in voice traffic – four times the traffic that occurred on Mother’s Day last year – and they have also enabled us to respond to a near doubling of our multi-messaging service, which is currently twice what we normally see on Christmas Day. To put it all in perspective, our team’s efforts to sustain our networks throughout COVID-19 are akin to supporting Super Bowl-level traffic… every day.
Continuing to efficiently evolve our wireline network
Supporting enhanced and reliable connectivity, your Company continues to accelerate our fibre build in key areas and drive significant cost efficiencies. By way of example, we injected $100 million to accelerate our TELUS PureFibre build programme in Calgary in 2020. These efforts will ensure we boost the much-needed fibre connectivity in the communities we serve, whilst maximising unit-cost efficiencies and keeping our team and customers safe with respect to social distancing guidelines.
Stepping up and leaning in to bolster frontline care
Your Company has collaborated with regional health authorities and provincial governments to provide and expand broadband connectivity to hospitals and pop-up clinics on a national basis. Indeed, we remain committed to supporting Canada’s healthcare institutions and helping citizens stay connected to medical support during this challenging time. In this regard, our team is proactively monitoring coverage and capacity for the hospitals in our service footprint and as well, screening centres and temporary hospitals. In addition, we continue to leverage our relationships with local and international suppliers to secure 630,000 pieces of PPE, representing ten times our regular annual volume.
Virtual care scaling rapidly and necessarily
As the leading digital healthcare company in Canada, we are supporting the health and safety of frontline healthcare workers and our fellow Canadians by offering access to virtual care visits between patients and their doctors through our electronic medical record (EMR) platforms. Since launching in early April, doctors have scheduled 30,000 consultations through our innovative EMR Virtual Visit solution.
As we all take important precautions to practice social distancing, your Company’s virtual healthcare solutions allow Canadians to securely monitor their health and that of their families. At the same time, these solutions are relieving pressure on crowded hospitals and ERs, and helping preserve precious capacity for those with urgent healthcare needs.
Through Babylon by TELUS Health, your Company is enabling patients in B.C., Alberta and Ontario with access to one-on-one video consultations with a locally licensed doctor at no cost from their smartphone and from the safety of their home. Babylon enables us to provide support to the five million Canadians who do not have a family doctor and the more than half of all Canadians who find it difficult to quickly access after-hours medical care without going to the emergency department.
Similarly, our Akira by TELUS Health platform is helping more than 1,000 of Canada’s largest employers support the health and well-being of their employees during this challenging time, with our employer-funded virtual care platform. As a result of the increased demand for digital health, we realised a ten-fold increase in demand for Babylon by TELUS Health and the addition of more than 300 employers through Akira by TELUS Health.
Wellness monitoring solutions for ill and senior citizens
Furthermore, we are supporting Canadians, including those not able to or choosing not to leave their homes, through innovative digital health solutions. By way of example, TELUS’ Home Health Monitoring Service is being utilised by patients in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia who have contracted COVID-19, have been exposed to the virus or who are vulnerable based on their pre-existing conditions. They are able to remain in the comfort of their homes and feel assured that they are being monitored by a virtual pool of public healthcare clinicians. As well, our LivingWell Companion and Direct Alert provide personal emergency support for elderly citizens living independently inclusive of offering reduced pricing on these personal emergency support solutions, making it easier for vulnerable seniors to access 24/7 emergency support during this pandemic.
Helping our healthcare heroes stay connected and well
To aid in response efforts, your Company repurposed our Health for Good Mobile Health Clinics across the country, with all 11 mobile clinics operating as either COVID-19 testing and assessment centres or acting as emergency quarantine shelters. Moreover, to demonstrate our gratitude for the tremendous courage and selflessness of Canadians on the frontline, we expanded our Mobility for Good programme, providing a credit for two months of free wireless service to thousands of frontline healthcare workers at 126 hospitals, long-term care facilities and health facilities in areas across the country that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.
For the months of April, May and June 2020, I will donate my salary to Canadian healthcare workers on the frontlines battling COVID-19. In addition, The Entwistle Family Foundation, established in 2018, will match this donation, stemming from the 100 per cent salary reduction, in order to double the positive financial impact for health caregivers and, by extension, those vulnerable citizens who need assistance the most. Through this donation, I am privileged to demonstrate my deep admiration for everything the TELUS team has done to support healthcare in Canada.
Connecting those who need us the most
Importantly, during this pandemic, the synergies between doing well in business and doing good in our communities have never been more evident, as we leverage our technology and culture of caring to keep our most vulnerable citizens connected. This includes contributing $20 million from our TELUS Friendly Future Foundation and TELUS Community Boards to help build public healthcare capacity. Our funding has been directed toward purchasing new medical technology and equipment, including the procurement of personal protective equipment.
We partnered with the Fondation du Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) to help further amplify their inspiring work in supporting Canadians through this challenging time, offering the Fondation du CHUM a $170,000 grant to support the purchase of 3D printing supplies and equipment (including nasal swabs) as, together, we work to help those who need our support the most.
In addition, TELUS is gifting a $100,000 grant to the London Health Sciences Centre to fund the purchase of critically-needed glidescopes to support the intubation of COVID-19 patients. Our TELUS Friendly Future Foundation is providing $200,000 to the Children’s Aid Foundation to support youth transitioning out of foster care into independence who do not qualify for government assistance.
Importantly, as we all look ahead to better days, we have donated $500,000 to a globally leading research team from the Vancouver General Hospital and University of British Columbia Hospital Foundation, to assist in the search for therapeutic antiviral treatments for COVID-19. Your Company’s donations are also supporting community-based initiatives with a focus on providing increased support for food security, outreach to isolated seniors, virtual education programmes and support for mental health initiatives – through the crisis and beyond.
Helping our most vulnerable citizens stay connected
Furthermore, to keep Canada’s most vulnerable citizens connected during the COVID-19 pandemic, your Company donated more than 10,000 free mobile devices and free rate plans, valued at more than $5 million, to hundreds of organisations across the country. By way of example, when Mount Sinai Hospital in Ontario notified our team that hundreds of their patients were critically or terminally ill, many with no way of connecting with family in a safe manner, our team responded quickly, securing 100 phones and having them delivered to the hospital within two days. With these devices, healthcare workers could perform minor check-ins with patients remotely and, more importantly, intubated patients could hear the voice of a loved one through their final days. Indeed, these connections are offering hospitalised COVID-19 patients the ability to connect virtually with loved ones, whilst also enabling isolated seniors, and low income, homeless and at-risk individuals with a much-needed lifeline to their families, health practitioners and vital social support services during this complex time.
Promoting the mental health of our frontline workers
We are equally focused on supporting the mental wellness of our passionate and hardworking first responders as they enable our safety throughout this pandemic. In this regard, our team contributed a further $500,000, over and above a previous $5 million commitment, to expedite completion of a First Responder App, which will support the mental health and well-being of frontline workers from coast to coast. Our team believes wholeheartedly that we are all in this together and we are truly privileged to help in whatever way we can.
Continuing to give where we live
On April 17, your Company launched our Stay Connected page to showcase our team’s amazing work and highlight the positive difference TELUS has made in communities across Canada during the pandemic. This site provides resources to help Canadians stay safe, informed, healthy and inspired and combines our own TELUS content, including access to our TELUS Wise workshops, which aim to help youth have a positive online experience, with key partners and their learning programmes. Our Stay Connected page also provides access to our newly launched TELUS Talks with Tamara Taggart podcast, which features guests such as Dr. Bonnie Henry, Hayley Wickenheiser, Arlene Dickinson and our own Chief Neuroscience Officer, Dr. Diane McIntosh. We have introduced a series of inspiring videos, including Stay Strong – which quickly became the most watched video in TELUS’ history – as well as Stay Thankful, which celebrates and amplifies Canadians’ appreciation for frontline workers.
Throughout 2020, our TELUS team will volunteer virtually and safely for our 15th annual TELUS Days of Giving to help build stronger, healthier communities. Our team members and retirees are already sewing masks and gowns for frontline workers, delivering food and comfort kits to local food banks and families in-need, conducting virtual phone check-ins with lonely seniors and so much more. We are inviting all Canadians to join us in giving back through a number of activities, including sewing masks – it is a kind and thoughtful act of selflessness to help keep our families, our neighbours and our communities safe. We are striving to create more than 100,000 masks, and we invite you to join us.
Supporting education through virtual learning tools and technology
Our Stay Connected site also provides access to Microsoft Family Learning Centre, which is a collection of free activities, curated out of educational resources from around the world.
Additionally, as we continue to amplify the good we are able to do in our communities, we have provided all low-income families enrolled in our Internet for Good programme with two months of free service to help them manage the financial challenges associated with COVID-19. Moreover, working in partnership with Apple, we are providing iPads to school boards in Alberta, B.C. and Quebec with free LTE connectivity until June 30 on a 6 GB Peace of Mind rate plan.
TELUS International giving with their hearts, hands and philanthropy
This inspiring dedication to supporting our communities during this challenging time is exemplified by our team members around the world. Notably, our TELUS International (TI) team in Guatemala distributed 120 grocery baskets to families living in extreme poverty on the edge of a landfill, with the supplies being purchased from small merchants, enabling our team to contribute to the community’s economic reactivation. This is the community where, in 2015, 1,500 TELUS International volunteers built a school for the children in these families, where the adults recycle and sell the garbage from the landfill to provide for their loved ones. In addition, our TI team supported the purchase of personal hygiene products for seniors who live in poverty and make a living by selling crafts to tourists – but with no tourists they cannot sell their products. These are just two of the many ways our TELUS International team is making a difference in communities that need our help now, more than ever before.
Thanking our TELUS family for their commitment to a culture of caring for 20 years
I would like to recognise our entire TELUS team for their outstanding efforts in aiding our amazing healthcare heroes, our government partners, our customers, our communities and each other. I would also like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to our passionate TELUS retirees and amazing Community Ambassadors who responded to Canada’s critical shortage of personal protective equipment by dedicating their time and talent to sew essential items like the masks, scrub caps and gowns so desperately needed in their communities
These impressive demonstrations of your Company’s culture of caring in action truly exemplify TELUS’ leadership in social capitalism on a worldwide basis. Our team’s commitment to improving outcomes for our fellow citizens, synergised with our world leading, customer-centric operating, financial and shareholder results, will continue to define TELUS’ leadership in social capitalism in the years to come.
Amazing recognition for our entire TELUS family
As a result of the passionate dedication of our team, your Company has earned 1st place on the global crowd-sourced Heroes Leaderboard. It is certainly a point of pride to see a Canadian company leading this worldwide ranking. This authentic, unsolicited recognition truly exemplifies our team’s unwavering commitment to helping those who need our support the most.
Exemplifying our commitment to tax morality
It is important to reflect upon the fact that your Company has paid more than $43 billion in total tax and spectrum remittances, since 2000, to our federal, provincial and municipal governments. These funds support the roads and bridges, public education, healthcare, cultural pursuits and national defence of our country
Navigating through uncertain times with purpose and care
In these challenging times, we are exceedingly grateful to our customers and our investors for your ongoing faith and confidence in us. As this crisis continues to evolve, you have my guarantee that all 85,000 of our team members, worldwide, will be here to demonstrate – in words and in deeds – that when things are at their worst, you can rely on our TELUS team to be at our best.
Thank you for your patronage and we look forward to a friendlier future together. Please stay safe and stay strong. We are getting through this together.