Telecommuting: head offices that are shrinking

Telework: head offices that are shrinking


Unable to bring back their full-time face-to-face employees, more and more companies are reducing the size of their head offices, causing the office availability rate to jump in Montreal and Quebec.

At the end of June, this rate reached 17.2% in the metropolis, against 10.9% before the pandemic, according to the firm Avison Young.

In the capital, the rate stood at 9.5% at the end of March, up significantly from the 8.3% recorded at the end of 2021.

“Historic” Vacancy Rate

“What is a little worrying is that it is a vacancy rate that is historic,” says in Journal Jean Laurin, CEO of Avison in Quebec.

We actually have to go back to 1997 to find such a high office availability rate in Montreal, according to the firm CBRE.

The increase in recent months has been fueled by companies that have sublet premises they no longer see the need for.

On Nuns' Island, ” Bell is at the looking for new tenants for wings D and E » of its head office, reveals a spokesperson, Vanessa Damha.

Economy and ecology

The hybrid work mode allows the company to ”  reduce greenhouse gas emissions » and “save money,” she says.

“This has had an impact on Bell's real estate needs across the country and, with this in mind, we will be consolidating our footprint over the next five years in several cities in Quebec and Ontario,” said Ms. Damha, ensuring that the number of employees will not decrease in Quebec.

Similar phenomenon at SNC-Lavalin, which will release eight floors in its head office on René-Lévesque Boulevard in the coming months. “We're going into agile mode with unassigned spaces,” says spokesperson Harold Fortin.

Telework: head offices that are shrinking

Jonathan Abecassis, CN spokesperson

At Canadian National, six floors have been offered for subletting, rue de la Gauchetière. Despite everything, the head office of the railway company is in Montreal to stay there, insists a spokesperson, Jonathan Abecassis.

The Laurentian Bank has for its part put five floors of its Montreal head office in sublet, which will result in a 50% reduction in occupied space. 

“Telecommuting is preferred for all tasks that can be performed remotely”, said a spokesperson, Merick Seguin.

At Investissement Québec, we will have grouped together in a single building in the city center, this fall, the employees who were previously distributed in three buildings. Leasable area will drop by 45%.

For its part, Hydro-Québec has reduced its footprint in downtown Montreal by approximately 20%.

But, several exceptions

“Although the hybrid model has an influence on the number of days per week that employees are physically in the office, the number of employees who work in the center -ville, or about 7,300, has not decreased,” said spokesperson Maxence Huard-Lefebvre.

Other large employers, including the Caisse de depot, the National Bank and BRP, have no intention of slashing their offices due to the growth in the number of their employees. 

< h3>They are reducing their office space

  • Canadian National
  • SNC-Lavalin
  • Investissement Québec
  • Hydro-Québec
  • Bell Canada
  • Cascades
  • Resolute Forest Products
  • Laurentian Bank
  • Mouvement Desjardins
  • iA Financial Group

No major change

  • Air Canada
  • National Bank
  • BRP
  • Deposit and placement fund
  • Beneva

In reflection

    < li dir="auto">Loto-Québec
  • Quebec City
  • Montreal Transport Company
  • Rio Tinto


  • Mallette

Loto-Québec plans to reduce its footprint in downtown Montreal while at the National Bank, we intend to maintain the status quo. Do you have a scoop to send us?

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