PwC Layoffs in Canada: Understanding the Factors and Fallout

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Canada confirmed this week that it has laid off approximately 150 employees, 2% of its workforce.

pwc layoffs canada
pwc layoffs canada

The layoffs, although not publicly announced, were disclosed by a PwC Canada spokesperson in response to inquiries from the Globe and Mail.

This development follows recent staff reductions at PwC in the United Kingdom and Australia, marking a broader global restructuring within the prestigious accounting firm.

PwC UK faced criticism for its decision to cut up to 600 jobs while maintaining partner pay, citing the importance of offering competitive remuneration packages to senior staff amid a slowdown in client demand, as reported by The Guardian.

Similarly, PwC Australia cited a slowing economy and the aftermath of a national scandal involving leaked tax documents as contributing factors to its decision to lay off approximately four percent of its workforce. Contrastingly, PwC US announced earlier in the year that it had no plans for staffing reductions.

The common thread among the Big Four accounting firms, including KPMG and Ernst and Young, is the impact of contracting economies due to high interest rates. KPMG UK recently revealed plans for 12,000 layoffs, while Ernst and Young initiated workforce reductions in the US last spring and announced plans to abandon its prestigious London headquarters in favor of the changing dynamics of remote work.

In Canada, anxiety regarding potential layoffs began to mount earlier in the month when some PwC employees received meeting requests labeled “Important Business Update” with “relationship leaders” (RLs).

Layoffs reportedly occurred across multiple business units, encompassing assurance, consulting, and tax divisions.

The Globe and Mail obtained a termination email revealing that PwC Canada offered terminated employees one week of pay per year of service, with benefits terminated one week from the date of dismissal. The severance offer purportedly covered all obligations, whether statutory, contractual, at common law, or otherwise.

PwC Canada spokesperson Anuja Kale-Agarwal emphasized the difficulty of such decisions, stating that impacted individuals were treated fairly. However, this characterization was contradicted by an employment lawyer from Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, Fiona Martyn, who remarked that while the offers were not insultingly low, they also fell short of being incredibly reasonable or fair.

Martyn suggested that there is room for negotiation in the severance offers, stating, “There is certainly some room for movement here.” This scrutiny comes at a time when Canada’s major banks have been quietly reducing their workforce, echoing the ongoing trend of layoffs in the financial sector.

Although the banking sector employs approximately 280,000 individuals and the Canadian Big Four collectively employ around 40,000 people, the two sectors share similarities in the cyclical expansion and contraction of their workforces.

Gerard Thompson
Gerard Thompson

Gerard Thompson, a seasoned tech industry worker understands the struggles of facing layoffs firsthand. Having navigated the uncertain and daunting world of job loss himself. Gerard is the founder of

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *