- Deloitte's Canadian arm laid off about 200 people last week at its Toronto headquarters.
- The cuts affected the artificial-intelligence group, as well as auditing and consulting operations.
- The pandemic is limiting consultancies' ability to perform in-person client work, like on-site audits, and some clients are pulling back on spending in early-stage projects and other areas.
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Deloitte Canada laid off about 200 employees last week at its Toronto headquarters as consultancies grappled with the start of an expected slowdown in client spending.
The cuts affected Omnia AI — its artificial-intelligence group — as well as its auditing and consulting operations, an employee who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media said.
Omnia AI has more than 350 employees working in areas such as machine learning, data engineering, risk and governance, and cloud infrastructure, according to its website.
A Deloitte spokeswoman confirmed the cuts, calling them "part of our normal annual year-end process, based on business needs and forecasting for the new fiscal year."
The Canadian company has about 12,000 staff domestically, according to its website. Deloitte Canada operates as a regional member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd.
Professional-services firms have been upended by the coronavirus and social-distancing measures, which have limited their ability to perform on-site work for clients. And many companies are putting major deals and other transformational projects on hold.
Some of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic are starting to restructure debts or filing for Chapter 11 protections. In the recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing for J. Crew, for instance, Deloitte was listed as having run up $23 million in bills for the ailing retailer.
Deloitte's US firm is delaying many of its full-time hires' start dates until the end of January and changing its summer internship program, Business Insider reported earlier this month. Like Deloitte, other consultancies are moving internships online and shifting the ways they're approaching summer programs and new hires.
Those changes underscore how the coronavirus pandemic has complicated the timelines for undergraduate and graduate students in terms of prestigious internships and lucrative full-time gigs.
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