Dealers Voice: Canadians caring for one another in the age of COVID-19

On behalf of the TADA, I commend all individuals and companies that have put their lives at risk in order to make us safe.

By Cliff Lafreniere Wheels.ca

Mar 27, 2020 3 min. read

Article was updated 2 years ago

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It’s incredible how rapidly and profoundly our world has changed in just two weeks.

In mid-March, many Canadians defined themselves by their professional or academic status (retailer, hairstylist, lawyer, carpenter, student), but today those labels have all but disappeared as we are all Canadians first, trying to stay safe and healthy, and helping others do the same.

As a country, we are redefining what it means to be Canadian. Canada has a proud history of helping other countries in times of need (wars, famines, natural disasters). These days, we are helping our fellow citizens, and it is inspiring to see how individuals and companies have stepped up during this hour of need.

In last week’s column, I referenced the many random acts of kindness that Canadians have demonstrated early on during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m pleased to report that random acts of kindness have been multiplying by leaps and bounds across the country.

At Pettenuzzo’s Your Independent Grocer (a division of Loblaw Companies Limited) in Kirkland Lake, the store has chosen to open an hour earlier than usual to accommodate seniors. (Many grocery stores and pharmacies across Canada have taken similar measures.)

The co-owner of Your Independent Grocer, Jamie Pettenuzzo, shared with me some other steps his store has taken to minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19, including limiting the number of customers allowed inside the store, installing a portable hand sanitizer sink at the store’s entrance, placing social distance decals on the floor of the store and offering online shopping.


In Keswick, Alan and Vincenza (Vee) Palenchuk, co-owners of the Corner House Bistro, prepared a large quantity of soup and donated it to the Sandgate Women’s Shelter, Georgina Hospice and to local families. It is perfect comfort food in a time of discomfort. Vincenza and Alan plan on repeating this gesture in the near future.

A towing company near London offered to use some of the company’s trucks to provide free pickups and deliveries to seniors who are unable to go the store and for people who are in self-isolation.

Canada Goose recently announced it will use its manufacturing facilities to produce necessary medical gear for front-line health-care workers and patients across Canada in the fight against COVID-19.

Many Canadian and international recording artists have been live streaming mini-concerts from their homes on Facebook and other social media sites as a way of providing some enjoyment (and diversion) for their fans.

In the past week alone, Burton Cummings, Jann Arden, Garth Brooks, Neil Diamond, John Legend and Chris Martin have live-streamed their music, and fans appreciate these spontaneous acts of giving.

Caremongering groups have sprung up across the country. CTV News reported that 35 such groups now exist across Canada. Some of these groups are providing services over and above their regular driving and pickup services, such as offering computer advice for those setting up home offices, and video tutorials for those coping with addictions.

If you want to help others, I encourage you to contact your local non-profit organizations and see how you can be of assistance.

If you are self-isolating at home, there are things you can still do to help others. Why not do a live chat with friend or relative who lives alone? Participate in online gaming?

Once again, I must again commend the front-line workers who are dealing directly with the public during this crisis.

I’m talking about the doctors, nurses and health-care professionals, the retail staff at grocery stores and other retail outlets that are deemed an essential service.

On behalf of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, I commend all individuals and companies that have put their lives at risk in order to make us safe.

This column represents the views and values of the TADA. Write to president@tada.ca or go to tada.ca. Cliff Lafreniere is president of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association and is president of Pinewood Park Motors (Ford) in Kirkland Lake. For information about automotive trends and careers, visit carsandjobs.com.




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