• health crisis

Dealers Voice: Finding a Different Gear Amid the COVID-19 Crisis

Here are some suggestions for making the most of your spare time:

Cliff Lafreniere By: Cliff Lafreniere April 10, 2020

At the time of this writing, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten Canadians from coast to coast.

Despite the increase in the number of cases, it is reassuring to see that citizens and businesses are complying with the rules of law and heeding the advice from doctors and health-care professionals.

Amidst this uncertain and fearful time, I am encouraged by the actions that some people and companies are taking to provide additional assistance to those in need.

Most new-car dealerships have reduced their hours of operation and are offering essential service and virtual sales. Some dealers have closed their doors altogether until it is safe to open them again. If you want to know your dealership’s policies and procedures with regard to COVID-19, and how to address your automotive needs, visit their website.

Automotive manufacturers have also posted messages on their websites for their dealer networks and for the public. The message from Pierre Boutin, president and CEO of Volkswagen Canada, I found particularly inspiring in light of all the daily updates.

Boutin writes: “Please follow the recommendations of our health authorities, and do what you can to minimize risk. And remember, finding the time to smile is a powerful tool in moments like these.”

Boutin’s message underscores the importance of everyone doing his/her part in fighting this pandemic, and also remembering that we are all human and need to connect with our families, friends, colleagues and neighbours.

This is a defining time for Canadians. We are all in this crisis together, and together, we will fight it and emerge stronger as a country when it’s over.

Across the province, new-car dealerships are helping their communities by providing vehicles, health supplies and other resources.

The Owasco Group generously offered up to 70 RVs and trailers to the Oshawa and Ajax hospitals to support first responders who need ways to get to home and work. The group has a volunteer team to come in and help with this as soon as the call comes in.

The Drive Muskoka dealerships in Huntsville provided much-needed medical supplies to the Huntsville Hospital Foundation.

During this health crisis, many people may feel that their life has spun out of control, which could lead to anxiety and depression. This could be the result of a lack of structure in their lives — the normal, day-to-day activities that we need to feel fulfilled — as people are wondering what to do with their time.

Here are some suggestions for making the most of your spare time:

• If you have health-related questions or are looking for health services, contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.

• If you have a friend or family member who is feeling down, call them up and try to buoy their spirits. You could put a smile on someone’s face who really needs it. Make use of free online conferencing services, such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime or Google Hangouts. (It’s the next best thing to being with a person.)

• Enrol in a free online course. Khan Academy (khanacademy.org) offers free videos on math, economics, computer programming and other topics, for all levels. Coursera (coursera.org) is an online learning platform that is offering a selection of free courses for a limited time.

• Stay fit and healthy. Establish a fitness schedule to improve your physical and mental health. A resource that offers great online programs is Radix Performance Centre (radixperformance.com).

If you have a personal story to share about coping with this health crisis, or about someone who is making a positive difference in the community, I would love to hear about it. Please email me your stories, and I’ll share a few in a future column (names will not be published).

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.