Thunder Bay Business July 2020

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Covid 19: How Have We Done And What’s Next?

INSIDE Working From Home Can Be A Pain We’re here and we got your backs! Five keys to turning upset customers into fans North Superior Publishing


Colorectal Cancer Screening Gets a Boost

Lakehead researcher developing resources to support firefighter mental health during COVID-19




Publisher’s Note Scott Sumner The world changed for everyone recently! Not just for Thunder Bay or Canada but for the planet as a whole. What we have experienced with Covid 19 is something like never before as it has touched everyone. It is sad so many deaths have occurred across the world including Canada and our neighbour to the south.We have been pretty lucky in the Thunder Bay area with our isolation from large urban areas. In some ways it was good to be here especially during this time. I am quite impressed with the job done by our governments. Prime Minister Trudeau and his government have done virtually everything they could to try and soften the blow for Canadians.To have over 8 million people at one time receiving the CERB benefit has been a big help to many families. The wage subsidy benefit of 75% of wages has helped businesses move forward as best as possible. The loan program of $40,000 available to some small businesses is a good program.


Covid 19: How Have We Done And What’s Next? There are many other financial programs which have helped many. It is nice to see the daily press events with Canada and Ontario. Premier Doug Ford has proven to be a strong performer during Covid 19 and is very genuine in his goal of helping Ontarians. The Thunder Bay municipal government have made many good decisions to respond to Covid 19. Our government leaders have worked well together! Recently we have talked to several business owners in Thunder Bay to see how they are doing in this new environment.The range of responses are varied. Some have done very well even better than normal times. It may be people are looking for recreational activities they can still do such as riding ATV’s or Side by Sides. Grocery sales have taken off according to one large store. People weren’t able to go to restaurants they said and that means more cooking at home. Other businesses such as auto dealers are now finding it difficult to get the inventory

they need to meet normal sales targets as factories had shut down and the demand for their available inventory is high. Of course some business has been devastated. If you are an airline or airport some have said their volume is down 90% or they may be completely shut down. Restaurants are closed or open to a small degree with take out or patio service now. Hotels might be completely shuttered or at very low occupancy levels. It must mean big losses for them as their fixed costs would remain high. Retail operations may have been totally closed or had curbside pick up only. All in all many business sectors have struggled and may continue to until the consumer comes back and feels comfortable out in the marketplace. We are lucky to have the Port of Thunder Bay which has experienced excellent results during this time. Their services are in high demand. So what’s next? What can we expect? It’s sort of hard to tell I think. How will

the consumer react after all of this isolation protocol? Will they feel comfortable going to a restaurant, concert or movie again? Will you be able to socially distance 6 feet for the future? How will that affect the cost of doing business? Can a restaurant make it with 30% of their occupancy? If we go to a music show at the Auditorium for example can they get artists paid their normal fee with 30% of the seats sold? If you are flying to Toronto will you want to be on a packed flight. Could the airline make it on low occupancy and how will that affect ticket pricing? It is definitely somewhat unknown and will require new ways of doing things specific to your business. The best answer might be a vaccine for everyone which would allow for somewhat normalcy but even then the average person may not want to return to the old ways. I guess as one of my friends would always say, only time will tell.

Colorectal Cancer Screening Gets a Boost: New Endoscopy Reprocessing Equipment Arrives in Marathon Anyone who has prepped for an endoscopy procedure knows it’s not something you want to do often; and you certainly don’t wish to have your procedure cancelled due to an equipment failure. In order to keep its endoscopy program running smoothly, Wilson Memorial General Hospital recently received a grant of $34,469 to purchase a new Endoscopy Reprocessor; equipment used to disinfect endoscopes quickly and effectively between procedures. The grant was provided thanks to the generosity of donors to the Northern Cancer Fund.

be prevented through regular screening as precancerous polyps can be removed before turning into cancer.

two days set aside per month for the cancer screening program.” Continued Gobeil, “We have surgeons who travel to Marathon from Thunder Bay to perform the scopes. If the reprocessor fails, it not only means that our patients can’t have their procedure completed, but it’s also a huge inconvenience to the surgeons. We’re very grateful that this grant was awarded to us and that we now have access to two reprocessors. Offering colorectal cancer screening close to home is essential as it removes the burden of travel for this important procedure.”

At Wilson Memorial General Hospital, screening for colorectal cancer, using colonoscopes, has been available to residents of Marathon and surrounding areas since 2008. Local access to screening is important as many colorectal cancers can

“Our current reprocessor is 11 years old and was starting to fail intermittently,” said Janet Gobeil, Chief Nursing Officer, Wilson Memorial General Hospital. “We do approximately 15 scopes a day, with

“Northwestern Ontario is a vast region, and access to local cancer care can be challenging,” said Glenn Craig, President & CEO, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. “Donors to the Northern Cancer Fund provide support for exceptional cancer care in multiple cities across the region, keeping care as close to home as possible. Back in 2007, $115,000 was granted to start up the colorectal cancer screening program at Wilson Memorial General Hospital and

we’re delighted to contribute to the ongoing success of the program, where hundreds of people are screened each year.” Together, we make HOPE possible.



Five keys to turning upset customers into fans When it comes to dealing with dissatisfied customers, most business owners and managers believe that money back guarantees and/or exchange policies will fix the problem. Lousy strategy. Money back guarantees and exchanges may fix the problem, but they do nothing to fix the relationship. Policies don’t fix relationships — people do.

To prevent this defensive mindset, employees need to be trained to treat customer complaints as concerns. Employees should be made aware of the fact that customers who express concerns are helping you to stay sharp, competitive and successful. Focusing on customer concerns vs complaints will immediately

they can’t afford to train employees, when in fact they can’t afford not to. You don’t get customers for free. You earn customers by investing in front line training. 3. Prove that you’re listening.

like, “Gosh, that sounds frustrating.” Or, “I’d feel the same way if I were you.” Empathizing will diffuse an angry customer faster than anything else you can do.

When a customer is voicing their dissatis-


Tell the customer, “I’m sorry.” Even if it wasn’t your fault, but your co-worker’s, you represent your organization to that customer, so apologize on behalf of the entire company. Even when you suspect the customer may have erred, it’s better to give the customer the benefit of the doubt, than to be “right” and loose a lifetime of repeat and spin-off business.

When I speak at conventions and meetings on how to boost customer retention, I often find that there is little attention paid to how employees can fix the damaged relationship when the customer has been let down. The consequences of this are staggering. Inadequately trained front line employees chase away repeat customers and referrals, spread damaging word-of-mouth advertising, and become frustrated and demotivated because they’re constantly dealing with upset customers. On the other hand, by applying just a few critical people skills, front line employees can create such positive feelings — for both themselves and their customers, that an upset customer will become even more loyal. They’ll be transformed from being a critic of your organization to becoming an advocate. Here are 5 key strategies: 1.

Focus on concerns vs complaints.

No one likes to hear customers complain. Employees become impatient and defensive when faced with these “trouble-makers.” One of my seminar participants equated listening to customer complaints to undergoing amateur eyeball surgery. (That can’t be good).

Apologize and provide extras.

shift a potentially negative situation into one that is positive, helpful, and productive. 2.

faction, stop whatever you’re doing, turn towards them and give them an expression of total concern. Listen without interrupting.

Empower front-line employees.

For their 43rd wedding anniversary, my father called a florist to order 43 roses for my mother. When Dad asked for the price, the clerk quoted the single rose price times 43. She offered no quantity discount despite the fact that they’re usually cheaper by the dozen. She admitted that this didn’t make sense, adding that her boss wasn’t in and the policy was to issue no discounts without the manager’s approval. Result — a competitor got the order and Dad will never go back to the first florist. The lesson is that you can often prevent customers from becoming upset if you empower your front line employees to make reasonable on-the-spot decisions. This type of delegation require two important factors: training and trust. The irony is that a lot of managers say

Then prove that you’ve heard them. That means repeating and paraphrasing. IMPORTANT: make sure you tell them why you’re repeating what they’ve said. For example, you might say, “I want to make sure I’ve got this straight… ” (then you paraphrase and repeat). That ensures that the customer knows that you truly understand the problem. 4.

Express sincere empathy.

Virtually every upset customer feels frustrated because they didn’t get what they expected. It’s that simple. Whether or not they have a valid reason for feeling frustrated is completely irrelevant. Upset customers need to know that you care — not just about their problem — but about their frustration. So, empathize. That’s something that no refund or exchange will ever do. Use phrases

If your product or service really did fall short of the mark, then to retain the customer, of course you’d give them a refund or exchange. But that’s not enough. On top of the exchange or refund, give them something for their inconvenience. Any small gesture or token of appreciation (that doesn’t force them to spend more money) will be greatly appreciated and will transform that upset customer into one of your greatest advocates. The Training Solution Every business has occasions where things go wrong and customers are disappointed. When that happens, your customer base won’t be preserved by money back guarantees or exchanges. Rather, your business will be saved by properly trained frontline employees. Jeff Mowatt is a customer service strategist, Hall of Fame speaker, and bestselling author. For more tips, training tools or to inquire about engaging Jeff for your team visit

Lakehead researcher developing resources to support firefighter mental health during COVID-19 The Canadian Institutes of Health Research has awarded Lakehead University’s Dr. Kathryn Sinden with a $49,968 Knowledge Synthesis COVID-19 rapid response grant to spend six months developing resources to support the mental health of firefighters working during COVID-19.

Dr. Sinden believes firefighters would have the same exposure to mental health conditions during and following the COVID-19 pandemic as other front line workers reported due to SARS.

This research will use an integrated knowledge translation approach, meaning firefighters will be embedded in the research process. As a team, they will appraise information about managing mental health from peer-reviewed academic journals, online information specific to firefighter health and general platforms, and existing guidelines provided by firefighter associations.

Due to the important work that they perform, firefighters are often “firston-scene” and have a higher chance of being exposed to transferable diseases including COVID-19, said Dr. Sinden, an Assistant Professor in Kinesiology. “Researchers have found that in periods of heightened risk such as a pandemic, there are further impacts on individuals’ mental health,” she said. “For example, following the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, front-line workers identified this event as traumatic and those who had higher risk for SARS exposure reported more post-traumatic stress injury symptoms than other workers.”

factors that increase firefighters’ risk for mental health disorders, COVID-19 has created a unique and challenging context where their risk for experiencing mental health conditions has increased,” she said.

Dr. Sinden will use the results of this research to develop various resources that can be implemented by the firefighter community, with implications for first responder groups across Canada, to develop strategies to help them better manage their mental health and prevent illness. Dr. Kathryn Sinden

“Consequently, in addition to known

“We are very pleased to have received this funding from CIHR,” said Dr. Andrew Dean, Lakehead’s VicePresident, Research and Innovation.

“This applied research project is important, timely and hopefully will yield valuable results for mental health management strategies for firefighters.”

Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has 10 faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. In 2019, Maclean’s 2020 University Rankings, once again, included Lakehead University among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities, while Research Infosource named Lakehead 'Research University of the Year' in its category for the fifth consecutive year. Visit



Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Continues to Fill Local Healthcare Needs June 24, 2020 – The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) continues to move forward with the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) program despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is continuing remotely with great success. This past week Emily Lauzon, Workforce

to immigrate and permanently resettle in our community. The Rural and Northern Immigration is a unique pathway that is helping retain these valuable workers while ensuring their successful integration into the community.” All 12 healthcare workers have been offered full time, permanent jobs in Thunder Bay, and can now apply for permanent residency with their community recommendation. The positions are spread across two local healthcare facilities, St. Joseph’s Care Group and Southbridge Roseview. The good news comes at a time when healthcare workers are needed more now than ever to fill the gaps in the local healthcare sector. About the Thunder Bay Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot: The Thunder Bay RNIP is a community-driven immigration program. It is designed to spread the benefits of economic immigration to Thunder Bay by creating a path to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers who want to work and live in our city. Once the recommendation has been made,

Development Officer with CEDC, announced that 12 healthcare workers including Registered Nurses, Registered Practical Nurses and Personal Support Workers have received community recommendations through the RNIP program. All 12 healthcare workers have been offered full-time, permanent jobs in Thunder Bay and can now apply for permanent residency with the community recommendation. Currently there have been 19 out of the potential 100 community recommendations made through the Thunder Bay RNIP. Healthcare workers make up more than half of the skilled workers that have received a community recommendation. “With the potential to give 100 community recommendations in the first year of operation, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot will make a significant impact to our growing healthcare sector,” said Eric Zakrewski, CEO of Thunder Bay CEDC. “The program is designed to be job offer dependent, therefore creating a direct pathway for skilled healthcare professionals to stay and work in Thunder Bay.” The Thunder Bay RNIP allows eligible employers to make full-time, permanent job offers to skilled foreign workers to help fill identified labour shortages in the city. When compared to other avenues for immigration, the RNIP program is able to directly fill priority occupations for all levels of jobs, while the other forms of obtaining a permanent residency in Canada focus mostly on higher occupational skills with no guarantees for obtaining a job or residency. Personal Support Workers are considered an occupation in demand, but without the RNIP program, many of these essential workers may not have a pathway to permanent residency. Thunder Bay’s RNIP is now helping certified skilled healthcare workers stay in Canada and work here locally. “The long term care staffing shortage has been an ongoing concern,” said Emily Lauzon, Workforce Development Officer, Thunder Bay CEDC. “Until recently, temporary workers have had few opportunities

the applications must then must apply for permanent residency. From there the Government of Canada makes the final

decision to approve applications for permanent residence. For more information visit:



David Feherty Had A Connection To Thunder Bay somewhere in Canada, London I think, and was approached by Brad Jones, Jones Entertainment Group. He said have you thought about doing this in front of a crowd and I said that’s what I did but now it is in theatres. The first two were in Calgary and Edmonton and it’s been fun. We have done close to a hundred shows now.”


Great Outdoors It was fun sitting down with well known golf TV personality David Feherty when he made a stop at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium a few years ago to ask him some questions!There was another media member as well.

Why is it important to bring humour to golf, to bring that out in the golf world?

David how did you end up coming to Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada? “ You know I was wondering that myself! I used to know a guy called Frank Edmonds who played the European Tour and was a friend of mine. I haven’t seen him forever. He was from Thunder Bay and I just thought I should go there one day.”

“ It is a stupid game really and if you can’t laugh at it or laugh at yourself you shouldn’t be playing it.” You have played golf for a long time? You have a very unique gig in golf now with humour! “ I not sure if it’s his fault, the promoter standing there. I did a corporate gig

“ I was 17 when I turned pro and 19 when I got on the European Tour so almost 43 years. I haven’t played golf at all now for 11 years though. I got run over by a truck while bicycling and it crushed me all down my left side including my hand which won’t close now after losing a nerve. No more golf for


What do you feel about the state of the game of golf today. Will someone come along to replace Tiger? “ No that is not going to happen. The kids of today are phenomenal but no one is going to replace Tiger in my lifetime or my children’s lifetime. That was something to see and once in a 500 year history of the game.” “ The game is in a good place especially with all these guys that grew up watching Tiger and being inspired by him. You have Tiger back in the game now as well.” A few years ago the question was when is Tiger going to get to 18 majors. Now I want to know is he gong to get to 15? “I’ll think he’ll get to 15, I’m not sure if he’ll get to 18.” What is your show all about? “It is essentially a lot of Irish humour. The story of my life and career as well as a lot of other people’s lives like Nicklaus and Trevino, Palmer and Kenny Venturi. These stories will die if I don’t tell them. I kind of unashamedly tell other peoples stories because I’m qualified to do that. It’s really a lot of Irish jokes, an occasion fart joke, more than occasional. It is really me entertaining myself. I never get tired of listening to myself, I crack myself up.” You have quite a silly sense of humour? “I wasn’t the brightest child in school , really attention deficit, and didn’t understand why I couldn’t learn. I ended up making fun of myself before the other children could and that sort of stood me in good stead throughout my life combating things like alcoholism, depression, mental illness- the whole lot. I don’t suffer from them I live with them because of that.” Anyone you would like to interview you haven’t yet? “ No one has ever said no to me. I haven’t asked Tiger yet because he has never been in a place since I started my Golf Channel Show where I would have been comfortable interviewing him. I want him to be the same kid I watched grow up on the golf course. We kind of beat that out of him, the media did, but I think he’ll get there. I think he will probably be my last show.”



We’re here and we got your backs! By Sherry Hanes July 2020 Let’s think strategy! To get to the point…. There is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to economic recovery from this pandemic but, progress is being made. With the major down turns in the economy, due to closures and minimizing labour forces in manufacturing and in retail services, Mom and Pop stores, the, little guys, as they are referred to, are sure facing their fair share of struggles to survive as well. Dealing with financial ruin and the forfeiting of family businesses, losses have also affected business traditions that shop owners, families and community have come to identify with and enjoy over the years. We all like to reminisce about the ‘good

ative state of mind, which will only make one feel worse, cause stress, which in turn, lowers an already compromised immune system, thus making one more vulnerable to contracting the virus. The changes we have experienced did not come gradually. It was swift and furious, leaving many, at first, in a state of nonbelief, and thinking that this would be ‘just a phase’. But the truth of the matter is, everyone has been affected either directly or indirectly by the forces of which we could not see coming and the amount of control it seems to have over almost every aspect of our lives. It is good to say it out loud and as difficult as it is…we have to look at this through the eyes of reality, and

‘reality is the way things are, not the way we want them to be’. We have to develop a sense hope, no matter how small it is and we need extend ourselves to being a good Samaritan (A compassionate person who unselfishly helps others, especially strangers) to feel that we are making some contribution of good will for all. Here is one example worth sharing … The story is about a group of men and women who worked for a large manufacturing company. The company was dealing with a major, financial crises, due to circumstances outside of their control. The crises was so bad that, the company, reluctantly, had to lay off several employees. All the labour and trades employees were members of a union. Employees that were laid off, had not worked for some months and money was tight for them and living with fear and anxiety, that were ever present in the home, became a daily sce-

nario. The great part about this story is, business eventually started to pick up again but only in waves and the company needed to run extra shifts now to fulfill the orders coming in so, extra man hours needed to be added, which lead to OVERTIME HOURS becoming available. Overtime hours were of course, by union contract requirements, offered to the employees who had seniority. The working employees with the seniority felt so badly for the people that were laid off and who were struggling to feed their families that, they decided to share the hours in a way that would not violate any contract issues and yet at the same time, provide income for those who hadn’t any coming in for months and yet still, have a pay cheque themselves. Continued

J &J Sports Thunder Bay ole’ days’ and in these times, that is exactly what we are doing, except for the fact that, the ‘good ole’ days’, weren’t that long ago. It is sad to see employers have to lay-off and even let go of, long time and dedicated employees. To say the least, there have been countless tears that have fallen in the disparity of the effects of what the world is experiencing, ‘the Corona Virus’ and, as we are experiencing a grieving process for the life we used to know, we must not give up or give in. We must share strength and constructive ideas and try to be part of the solution and ignore the beckoning of the abyss for living in a neg-

Visit Celebrate all that we have to be proud of as Canadians!



We’re here and we got your backs! Continued So, when the working employees with seniority were called to work ‘overtime’, they were just not available for the extra hours…so, the company had to go down the list, calling the next available employee in line, which just happen to be, the employees who had been laid off. This resulted in everyone being helped. The regular workers were still working their regular shifts, the laid off workers were earning some money, fulfilling the overtime hours, and the company was meeting their obligation to their clients for fulfilling the orders. Everyone was happy! It was a Win, Win for all! A wonderful story! In some personal interviews, we share with you what some local businesses strategies for surviving and combating Coronavirus. Rico of Hollywood Hairstyling, located in the Victoriaville Mall, takes the care and protection needed, to give his clients the peace of mind they deserve, and making them look great, supporting that. Taking appointments as opposed to ‘Walk-Ins’, is just one way, Rico ensures safe, social distancing. Clients are seated far apart from each other, at more than the prescribed distance, offering more peace of mind to all. Wearing masks and using sanitizers, are now the order of the day for proper protocol for servicing the customers as well. Rico is happy to see his customers and they are just as happy to see him…once he has cut the hair away from their eyes, that

is! LOL! We were starting to look like we were going back to the Beatle Mania hair do’s! J & J Sports of 939 Tungsten Street, here in Thunder Bay, are keeping really busy, helping customers with some of their ‘Fun’ purchases! Manager, Anne Marie Polhill, who has been with J & J Sports for over 20 years, shares this: “March 15, 2020, the majority of my staff was laid off.”, reducing operating store staff to five persons only, from the original twelve employees.” When asked how did it go for the business during that time, Anne Marie responded with “You had to do what you had to do! There were a number of serious buyers so, the deals got done, the parts got sold, and believe it or not, we got a system that worked for us. The first two weeks, there was a drop in sales and I didn’t open the doors until the first week of June but, we didn’t have to because, that’s how busy we were. People were buying ATV’s, Side-BySides, all of our summer stuff. Motor Cycles are a hard sell right now because all the courses are closed. The Moto Cross track is open for practice but the driving course at the college is cancelled and that is major because that’s our buyers, the guys and girls that take the course. J & J Sports has adapted well during the pandemic, putting into place Plexiglass in customer service areas and cleaning stations. Anne Marie shares, “We’ve downsized the showroom so there’s more room for the customers to move around and they are only allowing five customers at a time, in the store. Nearly all the staff has returned to work since June 1st, with the exception of one person.” Even though J & J have dealt with the effects of the

pandemic very well, Anne Marie tells that at the beginning of the pandemic, they were hit hard in relationship to the snowmobile sales. Since there may never be a ‘return to normal’ way of operating, new ways of conducting business and implementing strategies to survive, have helped J & J to stay in the game. “People needed things to do since they are not travelling and so they say to themselves, ‘I’m just going to spend my money and have fun!’” Everyone at J & J Sports are happy to see people investing in their own community by shopping local and they are happy people are taking an interest in providing fun for themselves. Getting out, seeing what fun there is to be enjoyed in our own back yard has benefitted, not only local shops but, has afford the added value of families spending irreplaceable time together. Also, in a personal and interesting interview, speaking with M.P. Marcus Powlowski representing–Thunder Bay and Rainy River, Mr. Powlowski shared some interesting points with us about Bombardier Manufacturing’s partnering with O-Two Medical Technologies, (Mississauga, Ontario), for producing ventilator components in the production of 18,000, e700 (portable)ventilators, which will see their final assembly at O-Two Medical Technologies. Basically, we had prepared a list of onpoint questions and upon asking the first question, the answers for the remaining

though the interview itself, was part of the formal process for content of this article. Having said that, I will refer to M.P. Powlowski as ‘Marcus’ for the remainder of this interview. For those of you who are just getting to know or wishing to get to know our local M.P. Powlowski, here is part of his bio that you will more than likely find, very interesting. Marcus is a Physician in the Emergency Room at Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre. In addition to being a medical doctor, he has two law degreesLL.B, LL.M, from the universities of Toronto and Georgetown, respectively. He also attended Harvard University and obtained a Masters of Public Health in Health Law and Policy. Born in Fort William 59 years ago, Marcus has deep roots in Thunder Bay. His grandmother (Baba) ran Annie’s Confectionary on East Brock Street for over 60 years. His grandfather Michael at one time repaired shoes on Simpson St and later became a lineman on the CPR. His parents Peter and Elizabeth owned and operated Strawberry Hill Workshop in Kaministiquia. Marcus worked as a doctor for two years in northern First Nations communities, and for seven years practicing medicine in several developing countries in Africa and Oceania. For several years, he worked as a consult-

questions on the list, just naturally flowed into the interview. So, we hope you enjoy reading the conversation. It is 10:30 A.M., Wednesday, June 24th, (2020) and my phone is ringing. I am expecting a prearranged call from the local M.P. Marcus Powlowski, representing–Thunder Bay and Rainy River. Me: “Good morning! This is Sherry Hanes, for Thunder Bay Business Magazine, speaking.” The response at the other end of the phone confirmed the anticipated call. M.P. Marcus Powlowski: “Good day Sherry. This is M.P. Marcus Powlowski calling. How are you this morning?” His voice expressed his sincerity in the interest of my wellness. Me: “I am very well Sir, and yourself?” M.P. Marcus Powlowski: “I am very well, thank you for asking and please, call me Marcus!” I concurred and was delighted to know that we would be speaking on a more comfortable, let’s say, less ‘informal’ basis, even

ant in health legislation for the World Health Organization. More recently Marcus has worked, periodically, as a lecturer at Lakehead University (Faculties of Law, Medicine, and Arts and Science) and the University of San Francisco. He continues to do volunteer work on a medical project in Ethiopia. He is married with five children. Marcus believes that his breadth of education and life experience allows him a unique perspective on the issues most important to the people of Thunder Bay— Rainy River. Marcus will pursue effectiveness in health care, climate action, efficiency in government, job creation/ poverty alleviation schemes with an added focus on Indigenous communities, and the betterment of all people. When not practicing medicine, Marcus enjoys watching a hockey game (especially when his kids are playing!).?

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We’re here and we got your backs! Continued …interview continued… Me: “M.P Powlowski,… Marcus… Just before we get started, I would like to say this,… if any one of your family members, such as one of your children or your wife, should call in during our interview, I would be happy for you to interrupt our call and take their call. I am saying this because, families are everything and if they weren’t, there would be not point to anything were trying to do in the world today.’” Marcus was very happy to hear that and totally agreed, expressing the vital importance of family. Me: “I won’t keep you too long Marcus, as I know you are very busy and I respect that and if you want to, we can now get on with a few questions now?”

In Northern Italy, doctors were having to make the difficult decisions as to who got a ventilator, in fact, here too, they kind of made plans as to who is going to get a ventilator when there’s a limited supply. So, this one’s a big, big issue on ventilators and low and behold, Bombardier was also an ongoing issue, so I asked Bombardier somewhere early on, could they make ventilators and they said ‘We can make anything!’. So, I got my parliamentary assistant to look into, who in Canada, if anybody produced ventilators and there was a company O-Two Medical Technologies, in Mississauga Ontario, which made portable ventilators and so I spoke to and said to them, ‘Are you gearing up? Are you making enough ventilators? Do you need some help making ventilators? And they said ‘Yes!’ and I said ‘Well, Bombardier is interested, can

demic, is present or ‘factually’ predicted. We cannot afford to live in fear. Fear of this type, only dictates a debilitating scenario for life and death of people and life and death of economics. So, before we affirm there will be a second wave, let’s be careful of what is fact and what is fear mongering. According to Marcus, “I don’t know about a second wave and nobody knows if there will be a second wave, but, until there’s, and hopefully there will be an effective vaccine, there could be more cases here and we still may need those extra ventilators. And I think there was, in my mind, there was a big, there ought to have been a big, national, collective sigh of relief upon they’re starting to mass produce ventilators. It isn’t an answer to the whole problem but, it’s a major part of the answer. How’s that for a long answer?” he, Marcus chuckled at the thought of it. And in response, I, myself, could not help but laugh as well. I remarked to Marcus, that he is a very busy man, having obtained a number of university degrees, encompassing a medical doctor degree, an emergency doctor degree, plus two law degrees, LL.B, and LL.M, respectively and also his Masters of Public Health in Health Law and Policy and now, our local M.P.

Rico at Hollywood Hairstyling Marcus: “Sure! Fire away!” Me: “O.K. Thank you. My first question will be, ‘How did you get involved with Bombardier locally, to help in the manufacturing of the ventilators?’’’ Marcus: “Well, that is a classic case of killing two birds with one stone. The jobs at Bombardier plant have been a major issue from when I started running. Over last summer they laid off over 500 people, as a result of not enough contracts, which is obviously, I don’t know if devasting maybe overuse of the word but, it was a severe blow to Thunder Bay. Given it’s our major private employer in town and so, right from the start, it was one of my goals, to try to bring back jobs to Bombardier. UNIFOR came out and supported me and campaigned for me and I’ve gotten to know Dominic Pasqualino, President of UNIFOR-Local 1075, as well as Dave Black, who’s the plant manager. So this kind of pre-existed before COVID-19, and then COVID-19 came out and with that kind of viral infection, the concern is respiratory failure and needing ventilators and as we saw in places like, Northern Italy, they ran out of ventilators. They just had too many sick people and not enough ventilators. So, it was a major concern of mine and of the government, early on, that if we have a really serious epidemic here, that we’re not going to have enough ventilators to put everyone who needs them, on them.

I put you in contact with them?’ and then I followed it up with a call or two, but that was basically it. So, it was not a lot of effort on my behalf but I did set them up, I did follow up and it’s turned out very well. Me: “Profound results, I would suggest!” I could hear the passion in his response for helping the world. I personally suppose, that comes with also being an emergency doctor. Marcus: “As of a couple of weeks ago, they (O-Two Medical Technologies) said they were putting out 500 a week, figuring on going up to a thousand a week, and that is a significant number of ventilators. We haven’t exceeded ventilator capacity (i.e., ran out of ventilators) yet, and hopefully we won’t because we’ve done a good job on the public health side. Certainly, it is far better to not get sick than to end up on a ventilator but, there’s certainly places in the states where we are seeing numerous states kind of ‘peaking’ in terms of incidents of COVID-19. I don’t know, if in the states, how they’re doing, in terms of making their own ventilators.” Until this epidemic is brought to its knees, the need for ventilators will be critical, especially with the unconfirmed, possibility of what is termed, ‘a second wave’. There are certain news sources that are suggesting a ‘ second wave’ of coronavirus, as was with the SARS pan-

Me: “I also understand that, you are an emergency doctor as well? Where do you find the time?” Laughingly, Marcus replied, “I’ve been doing it for 35 years and my plans have been to kind of retire from this year but, I have fulfilled some shifts up until March. My claim to fame was to have five degrees, five kids and now we’re having six kids so, I guess I have to get another degree, maybe a small one!”, as we exchanged a little more laughter. Me: “Is there anything you can offer as to ‘gaining back’ some of what has been lost to the COVID situation. I understand a number of the Mom and Pop businesses have been severely affected by this pandemic and outside of what is already being offered for help, is there any other programs that are being offered?” Marcus: “In everything, I always look for meaning or reason. As an emergency doctor you see tragedy and you can find no silver lining to that cloud, I mean, which is bad, however, I think with the pandemic, and it certainly brings a lot of bad things, the worst one being, obviously death of a lot of people. Certainly, a lot of people have suffered economically. There’s been a lot of businesses that have spent a lot of years building up, to the point that they were making money, and kind of got the rug pulled out from under them and there was there no way of knowing. So, people for example, we are hearing a lot from Fly-In Fishing Lodges, which is mostly in the West end of my riding, which is in Fort Frances, Rainy River, and they’re very dependent on U.S. tourism. Now I don’t think anybody could have predicted, should have predicted, that 2 or three years ago, that the border to the United States would be closed. So, for some people there is inherent risk in their business, but no thought as a tourism operator, that the borders would be closed. So, is there a silver lining? Is there a benefit? I think

there is. This has been a big blow to the head for the world and I think it has shown us a couple things, and one of the things is, that we can do things differently. We’ve managed to largely shut down our economy for a number of months and we are getting it going again, and if we do it prudently, I think we can come out of this pretty well economically. Not perfectly but, health wise, pretty well. I think another thing that a lot of people have learned in their individual lives is, and something that I learned a long time ago, is that, having more free time in your life is certainly nice and a lot of people are at home and there is something to be said about having more time with your family.” Both Marcus and I went onto speak about how these times are a challenge and that people tend to become resourceful, and even the doctors and nurses in the medical profession, in the emergency wards, have had to resort to different measures of ingenuity, and ‘go beyond’, to save lives and there are a certain number of people out there that ‘come alive’ and have come out of this, in the face of this challenge. We also conversed people are shopping local, more and more, from farming products to preservatives. Shop local is ALWAYS a good idea! Me: “Is there anything else you would like to say at this time, to our audience and the members of the communities?” Marcus: “For the businesses, I know this has been a severe blow and the money in the banks is the business ‘you’ve’ created and nurtured and made grow and then suddenly…this has happened. Hopefully all those programs we’ve rolled out, I am really impressed, with what’s been done so far. We know there are gaps and we know there are people falling through the cracks but, we have been so eager to get things out to the people. Yes there will be mistakes and the government has been trying to address those mistakes, but I think they’ve done a pretty good job.” As with anything, no one is perfect but all in all, we are just beginning to recover and as far as a second wave? ...there are no confirmed facts that a second wave will come, but we must take what we have learned and apply it to our daily living. Even if there is never a second wave of COVID, we as human being intuitively know that we do not live in a perfect world and there will always be something to challenge us so, practice good health. Don’t become complacent with your practices of social distancing because, like it or not, there is always the certainty that something else could be brewing…it’s not over yet, but it can be if we are mindful enough to think of safe health practices. It won’t be easy but, do keep it in the forefront of your mind and have your family members do the same, for the sake of life itself! We thank all those who participated in this article and we are proud our government is doing their best to have our backs, supplying money, health care and support in housing and in emotional and mental disparities. See you next article!



Working From Home Can Be A Pain The trend of working from home has been increasing significantly in the past several years. But not until the Covid pandemic did working from home become more popular that going to the office. To do it right your work station at home needs to be just as ergonomically correct as it is at the office, starting with a good chair and proper heights of your desk and computer screen. Using your couch or bed as a work space puts significant postural stress on your spine. When sitting for prolonged periods of time you need proper lumbar support. Having your work station in the family zone of the house makes it far too easy to go from sitting for work to sitting to eat to sitting to binge watch Netflix. Even if your precovid job used to always be mostly behind a desk, at least you had to get up to go to the printer, talk to colleagues, go for lunch, walk to the parking lot, walk further down the hall to use the washroom. You most likely made more frequent trips to the grocery store, gas station and coffee shop. All these little activities actually add up throughout the day. Just simply standing in one spot

rather than sitting causes you to: burn more calories, strengthens your leg and back muscles, strengthens your spine and bones, increases your balance. Walking improves these things even more. Several studies have now proven what scientists and the general public have known for years. Inactivity has a negative impact on your health. Prolonged sitting can significantly increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and overall death rate. The new tag line in the scientific community these days is that sitting is the “new smoking”. When combining all sitting throughout the waking day, which includes in the car, at the desk, in front of the television

or computer, the average person sits for 7-8 hours per day. In fact, health professionals have started to unofficially call long periods of inactivity and its negative consequences the “sitting disease”.

as possible, put the printer in another room or on a different floor are all great ideas. At the very least have a timer that reminds you to stand up and move around for 5 minutes every half hour.

What is even more astonishing with these studies is that they report that whether or not you engaged in a few hours of vigorous exercise throughout the week made no difference to your risks. In other words, the negative effects of prolonged sitting are significantly more influential on your health than the positive effects of doing an hour of exercise 3 times per week. So where do we go from here? How do we change this pattern? Well, the first step is awareness. If you have read this far into my column you are now considered aware. The next step is to take action, literally. Even if you have a desk job there are ways to creatively get up and get moving. Making some of your phone calls while you are standing or even walking, design your work station with alternate heights, keep your work space as far away from your family zone

A joint report from ParticipACTION and the Conference Board of Canada state that: by getting just 10% of Canadian adults to sit less and move more would decrease government health care costs by billions of dollars. With a little bit of effort hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and cancers combined would be reduced by over 600 000 cases by 2040. It is ironic that in this high tech world we now live in, the best advice to maintain your health is old school: sit up straight, stay active daily and wash your hands. James DiGiuseppe is a local chiropractor with a busy family and wellness practice. For more health information or to contact Dr. DiGiuseppe visit

Confederation College Celebrates Close to 1600 Students in 2020 with ‘Graduation Week’ diplomas today with “Graduation Week.” Confederation College is celebrating close to 1600 graduates from its campuses across northwestern Ontario, who have earned certificates, diplomas and advanced

Confederation College President Kathleen Lynch, shared her excitement “Our students have worked incredibly hard to reach

this important milestone and we are beyond proud of all that they have achieved,” she said. “This year in particular, our students’ resilience was tested as they completed the final weeks of their programs. Overcoming challenges, such that they have done, speaks volumes to their capacity to go out into the world and make a meaningful difference.”

Graduation Week activities and to help celebrate the Class of 2020 by sharing messages of congratulation to graduates: • Facebook: • Twitter: • Instagram:

While traditional Convocation ceremonies remain on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions, Confederation College is bringing graduation to students at home. Designating June 15-19 as “Graduation Week,” the College is celebrating its students in a myriad of ways, in recognition of their considerable achievements.

Credentials are arriving in graduates’ homes starting this week and are just the beginning of graduates making their dreams come true.

The week kicking off with a graduation video honouring the Class of 2020, along with a “Diploma Delivery” initiative, whereby College leadership is performing contactless deliveries of a special package, which includes a College credential, for select graduates. Graduates demonstrating leadership, resiliency, impressive character and/or academic excellence, who have made a contribution to the College community, were selected across Confederation’s campuses and three academic schools. These graduates are examples of student success, proudly representing the Class of 2020. Many are also recipients of the College’s top leadership and academic awards. Confederation College congratulates its top award recipients: Sun Hee Baik (Tourism – Travel and Eco-Adventure), Vanessa Devion (Social Service Worker), Gregory Gagnon (Aerospace Manufacturing Engineering Technology), Gaurav Ganjoo (Dental Hygiene), Hannah Pawluk (Recreation Therapy), Jessica Reinikka (Business Administration – Accounting) and Mathew Sousa (Computer Programmer). Confederation College encourages family, friends and community members to follow along on its social media channels for

“We wish all of our graduates continued success as they move forward into the next phase of their lives and encourage them to walk boldly into their futures,” said Lynch. “As they do, we remind them that Confederation College will be here to cheer them on and will always be here to support them. Congratulations Class of 2020!” For full details about the Class of 2020, including a complete list of graduates, visit

Confederation College has been serving the citizens of northwestern Ontario since 1967 meeting the educational needs of students in a catchment area of some 550,000 square kilometres. Along with its main campus in Thunder Bay, Confederation College has eight regional sites located in Dryden, Fort Frances, Greenstone, Kenora, Marathon, Sioux Lookout, Red Lake and Wawa. Confederation College delivers exceptional education and training to an average of 7,000 combined full- and part-time students per year and currently has a total of 850 full- and part-time employees. Confederation’s regional economic impact and contribution is valued at $643.4 million annually.



Consumers Headed to the Sidelines Early in March, as the Pandemic Shutdown Slowed Bankruptcies in Q1 Younger Borrowers Reported the Most Significant Decline in Debt -

Equifax® Canada’s latest report on Canadian consumer credit provides a view into the early impact of the COVID-19 shutdowns. Average non-mortgage debt dropped 0.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 reflecting the significant drop in consumer spending in March. This is the first decline in average balances in more than a decade. “With stores and restaurants shut down, consumers were able to cut back on their spending in March as retail sales numbers indicated,” said Bill Johnston, Equifax Canada’s Vice President of Data & Analytics. “The result was a plunge in credit card spending that translated into much lower balances. That trend gained momentum in April, with few signs that consumers are looking to debt for support in the early days of the pandemic.”

In total, average debt per person rose to $73,030, an increase of 2.4 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2019. Total outstanding debt was up 4.3 per cent to $1.989 trillion dollars. Despite the pandemic, mortgages continued to gain upward momentum, rising 5.7 per cent compared to 2019. This growth reflects home sales prior to the economic shutdown, as activity slowed considerably by the end of March. The impact of the pandemic has been most evident in the volume of consumers looking for new credit. Inquiries from lenders dropped significantly in midMarch and early April. This is a good indicator of credit demand. The trend has been improving in recent weeks, led by mortgage and auto financing. “Our data showed the sudden drop in credit demand as the economy shutdown in late March,” added Johnston. “Those industries more dependent on physical retail locations were the most impacted,

but it appears the worst is behind us.”

the year.”

Pandemic impact on delinquencies and bankruptcies

About Equifax Equifax is a global information solutions company that uses unique data, innovative analytics, technology and industry expertise to power organizations and individuals around the world by transforming knowledge into insights that help make more informed business and personal decisions. Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Equifax operates or has investments in 24 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. It is a member of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index, and its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. Equifax employs approximately 11,000 employees worldwide. For more information, visit and follow the company’s news on LinkedIn.

The 90+ day delinquency rate (the percentage of credit users that have missed 3+ payments) for non-mortgage debt delinquency rate rose to 1.22 per cent (9%). British Columbia (+12.65%), Ontario (12.33%) and Alberta (11.79%) were once again the highest in this category. Overall, the younger borrowers have demonstrated more stable delinquency rates in the early phase of the pandemic, which may partly be reflected in the increased use of payment deferrals. “The delinquency trend rose again in Q1, but it was not a real reflection of COVID,” added Johnston. “Bankruptcies finally slowed and we know April was also very low as services shut down. Unfortunately, that trend will likely not continue, as we expect delinquencies and bankruptcies to rise in the latter part of

COVID-19: Service Changes for Long Term Care, Victoriaville and Transit As part of the re-opening process, Provincial Order now permits gradually resuming visitation at Long Term Care and Retirement Homes. This three phase process commences with permitting outdoor visits. Beginning Thursday June 18, Pioneer Ridge and Jasper Place are pleased to welcome back visitors. Outdoor visitation set up at Pioneer Ridge and Jasper Place An appropriate outdoor visitation space has been set up at each facility to adhere to the strict rules and requirements, with protocols in place for safety precautions. As part of the Ministry’s visitation regulations, one person per resident is able to visit once a week. All visitors must pass an active screening questionnaire, have their temperature taken, maintain physical distancing during the visit, and attest they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous two weeks. Visitors can call the Thunder Bay District Health Unit at 625-5900 to arrange for testing. Pioneer Ridge and Jasper Place are excited to reunite residents and tenants with their loved ones. Family members can call Pioneer Ridge at 684-3956 or Jasper Place at 684-2928 to arrange for an outdoor visit. All visits must be scheduled in advance. Victoriaville Centre and McKellar Mall reopen to public Effective immediately, public access to Victoriaville Centre and McKellar Mall has been restored. Measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 remain in place. Both facilities will be open to the public from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding any holidays). Public access is available through the West McKellar Mall entrance across from Renco Family Foods and the

Justice Avenue doors. Appointments scheduled outside of regular Centre hours must be arranged with individual businesses. City of Thunder Bay offices remain closed to the public and meetings with staff are available by appointment only. To schedule an appointment view City contacts at Transit front boarding, fare collection resume July 20 Effective July 20, front door boarding and fare collection will resume on all transit buses. Transit will continue to operate on a reduced schedule with additional service added to some of the busier routes for the time being. Leading up to July 20, new safety shields will be installed on buses to allow safe interactions between passengers and operators. Also effective July 20, the 20-ride punch passes will be discontinued. Customers currently holding these passes can exchange remaining rides on their passes for tickets at the Transit Office on Fort William Road which will be re-opening to the public on July 6. Questions can be directed to Transit’s customer service line at 6843744. It is strongly recommended that customers wear a face covering or nonmedical mask when traveling on Thunder Bay Transit where physical distancing is not possible. City enforces two-hour parking limit Residents are reminded that while the Thunder Bay Parking Authority is currently offering free on-street parking at metred spaces, the two-hour limit remains in effect. Vehicles parked at a metre for longer than two hours will be ticketed. The free parking does not include parkades and surface lots and all other parking regulations are still in

effect and enforceable. For the most up-to-date list of service changes, and additional city service information lines, visit: For public health information, visit: •

avirus - the Ontario Ministry of Health reports on the status of cases in Ontario each morning at 10:30 am. • www.TBDHU.COM/coronavirus - the Health Unit’s website contains links to credible sources of information for both the public and local health care providers.



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