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11/07/2022

Convenience Store News Canada unveils winners of 2022 Impact Awards

Inaugural awards recognize 20 individuals and organizations, from retailers to suppliers, distributers and associations, making an impact.

Canada’s convenience industry is filled with inspiring and innovative examples of companies and individuals making a positive impact in myriad ways. To shine a light on these commendable efforts, Convenience Store News Canada this year launched  the Impact Awards, which recognize initiatives introduced by retailers, suppliers, distributors and industry partners that are making a meaningful difference in a range of important areas, from helping the plant to championing diversity, equity & inclusion, and community service. 

We are thrilled to present 20 inaugural 2022 Impact Awards winners and share their inspiring stories.

SUSTAINABILITY 

 

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HIllside shop and save

Hillside Shop & Save

When it comes to sustainability—every small action can make a big impact. At the Hillside Shop & Save in Elliot Lake, Ont., recycling has become a business priority.

“We believe that we all have to do our part to ensure our future and the next generation’s; it’s up to us to help,” says owner Shawn Breen.

“We reuse as much as we can so fewer products go to landfill sites. Our canola oil is emptied once a week and sent to Rothsay to be picked up and recycled, and our cardboard boxes are broken down and placed in the special bin for recycling.”

Any paper that comes to the store is recycled as memo pads, and bank deposits come back with their paperclips, elastics and paper bags, which are all reused.

“We ask our customers to bring in their own shopping bags to cut down the use of plastic and they have been fantastic about doing that,” says Breen, who was delighted to receive an Impact Award.

“With recognition of this award, we hope it encourages other businesses—no matter their size—to be diligent with recycling because it is so important to our overall environment. As a small convenience store, we have taken recycling very seriously and we do our utmost to recycle all that we possibly can.”


 

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Imperial Tobacco Canada logo

Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd.

A guiding principle for Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd. is its determination to build “A Better Tomorrow.” So, when it came time to launch Vuse in Canada in 2019, sustainability and reduced environmental impact were essential.

That determination led, in August 2021, to “Drop the Pod,” the brand’s first safe disposal pilot program.

“There were two big challenges,” said Pascal Durand, head of Vuse, for Imperial Tobacco Canada. “First it was setting up the logistics behind the operations to be able to expand the Vuse safe recycling program to as many Vuse consumers as possible.” 

Working with a leading recycling partner, empty Vuse pods are safely incinerated, while old Vuse devices get recycled. Any collected e-liquid from Vuse pods is used as fuel in cement production, while collected metals from Vuse devices are transformed into raw material for the manufacture of new products.

“The second big challenge was communicating the program to as many adult Vuse consumers in Canada as possible given the very restrictive legal environment.” Vuse is offering Drop the Pod safe disposal bags at Vuse.com, free of charge, introducing incentives for the return of disposal bags and by the end of the year, it hopes to have several hundred participating locations in Ontario.

“The most rewarding part of this has been hearing Vuse consumers and retail partners tell us that this program is exactly what they had been looking for and to see them actively use it,” says Durand.


 

JTI-Macdonald Corp., Jule Chan

A self-proclaimed “tree hugger,” Jule Chan has always been passionate about the environment and knows that individual and collective efforts can create change.

“Caring for the planet and the environment is something that always just seemed natural to me,” says Chan, who saw an opportunity to put her passion into action at work when she volunteered to join JTI’s Environmental Sustainability Agile Team, which focuses on measuring and reducing the company’s carbon footprint.

“I am very excited and proud that I work for a company that takes our environmental impacts seriously and wants to do the right thing to genuinely make a difference and reduce our company’s impact on the planet,” says Chan, adding JTI’s management team has been very supportive in standing behind all the sustainability team’s initiatives and recommendations.

Chan has carved a reputation as a real go-getter, who has taken the lead on projects, such as going paperless, reducing the number of printers and installing a Bevi water machine to eliminate non-reusable water bottles, as well as supporting group efforts to convert eight the 13 forklifts at the plant to electric; implementing eco driving modules for the sales force; a carpooling campaign, public gardens and more.

While Chan is proud of all her company’s sustainability efforts, one really stands out: For the last two years, JTI has partnered with Tree Canada.

“This gives employees an opportunity to get involved in our sustainability efforts and learn about the importance of trees, while spending time with colleagues,” says Chan, adding JTI employees have planted 1,229 trees and counting. “The Earth is really an amazing place with such beauty that gives us so much in so many ways.”

Chan’s employer credits for playing “a key role in JTI’s mission to reduce its carbon footprint, change our employee culture in terms of sustainability, and raise awareness of the issues we all face with regards to the environment.”


 

Kind Snacks

Pollinators, like bees and butterflies, are central to the plant-based ingredients in Kind Healthy Snacks. Kind recently announced its commitment to exclusively source its almonds from bee-friendly farmland by 2025.

California, which has 1.64 million acres of almond orchards, currently produces the vast majority of the world’s almonds. Each year, about 48 billion pollinators are required to pollinate the crop, but in recent years, both native and managed pollinators have experienced historic declines. Kind therefore supports the expanded usage of bee-friendly practices among its almond farmers and across the almond industry globally.

In 2020, Kind required its almond suppliers to reserve 3-5% of their farmland for dedicated pollinator habitat by 2025. Since then, bee-friendly almond farmland in California has grown by 145,000 acres. The company is also working with suppliers to eliminate usage of two pesticides that harm pollinators.

By the end of 2022, Kind will have sourced 51% of its almond supply from bee-friendly farmland. The company also supports research at the University of California Davis, a leading academic institution for bee and pollinator health expertise, and has donated $350,000 to the Williams Lab for its pioneering bee health research and monitoring of farm-level pollinator improvements.

“As an industry, it’s refreshing to see us celebrating sustainability,” says Robin Poulain, national sales director, Canada. “Weaving sustainability into our everyday practices will drive change. At Kind, we’re committed to acting today to drive big impact tomorrow and our progress towards our 2025 bee-friendly farming goal proves just that. Working for an organization that lives its mission continues to keep Kind employees engaged and energized.”


 

Mondelēz International

Ten years ago, Mondelēz International launched its global cocoa sustainability program, Cocoa Life, to help tackle the complex challenges facing cocoa farmers, including climate change, gender inequality, poverty and child labour. Testing new approaches and innovations, Mondelēz International worked directly with farmers to deliver measurable impact where change was needed. By focusing on making a difference—turning cocoa into a business of choice, creating inclusive and empowered communities and educating on forest conservation and restoration—Cocoa Life creates exciting opportunities for cocoa farmers and their families. 

Today, 100% of Mondelēz International’s chocolate brands in Canada source their cocoa through Cocoa Life.

In 2022, the company exceeded its goals by registering nearly 210,000 Cocoa Life farmers. It invested US$404 million in the program to support farmers’ livelihoods. Mondelēz International held 300,000 training sessions in Good Agricultural and Environmental Practices and saw net incomes increase between 15% in Ghana and 33% in Côte d’Ivoire since 2019. Cocoa Life is now in the cookies category with Oreo. 

Investing in Cocoa Life has led to stronger retail partnerships and increases in sales. It also helped Mondelēz International engage with consumers and raise awareness about cocoa sustainability.

“Mondelēz is passionate about creating snacks as sustainably as possible, and Cocoa Life empowers 200,000 cocoa farmers across six countries to create a sustainable business,” says Chantal Butler, vice-president of marketing for Mondelēz Canada. “In Canada, we are proud to source 100% of the cocoa used in creating our chocolate from the Cocoa Life program. Canadians are more and more interested in supporting brands that have a vested interest in our planet and community; at Mondelēz, we do just that.”


 

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Bistro station at On the Run
Bistro On the Run

Parkland Corporation

Parkland launched its Bistro On the Run initiative across Canada with sustainable foodservice packaging in mind. It invested in freshly-ground bean-to-cup machines to eliminate the waste of thermos-held coffee being dumped every two hours, while ensuring its customers enjoy fresh hot coffee every time. Its double-walled coffee cups—made from bamboo, a renewable resource—mean there’s no need for a sleeve or an extra cup. Parkland is currently testing a water-based liner, slated for 2023 implementation, which will make its Bistro cups 100% compostable.

The company’s Chill Out recyclable cups, launched in 2022 and made from RPET material, further lower Parkland’s carbon footprint.

“Parkland’s Bistro coffee initiative is a building block for future foodservice initiatives at our retail locations,” says foodservice category manager Jackie Pink.

“Being sustainable was a critical factor. We’re first to market with bamboo cups, as well as RPET recycled plastic and upcoming compostable packaging, with the hope that we set a precedent for the industry. We want to make sure to do our part wherever we can to build a sustainable future for generations to come.”


 

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Kent Martin, General Manager, Shell Mobility Canada     Vinion Lee, National Operations Manager, Shell Mobility Canada
Kent Martin, GM and Vinion Lee, national operations manager, Shell Mobility Canada, wear polo shirts designed to divert 15 plastic bottles from landfills and waterways

Shell Canada

In partnership with its uniform provider, Wstar, Shell Canada introduced new site uniforms that reflect the company’s commitment to protecting the planet. Made with 100% recycled polyester (rPET) fabric—a high-quality polyester fibre produced from recycled plastic bottles—the new uniforms contribute to Shell’s goals towards net-zero emissions in its supply chain. To make each polo shirt, 15 plastic bottles are diverted from landfills and waterways. The manufacturing process uses 90% less water and 70% less energy compared to making shirts from virgin fiber polyester. 

Shell is proud that its garments don’t compromise the planet throughout its life cycle and use non-toxic chemicals and substances—which will reduce waste from the environment.  

Shell staff tested the sustainable uniforms and provided valuable feedback so the company can lessen its impact on the planet.

“Our goal was to create comfortable, long-lasting, quality garments that frontline service champions would love to wear,” says Shell Mobility Canada’s national operations manager, Vinion Lee.

“The sustainable uniforms align with Shell values and our Powering Progress Strategy commitment to environmental responsibility by shrinking our carbon footprint. We continuously analyze our practices to maximize opportunities for recycling and reusing materials, reducing emissions, and rethinking our entire approach to sourcing, manufacturing and supply chain. By sharing the tangible steps we have taken, and the positive impact that will have on the environment, we’re hoping more companies will follow suit, which will multiply the positive impact.”


 

DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION

 

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Canadian Tire Gas+ station
shutterstock

Canadian Tire Gas+

The brand purpose at Canadian Tire Corporation is clear: “We Are Here to Make Life in Canada Better.” And that brand purpose is brought to life across the company, including the Gas+ network, through adherence to five core values, two of which are directly tied to its diversity, inclusion and belonging efforts: “Inclusion is a must” and “We are stronger together.”  

“We are committed to creating a culture based on mutual respect, where everyone feels that they belong and can contribute,” explains Andrea Ongaro, division vice-president, petroleum operations and business development. “We know we are stronger together and make decisions that reflect diverse voices and focus on actions consistent with our brand purpose and core values.”

A wide range of steps have been taken to make this a reality: The company shares resources with corporate employees and gas station retailers that help foster a sense of inclusion and belonging; they’ve held “Courageous Conversations” sessions, on topics such as unconscious biases and discussed DIB Terminology, and why language matters. In addition, the company added land acknowledgements at the beginning of all meetings; shared days of significance and 2SLGBTQ+ topics; added pronouns as part of corporate email signatures, and hosted a presentation from Prism, the 2SLGBTQ+ employee resource group.

“What started with us providing learning materials for fundamental concepts led to people courageously sharing stories,” says Ongaro. “This impacted others to live boldly and discover that they are accepted and to accept others as we learn that our differences and similarities make us stronger together.

“People now recognize we’re just scratching the surface in our interactions with each other and are learning how to become allies and partners in a beautiful lifelong journey of growth and discovery.”


 

Imperial Tobacco Canada

While Imperial Tobacco has always valued the diversity of its employees with a workforce representing nearly 50 different nationalities, in 2021, it introduced a D&I Council to take the company to a new phase on its D&I journey, says Lito Charet, vice president of HR, Canada, at Imperial Tobacco.

The goal is “to create a more inclusive workplace, one where everyone feels a true sense of belonging,” says Charet, adding the Council provides a formal structure to capture input from employees, and introduce new initiatives that drive meaningful change, and real progress.

In the last year, the company ran multiple employee focus groups, tweaked leadership and development programs to be more focused on inclusion and rolled out additional training, including the “mastering inclusion” program for all employees.

Plus, there’s two employee resource groups: BUnited for LGBTQ+ employees, and Female Force. One recommendation—additional leadership training for junior-level female staff—led to Imperial Tobacco created a new three-day program.

“Through the feedback shared by participants, we know this program has had a tremendous impact,” says Charet.

A voluntary disclosure survey—which saw 76% of all staff take part—revealed 46% of all employees are visible minorities. “We are now in the process of further analyzing the data to present to our D&I Council and establish whether we have additional barriers to address,” says Charet. The extra focus and commitment to D&I means more education and awareness and embedding inclusion in the culture of the organization.

This is about making a workplace where everyone feels comfortable bringing their whole selves to work, she says. “This will enable more open dialogue and debates which will undoubtedly translate into making the best decisions for our consumers that will in turn drive growth.”


 

Jade Osagie hosts an event during Black History Month

JTI-Macdonald Corp., Jade Osagie

Jade Osagie’s job title at JTI is trade marketer, but she does far more than just trade marketing for the company. Osagie plays an active leadership role in the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, joining the D&I steering committee, promoting a safe and inclusive workplace, celebrating JTI’s racial, ethnic and cultural diversity, and ensuring an LGBTIQ-inclusive environment.

“I've always wanted to be an advocate, I've always wanted to be involved in D&I,” Osagie says, adding she wasn’t formally involved at JTI until she sat in on a virtual company Pride event in the early days of the pandemic.

“It just grabbed me and touched me in such a way where I knew I needed to be involved… I wanted to step up and be a part of that committee,” she recalls.

Since then, she’s facilitated unconscious bias training, expanded and enhanced Black History Month programs, hosted a company-wide panel of Black women who worked at JTI from around the world, created profiles of Black employees on the company portal, and, following the murder of George Floyd, interviewed JTI general manager Alan Jackson about the value of Black Lives Matter.

For Osagie, D&I is about learning, and growing. “It's always education… There's always things you can learn. There's always things you can be aware of,” she says. “To be an ally is to learn.”


 

COMMUNITY SERVICE/LOCAL IMPACT/GIVING BACK

 

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Couche-Tard Red Cross fundraiser for Ukraine

Alimentation Couche-Tard   

As the war in Ukraine continues, so, too does Alimentation Couche-Tard’s commitment to helping Ukrainians and those affected by the conflict.

The c-store giant has stepped up to support several public and private initiatives helping Ukrainian refugees. For instance, in the early spring, ACT joined a group of 18 Quebec companies aiming to help 1,000 people and their families newly arrived in Canada to work, have access to housing, and secure livelihoods.

Efforts didn’t stop there: In support of a Government of Canada initiative, ACT was among the early participants in the launch of the Canadian Industry for Ukraine donation portal, which provides high-priority goods and services to support displaced Ukrainians, as well as the organizations providing aid and resettlement services.

On a local level, the team in Western Canada worked with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress-Alberta Provincial Council to deliver gift bags of personal hygiene products, food and coupons to refugees arriving in Alberta.

Globally, ACT engaged customers in a Red Cross fundraising campaign in its stores, which is well on its way to its goal of collecting $4 million in emergency funding.

“We are honoured and humbled to have been selected among the winners of Convenience Store News Canada's inaugural 2022 Impact Awards,” says Suzanne Poirier, senior vice-presient operations, Alimentation Couche-Tard. “First, we want to extend a sincere thank you to all our team members and customers for their continued support and for partnering with ACT to have a positive impact in the communities where we live and operate. Our global Couche-Tard/Circle K communities truly came together to support the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and those that were displaced by these heartbreaking events. Doing the right thing is at the core of our company values and we believe to have a unique opportunity to use our reach and scale to help build a more sustainable future in Canada and beyond.”


 

Blast-Off Fireworks

In some ways, the work of Blast-Off Fireworks  with the Manitoba Agricultural Museum to preserve Western Canada's last flat grain warehouse, is a story of good corporate citizenship. But it’s also a story about community and heritage and the impulse to do things because it’s in the blood. That’s the case for Matthew Bialek, president and founder of Blast-Off Fireworks. For generations his family was tied to farming and agriculture—he was the first to break that tradition.

“My dad encouraged me to go to school versus helping in the family agri-business,” he says. “But, I feel a huge debt of gratitude to the agricultural industry—which is fading pretty fast in Manitoba—and this is one of our attempts to preserve a small slice of that.”

Blast-Off developed the "Prairie Pride" fireworks kit to support the endeavour to help the museum, which sold the fireworks kits for fundraising, while Blast-Off distributed it across its network of 4,000+ stores, and every sale contributed to funding the preservation of the Brookdale flat warehouse.

Blast-Off sold enough fireworks to fully fund the costs of moving the flat warehouse to the Manitoba Agricultural Museum in Austin, Man. A job well done, but the work isn’t over. Blast-Off is now partnering with the Pioneer Village Museum in Beausejour on a similar project: preserving the Elevator Agent's Office from the grain elevator in Tyndall.

Blast-Off’s commitment is about helping, but it’s also just who they are. “We're still very reliant on service, on relationships, and many of the features that—when you think back to the past—the agricultural industry shared,” says Bialek. “There’s still some form of that in our blood… for us this is a project of love.”


 

Premier Doug Ford and MPP Stan Cho were just two of the politicians who joined in to help celebrate National Convenience Week

Convenience Industry Council of Canada

Each year, to close out the month of August, the Convenience Industry Council of Canada puts on National Convenience Week—to celebrate the industry and raise money for the Make-A-Wish charity. This year, an amazing $213,000 was raised (a 52% increase over last year) and since 2017, more than $915,000 has been raised for Make-A-Wish, representing nearly 100 wishes granted to critically ill children.

“The proceeds from this event are a significant annual backing from an essential industry in Canada,” says Meaghan Stovel McKnight, CEO, Make-A-Wish Canada.

But NCW is also about bringing politicians and community leaders into their local convenience stores to see first-hand just how integral convenience stores are to the communities in which they operate.

“Educating and engaging politicians on the issues impacting c-store businesses and our industry, are crucial to our future prosperity,” explains Jeff Brownlee, CICC’s VP communications and stakeholder relations. “Not only do we raise much needed funds for critically ill children, but politicians get to witness our front-line workers in action and gain a better appreciation for our role in supporting communities across Canada.”

A lot of time and effort goes into NCW, but the results are worth it, said Brownlee. “We frequently hear: ‘I had no idea this is what it takes to operate a convenience store,’ from decision makers.”


 

Greenergy Retail Canada

Greenergy Retail Canada is committed to supporting its female employees and the women living in the communities it serves. Because women’s health needs are often misdiagnosed, misrepresented, and misunderstood, the company partnered with the Women’s Health Collective Canada (WHCC) to raise awareness and funds for equity in women’s health research through unified advocacy across Canada. WHCC’s founding partners are Alberta Women’s Health Foundation, BC Women’s Health Foundation and Women’s College Hospital Foundation.

From September 13 to October 10, customers, retailers and employees at all Greenergy retail locations across Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia donate to support WHCC efforts.

“We wanted to support the vital work the WHCC is doing to bridge the gap between research and care to positively change the course of women’s health,” says Olga Pigeon, Greenergy’s marketing & convenience retail director.

“Every dollar raised during this campaign goes directly towards research in mental health. We have seen first-hand in our communities and front-line workers the ongoing impact of the pandemic and wanted to support the WHCC who are providing important support for mental health and wellbeing, ensuring that vital resources are available to those that need them.”


 

Guru Organic Energy

Between May and August 2022, the Guru Good Crew spruced up many riverbanks, hiking and bike trails in Quebec. Working with partner Organisation Bleue, a non-profit whose mission is to clean up the Saint-Lawrence River, the Guru team supported trail maintenance initiatives in Bromont, Sutton, and Avalanche, giving back to local mountain biking and hiking communities for the second summer in a row.

Guru crews have also helped clean up rivers during World Oceans Day in Montreal, Plastic Free July in Laval and cleaned up a beautiful public beach in Baie-Saint-Paul. The company believes that these initiatives create stronger links with local communities, and it plans to continue its efforts next year.

“We are very proud to receive the CSNC Impact Award, which confirms that we’re on the right track to become a good corporate citizen with respect to our employees, our communities and the environment,” says Guru’s vice-president of brands and insights, Amal Gayed.

“This is a responsibility that requires constant effort and attention to the events that affect us every day. We know there’s lots more to do, but it all starts with little steps.”


 

ITWAL Limited

ITWAL Limited is grateful to work with many suppliers with whom it has built strong relationships over the years. These suppliers are always looking for ways to give back to the community, and ITWAL was happy to help make that happen.

Through monetary and product donations, 14 of ITWAL’s supplier partners stepped up in 2022 to support National Convenience Week and Make-A-Wish Canada.

“It is a privilege for ITWAL to spearhead this initiative and have a hand in giving back to the community. We’re proud to be involved with National Convenience Week, as the convenience channel is critical to the success of our distributors,” says business development director Adam Ableman, who notes that ITWAL has been involved in collecting donations during National Convenience Week since 2019.

“Everything we do is intended to benefit our members and supplier partners, and is typically tied to driving awareness, distribution and sales growth. It’s extremely gratifying for us to have a role in supporting an organization whose purpose is to fulfill the wishes of children with a critical illness.”


 

Where it began: The first Fill Up a Ford effort that soon became a JTI holiday tradition

JTI-Macdonald Corp., Manya Konneke

In the lead up to the holiday season, JTI’s sales force mobilizes staff to collect cash and food donations in support of local food banks across the country. Last year, the Fill Up a Ford Campaign collected enough food and money to provide 50,000 meals to those in need. It’s a huge accomplishment that started with one woman—Manya Konneke.

Nine years ago, after watching a news segment about her local food bank, she challenged her team to make a difference by collecting enough donations to fill up her corporate vehicle.

“My regional lead at the time thought it was a great idea and it went to head office, then snowballed,” recalls Konneke, an activations specialist who started her career at JTI as a trade marketer. “It’s amazing to see how this little challenge turned into such a staple…. It warms my heart.”

Her contribution to JTI’s “culture of giving is one of a lasting legacy,” according to the company. Today, employees in communities across the country fill up vehicles every year, engaging in a bit of friendly competition, with an added incentive—JTI matches the winning team’s contribution.

Last year, Konneke’s British Columbia-based team usurped the reigning Alberta champions in the company-wide challenge. “I think we pushed it harder because we had the floods, so we were supporting our Fraser Valley food bank.”

Konneke still gets overwhelmed when she thinks about how much her colleagues do to help their local food banks. “I thought of a fun idea, but everyone has taken it across Canada by getting involved,” she says. “It’s such a great thing to do and it makes me so proud of this company.”


 

Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation

In 2020, Suncor funded the Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation to support family caregivers. One in four Canadians care for loved ones dealing with serious health conditions, and many struggle to maintain their own wellbeing and finances—they become invisible patients themselves, needing support and compassion.

The CareMakers Foundation launched two grant streams in 2021, investing $1.7 million to Canadian charities providing direct support to family caregivers at the national, provincial and community levels. That same year, the Foundation raised almost $5000,000 through fundraising initiatives to re-invest into the program.

Working with thought leaders, practitioners and caregivers, the CareMakers Foundation developed various e-learning resources to raise awareness about issues caregivers face, while encouraging a national conversation.

 “The entire Petro-Canada team and extended family has rallied behind the creation of the Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation—including our associates, vendors, employees and customers—and we’re proud to make a meaningful difference in the lives of family caregivers in Canada,” says Leila Fenc, director Petro-Canada Community Involvement and executive director of the Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation.


 

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helping with the Georgetown break basket

Petro-Canada Georgetown

With support from Suncor and A&W, the Petro-Canada Georgetown team blended business with selfless community involvement. Retailer Vinod Iddya motivated the team, infusing a sense of pride and competitiveness to raise funds and gathering food donations for the Georgetown Breadbasket, a community benefactor helping people in Georgetown, Ont. suffering from food insecurities.

Some of the initiatives that were especially gratifying to work on included the Annual Beer Fest, Burgers to Beat MS Day and The Coldest Night Walk, where the crew received lots of positive feedback from the clientele present at the events. The team also visited the local fire station, the Georgetown Hospital and the Police Division, delivering burgers, sides and root beer from its A&W restaurant. The Georgetown team have also organized bake sales and raffles to raise funds for research to fight MS, and they will be doing future events with the Petro-Canada CareMakers.

"Working with Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation and the MS Society has given me first-hand, in-depth insights into the struggles facing the resource-deficit and those ill of health,” says Iddya.

“It has broadened my perspective of our purpose as a business and as responsible citizens. To me, this Impact Award is an affirmation from peers, community and corporate alike that I'm on the right path, bringing together people, resources, time and effort to bear, in the service of others.”


 

Rabba Fine Foods

Started by Jack Rabba in 1967, Rabba’s roots in the GTA run deep. And Rabba Roots was developed to give thanks to the people in the community that have supported it for 55 years.

“The Rabba Roots Program is intended to support our communities' most vulnerable people, and stems from the “Here for You” promise made by our 24-hour locations,” says Rima Rabba, head of marketing at Rabba Fine Foods.

In the early days of the pandemic, Rabba donated 2,000 bottles of sanitizer to Peel Children’s Aid, and later worked with governments to secure millions of free rapid antigen tests to neighbourhoods around the GTA. Rabba donates regularly to Trillium Health Partners, The Mississauga Food Bank, Covenant House, Good Shepherd Ministries, St. Mary's Middle Eastern Festival and the list goes on.

“We have seen and heard from our various team members that they like to work with our company because we make a noticeable impact in the communities we serve,” says Rabba.

As a business founded by an immigrant, Rabba has always been particularly committed to helping other immigrant families. “Rabba has helped thousands of families establish themselves in Canada over many decades and continues to do so,” she says. “Rabba Fine Foods wants to give everybody a chance to build their lives in Canada without going through all of the hardships that Jack had to overcome. It is a core value of Rabba Fine Foods and something that the organization is very proud of.”