Good News Brief: More Businesses in Canada Step Up to Help


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By Jessica Finch

King & Bay Mission2Mask: While their normal operations remain temporarily closed, custom and bespoke menswear brand King & Bay is continuing to focus all efforts on creating high quality Canadian-made masks that are highly breathable and have functionalities that help increase protection.

The Mission2Mask program is designed to provide a platform for organizations to purchase masks for internal distribution, now that Canadian’s are slowly retuning to the workplace. Creating a safe and healthy work environment is top priority for organizations welcoming back employees to the office and Mission2Mask hopes to help with this transition.

These masks are readily available for companies who are looking to purchase them on a small or large scale, and as part of the program and ensuring they support the community, King & Bay has a BUY 1, GIVE 1 philosophy in place to give back. For every mask purchased through Mission2Mask, King & Bay is matching this by donating masks to local organizations who are in need of them.

 



photo: h&mphoto: h&m

photo: h&m

H&M Provides Garments to Women in Need: H&M Canada is partnering with Women’s Shelters Canada to provide over 20,000 garments across the country. This in-kind donation of three hundred thousand dollars worth of product will help individuals who are vulnerable and possibly exposed to domestic violence during the current pandemic.

The product donation will include a mix of clothing for women and children ranging in sizes, to help these communities meet their needs in this hard time.

In addition to these efforts, H&M Group has taken actions in the previous weeks to help aid in the fight against COVID-19 around the world. In March, H&M Group began quickly arranging for its supply chain to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) to be provided to hospitals and health care workers around the world. In addition, H&M began letting global aid organizations utilize H&M social channels to spread the message of health and safety around the COVID-19 pandemic to followers around the world.

Alongside these actions, H&M Foundation made a $500,000 donation to the WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.


photo: sephoraphoto: sephora

photo: sephora

Sephora Canada Partners in Hand Sanitizer Launch: In response to the demand for essential hygiene products, Sephora Canada and brand partner, NUDESTIX, announce NUDESKIN Anti-bacterial Sanitizing Hand Gel.

Formulated by NUDESTIX Founder and Chemical Engineer, Jenny Frankel, the collaboration is part of SEPHORA STANDS, the retailer’s social impact program.

NUDESKIN is now available at Sephora Canada, with all proceeds going directly to the Canadian Red Cross Emergencies & COVID-19 Response Fund.

“As a responsible retailer during this crisis, we want to support communities across Canada in a meaningful way,” says, Debbie McDowell, Director – Social Impact and Communications, SEPHORA CANADA. “SEPHORA STANDS strives to support and empower all Canadians with our initiatives, a value shared by our Canadian partners, NUDESTIX and the Canadian Red Cross. Our contribution will allow the Canadian Red Cross to use the funding where it is needed most, offering flexibility to respond to emerging needs in communities from coast to coast.”

NUDESKIN ANTI-BACTERIAL HAND GEL by NUDESTIX is an antiseptic formulated with vegan-powered, good-for-skin ingredients like glycerin, castor seed oil, green tea extract, and Vitamin E that hydrates and protects hands while instantly killing germs and bacteria that cause disease encountered in everyday life.

NUDESTIX is also donating 10,000 units of 30ml Anti-bacterial Hand sanitizers to the Canadian Red Cross, to support front line workers in health and at-risk communities. An additional 20,000 units will be donated globally to support health and beauty front liners when retail lockdown ends to help stop the spread.

 



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Bravado TestWear Program: Canadian designer of top-selling nursing bras, Bravado Designs, has applied its expertise to a new online exclusive collection, created in response to consumer demand and inspired by the changing female body.

The intimates brand, which was founded in 1992, has leveraged its success in creating bras for pregnant and breastfeeding women to design two seamless, wire-free styles for everyday wear. Launching exclusively in Canada, Bravado’s MUSE and SCULPT bras have been designed to be supportive and incredibly comfortable, as well as specially sized to adapt to a woman’s shape, size, and fluctuations.


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image: bravado

Through its rigorous TestWear Program, Bravado works alongside hundreds of women of all shapes, sizes, and stages. “Our design team listens, measures, compiles feedback and then repeats each step until the design is perfect,” says Bravado Senior Design Manager Lisa Stanton. “This information guides us as we create new and innovative designs that combine comfort and style.” Bravado Designs has created straight-forward and accommodating alpha-sizing (S, M, L, XL, and Full Cup) making it extremely easy for women to find a bra that fits them and not the other way around.

The super soft, luxurious fabric provides the right combination of stretch and knit-in zones for support to ensure a comfortable fit and are specially designed to work across a variety of cup and band size ranges within one size. By taking the guesswork out of the fitting process, Bravado is changing the way women can purchase bras online.


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photos: major league socks


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Major League Socks With a Cause: Toronto-based company Major League Socks has partnered with the Canadian Red Cross to launch a new sock collection to support the frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The local company notoriously known for putting Mike Babcock on a pair of socks have since added NHL superstars and legends of the game to their sock roster. The new specialty sock line — Major League Heroes — sees the company swapping out hockey heroes for healthcare heroes, with 100% of the proceeds supporting the Canadian Red Cross. Major League Socks are encouraging Canadians to wear their support for doctors, nurses, and healthcare staff who are keeping our nation safe during this time.

Visit www.majorleaguesocks.com for more information.

 



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From Uniforms to PPE: McCarthy Uniforms has redirected its production and resources to arm frontline workers with PPE. Leveraging a strong global supply chain network, the company has moved quickly to procure and produce desperately needed PPE to critical locations including Sick Kids, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and Hamilton Health Care Network.

The supplier of school and workplace uniforms has provided more than 100,000 units of PPE to-date.

Making the decision to keep its business open and people employed, the company, that was founded in 1956, decided to dedicate its time and resources to sourcing, distributing, and producing PPE to help protect the essential workers that put themselves at risk every day. The McCarthy team developed a prototyped medical isolation gown made of upcycled school uniform fabric that is being donated to hospitals and nursing homes, in addition to sourcing and distributing protective masks, isolation suits, and sanitizers to workers at hospitals and other essential locations.

“As we fight this global pandemic, we are humbled and proud to be playing a role in protecting our front line workers, and we stand side-by-side with the broad network of Canadian manufacturers that are dedicating each and every day to delivering critical PPE and helping our communities work safely,” said Vanessa Iarocci, President, McCarthy Uniforms. “Our long-standing belief in the power of uniforms to create community couldn’t be stronger as the country – and the world – stands united during this difficult time.”


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image: pandora

Pandora Supports Nurses: Pandora have announced its support for Canada’s nurse heroes. As they put themselves in danger to continuously fight the battle against COVID-19, Pandora has decided to deign a Nurse Dangle Charm to honour them.

All proceeds from the Nurse Dangle Charm sold on May 12 — International Nurses Day — will be donated to the Canadian Nurses Foundation. The donation will help provide mental health support and training for nurses navigating this difficult time.

The brand has committed to donating a minimum of $20,000, with the potential to increase the amount based on the number of Nurse Dangle Charms sold.

The charm is available for purchase at $70 CAD on Pandora.net.

 



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duer location in toronto. photo: duer

Canadian Apparel Brand Launches Low-Waste Production Model: Canadian performance denim company DUER, launched NEXT by DUER, a quick response method that lines up demand with supply to cut waste and drive efficiencies.

After losing 75 percent of revenue in less than a week amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the denim company recognized the need for a new approach to traditional retail. According to Gary Lenett, Duer’s Founder, developing a pre-sale method to line up supply with demand was the only option.

“The old-world way of creating speculative inventory and then running costly marketing campaigns to sell it, is inefficient and wasteful,” said Lenett. “The world is changing and we have to change with it. We are introducing NEXT as a new way of doing business where we gauge demand and then produce exactly what’s needed and the cost savings is passed directly to our customer.”


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screenshot of duer website

In the current retail climate, the model of manufacturing products and then executing expensive marketing campaigns to build demand and sell inventory, is no longer economical. NEXT by DUER will introduce a prototype of a product, and customers will have the ability to order pieces at a discount throughout a 3 week campaign period. If minimum thresholds are met, the garment is manufactured and delivered to the customer within 4 to 8 weeks.

This quick response approach will enable DUER to deliver products much faster than a traditional clothing supply chain which would typically take 6-18 months. The first NEXT by DUER campaign is now live at duer.ca.

EQ3 Donates Furniture and Helps Make Face Masks: EQ3, the Winnipeg-based, Canadian home furnishing retailer, joins the fight against COVID-19 through several initiatives to support Canadian health care workers.

The company’s vertical supply chain has allowed the brand to quickly mobilize and support the wider community and those most vulnerable during the pandemic. Answering a call for donations from the not-for-profit Main Street Project, EQ3, and its sister company Palliser, have together donated enough product to furnish 39 isolation suites and staff rooms so that Winnipeg’s most vulnerable have a safe space to self-isolate while waiting for a COVID-19 test result or while they’re recovering from the virus. Located in Winnipeg’s downtown, the self-isolation site has health and social service resources available onsite 24 hours a day to support individuals who have availed of the service. For further information on Main Street Project, see here.

In addition, EQ3 and Palliser are working with a local Manitoba-based company to help manufacture face coverings. Tens of thousands of personal protective equipment pieces will be sewn and distributed across Manitoba and the rest of Canada.The company is also working with the provincial government to secure and supply one million medically certified masks (such as N95) to support frontline workers in Manitoba.

 



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image: kruger products

NHL Kindness: Seven NHL® players took to social media earlier this month to inspire Canadians to perform Acts of Neighbourly Kindness as they join Kruger Products’ ongoing, national #RollingItForward COVID-19 relief initiative.

The players, including Vancouver Canucks’ forward Bo Horvat, Montreal Canadiens’ forward Phillip Danault, Toronto Maple Leafs’ defenceman Tyson Barrie, Edmonton Oilers’ defenceman Darnell Nurse, Ottawa Senators’ forward Anthony Duclair, Winnipeg Jets’ forward Mark Scheifele, and Calgary Flames’ forward Milan Lucic, are all making donations to Food Banks Canada while encouraging Canadian hockey fans to participate.

“Hockey is Canada’s national winter sport, and NHL® players rank at the top of their game and high in our hearts,” says Susan Irving, Chief Marketing Officer at Kruger Products, a 100-year, third generation Canadian company with operations across the country. “We started #RollingItForward three weeks ago delivering care packages of tissue products to frontline hospital workers in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver; and by making donations to food banks across Canada,” says Irving. “We hope our collaboration with NHL® players will further inspire Canadians to do their part with an Act of Neighbourly Kindness, no matter how large or small,” she says.

“We’re grateful for the support of Kruger Products and the support of these NHL® players,” adds Chris Hatch, Food Banks Canada CEO. “It has been incredible to see Canadians from coast-to-coast come together to help their neighbours who are experiencing hunger,” he says.

Kruger Products is also recognizing Canada’s frontline workers and their outstanding effort with a $200,000 donation to The Frontline Fund, a network of more than 160 hospital foundations across the country created to deliver resources to frontline healthcare workers protecting Canadians against COVID-19, as part of its #RollingItForward initiative.

Canadians can contribute to the fund at FrontlineFund.ca.


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image of vent unit design.

Canadian Philanthropists Partner to Create Easty-to-Build Ventilator for COVID-19 Patients: Canadian philanthropists — including Empire’s Donald Sobey — back ventilator project headed by Nobel Laureate Arthur McDonald


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donald sobey

A team of Canadian physicists and engineers are combating COVID-19 by taking part in an international initiative to create an easy-to-build ventilator that can help treat COVID-19 patients.

The MVM Ventilator project is led in Canada by Arthur B. McDonald, an emeritus professor at Queen’s University and the co-recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics, and heavily supported by Nova Scotia-based Donald Sobey, a Queen’s alumnus and the chair emeritus of Empire Company Limited.

“Dr. McDonald’s leadership and brilliance in developing a Canadian solution to the global ventilator shortage during the COVID-19 pandemic is inspiring,” says Mr. Sobey. “He is one of the leading scientific minds in the world, and a source of pride for all Canadians. But when we spoke on Easter morning about the urgent issues facing his project, I was compelled by the voice of a true humanitarian.”

The collaboration has gained national attention, including a strong statement of support from the federal government.


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arthur b. mcdonald

The MVM Ventilator project is proceeding well toward its goal through successful testing of the ventilator in Italy, Canada, and the US for certification, guided by medical experts. The collaboration team is working with manufacturers who are capable of production at rates up to 1000 per week in the near future. In Canada, the production companies will be Vexos in Markham, Ontario and JMP Solutions in London, Ontario.

Dr. McDonald extends his thanks for this valuable support. “The very generous donations by Donald Sobey and the other philanthropists have been crucial for us to maintain our research at a very critical time in the project.”

 



Food Banks Canada Launches Next Phase Campaign: ‘I ATE’ to Raise Remaining $70M in $150M Appeal: Food Banks Canada has announced the next phase of its I ATE campaign with the goal of raising $70 million. This amount marks the remainder of the $150M appeal that was initially announced in March.

Concerned about ‘COVID-19 fatigue’, Food Banks Canada CEO Chris Hatch explains the intent of this campaign is to remind Canadians that their food insecure neighbours still need help, even more so once the pandemic restrictions are eased.

“As the federal and provincial governments begin lifting the COVID-19 lockdown measures, that doesn’t mean the demand for support from food banks disappears,” cautions Hatch. “We’re still dealing with the aftermath of the Great Recession, and that was more than a decade ago. Now we have to brace ourselves for an even greater surge over the coming months, with many food banks across Canada already reporting spikes in client visits.”

To date, $80 million of the $150 million goal has been secured; $12 million from individual donors, of which $8 million was a result of the stronger together concert (the most watched non-sports Canadian broadcast on record), $18 million via corporate partners and private foundations, and $50 million from the Government of Canada. Funds raised to date are going towards sourcing essential food and support items for the food banks across the network and providing financial support to change their operations to adhere to the social distancing guidelines.

At the crux of the campaign is the microsite, which is supported by social media and digital ads running on donated ad space from media partners. At launch, the campaign includes digital out-of-home media donated by Pattison Outdoor and ad properties on the dating platform Plenty of Fish (ca.pof.com). The campaign was created by The Local Collective, a Toronto brand and advertising agency.

“The problem Food Banks Canada is trying to solve—eliminating hunger—was already massive in scale before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. We knew that in the face of this crisis, they would need a much bolder approach than usual to meet their fundraising goal,” explains Matt Litzinger, President and Chief Creative Officer, The Local Collective. “Every person should have the ability to say I ATE, every day, as often as they need to. And that is our mission, with your help and all of our help we can make sure every family, friend and person can say this powerful phrase.”

To donate or become a fundraiser for Food Banks Canada, visit iate.ca.


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Jessica Finch is a writer and editor based in Toronto. She holds a BA in English and Psychology and is a graduate of Ryerson University’s Publishing program. She has extensive managerial experience in the food service industry, and is interested in exploring innovations within this sector and other retail environments. Email: jessica@retail-insider.com

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