President & CEO
Toromont Industries Ltd.
As we reflect on this past year, many thoughts come to mind, not the least of which is the continued dedication of our Toromont employees across the enterprise. The pandemic and supply chain challenges certainly tested the team’s mettle as we focused on execution of year-two 22 + U initiatives. Your resilience and determination to stay safe while providing products and services to our clients and ensuring the viability of all of the Toromont businesses stood out – well done and thank you!
Operating complexities began to enter the working environments throughout Canada and the US as COVID variants took hold globally. Many customers and federally regulated sectors have introduced mandatory and proof of vaccination policies as a condition of entry into these workplaces. This challenge has led to redeployment of our people relative to vaccination status while also ensuring safe operating protocols remain in place.
I would like to thank the 5600 (89% response rate) Toromont employees who have completed the COVID vaccination survey. Congratulations to team Battlefield for their 99% participation rate! Your input allows us to make better decisions to safeguard our people, customers and communities we serve. The data over the last few weeks indicate a resurgence of infections as cold weather approaches in many areas of Canada and the US. It is important that we take steps to safeguard our employees and customers. We have begun to pilot antigen testing within several operations for those who are non-vaccinated. I want to emphasize that we have not mandated employee vaccinations. However, these requests and testing procedures are about keeping our people and team safe. If you have not declared your vaccine status to us, it adds complexity to workforce planning and heightens the risk of a COVID operational shutdown.
In the workplace, identifying individuals who are infectious before coming into contact with fellow colleagues and customers is an effective way to curb the disease spread. According to Dr. Michael Mina, a Harvard University epidemiologist, "Antigen tests typically identify 98 percent of infectious cases."
The majority of employee feedback has been positive relating to our COVID vaccination decisions. However, I have received several messages from employees who have not identified their vaccination status and declared that they do not want to administer the rapid tests. With safety at the forefront, and even though fully vaccinated, I have personally purchased Antigen testing kits and have self-administered the test device on four occasions prior to visiting my parents. I realize that obtaining the nasal secretions can be uncomfortable; however, I would prefer to take this extra precautionary measure in the best interest of all.
As of today, the work from home structure continues. Your company continues to scope a hybrid operating arrangement with a first phase return to workplace scheduled mid-February. Given current trends, we will advise early January if this plan will in fact proceed.
The past 21 months have taught us many lessons relating to how we facilitate business. We have learned news ways of connecting with clients, using technologies and digital based platforms that will continue to accelerate. All Toromont businesses are intimately involved in transformational changes relating to fleet management, e-commerce, marketing and data driven solutions. Today, we are thinking about what our businesses will look like after the crisis. Some of our business assumptions are being challenged and the changes over the past 21 months have affected resource allocation and decision-making. We have all adjusted our normal operating practices and day-to-day routines.
Personally, I am enjoying the time saving from less travel; but I am desperately missing informal brain storming sessions "at the water cooler", my strolls through the shops to talk with our technicians, and customer visits.
As we ready for the holiday season, please know that we care and want you and your families to be safe. Please be calm as we continue to face many uncertainties. Know that we have the best team in the business and together we will come out of this pandemic stronger than ever.
I would like to wish every Toromont member a very happy holiday season, best wishes and good health in the coming year.
Thank you for all you do!
President & CEO