Someone once wisely said, “Running away from any problem only increases the distance from a solution.”

But in this case, there is nowhere to run and only an opportunity to—more or less—hide. Our government has encouraged us to hide away, while an insidious invisible enemy seeks to do us harm. If COVID-19 hasn’t affected your health, it has severely compromised business opportunities and your ability to earn a living and your support family. Where could you escape to? The messaging and news are dramatic and pounding away incessantly. Turn away, turn it down or turn it off.

We have had to find new ways to work while we wait out the storm without succumbing to cabin fever. So, we have encouraged you to spend time with your families and less time consumed with social media and the 24-hour news cycle. FaceTime, Zoom or talk with peers and colleagues on Teams about strategy for now, or for the “rebound” and the new normal that will be upon us once cleared to return to work. As the federal government reacted to the crisis with programs designed to help individuals and businesses ease the financial burden thrust upon them by the pandemic, your association worked to inform you of what it meant for you and broke it down simply to help you understand. This was never easy because each day brought new statements of eligibility, additions or even a walk-back of a previous proclamation. PPPC has worked to stay current and as a conduit to guiding you through the web of information you need.

PPPC has, for the first time, undertaken an effort to inform and lobby the government on behalf of our members with a letter to the prime minister, finance minister and minister of small business and trade export to help them understand who we are as an industry, what we do and our importance in an economy represented by a $4.5 billion industry. We have consistently worked to advise and inform the government that our members cannot be forgotten and allowed to fall through the cracks. After all, they should see us as individuals and not just the source for the promotional products they use. Even the prime minister’s father, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, and Queen Elizabeth II used an engraved A.T. Cross Desk Set to sign and commemorate the 1982 Canada Act.

PPPC has offered webinars, education and social activities in this challenging arena of social distancing, working to keep our members engaged and most importantly connected. We have done so by conducting various web-based “get togethers” in both of Canada’s official languages of English and French. We have always faced down our nation’s challenges united and stared down the enemy and will do so again—even though we cannot see this one.

The association, too, was not immune to the ravages induced by this pandemic and the orders of government meant to silence and stop the spread. Shows and events were cancelled, and revenues were dramatically suppressed, but the members of the board and our head office staff remain dedicated to coming out the other side of this dilemma perhaps wounded but stronger in our determination.

Author Peter Marshall said, “When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.”

Stay safe, keep well and see you soon.


Alex Jovetic is chair of Promotional Product Professionals of Canada.