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6 entries from November 2020

Keeping Your Pandemic Pooch Safe in the Car

Our dog, Effie, loved to ride in the car. Most of the time it meant she was going some place fun, like the dog park. Occasionally, it meant a trip to the vet. But she seemed to forget about those less-than-pleasant-trips and always enthusiastically hopped in the back seat. She had a slightly less than enthusiastic reaction to her seatbelt harness, but she eventually got used to it.


Effie says "Don’t forget to buckle up!”"

Since COVID-19 hit early in 2020, dog adoptions have been up across Canada. And since there is likely to be some travel over the upcoming holidays, I thought it would be a good idea to review the best ways to travel safely with your pet. It is important to note that every province has its own regulations regarding pet restraint in cars and pickup trucks, so it is best to check with your provincial SPCA.

In general, there are three ways to safely restrain your dog in your vehicle:

  • A seatbelt harness – a harness that is fitted to your dog and then attached to your seatbelt receptacle. This lets your dog have some movement in the back seat, but will restrain them in case of a sudden stop.
  • A crate – a sturdy container that confines your pup while you’re traveling. It should also be secured via a harness to the back seat or via a tether in the cargo area of your vehicle. Not all dogs are good in crates, so be sure to get them used to it at home before you travel.
  • A car seat – similar to booster seats for children, these are better for small or medium dogs. They can see out the window, but are safely restrained while you travel.

Your local pet store can help you choose an appropriate safety restraint for your dog.

If you are driving with your dog over the holidays, in addition to the right safety gear, you’ll want to pack the essentials – food, water, bedding, their favourite toy, collar and leash, and any necessary medications – and bring a copy of your pet’s medical record, in case you need an emergency vet along the way.

Our furry friends bring such joy to our lives, let’s be sure to keep them safe.

~Kate T.

Caring for Those Who Care for Others – The Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation

I am in awe of my upstairs neighbor, Lydia. In the last year, Lydia has had both her older brother, who suffered a stroke, and her 89-year old mother move in with her. Lydia works full-time to support her family and also continues to care for both her mom and her brother. She works tirelessly to make sure they have everything they need. Lydia is a caregiver.

Launch of the Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation

There are Lydia’s all across Canada. Eight million Canadians (that’s 1 in 4) provide unpaid care to a family member or friend with a long-term health condition, physical or mental disability, or age-related need. These caregivers play an integral role in supporting relatives, friends and neighbours, and they often go unrecognized and unsupported. At some point in our lives, over half of Canadians will be a family caregiver.

At Petro-Canada we believe that caregivers need support too. That’s why we are introducing the Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation. Through the CareMakers Foundation, Suncor, the proud owner of Petro-Canada, plans to invest $10 million over the next five years to bring awareness and support to the essential work of caregivers.

Caregivers provide roughly 75% of all patient care in Canada. Among other things, family caregivers provide transportation, meal preparation and housekeeping. They schedule appointments, help with medications and provide emotional support. On average, a family caregiver will spend 19 or more hours per week on their caregiving duties, often while working full-time themselves.

But these essential activities come with a cost for the caregiver. According to Statistics Canada, 43% of caregivers reported missing work, 15% cut down their hours, and 10% passed up a promotion or new job. And while there are many rewards to being a caregiver, they also face a number of challenges, including a change in relationship dynamics, extreme lifestyle changes, depleted mental health, and tend to spend time worrying about their loved ones.

The Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation will provide grants to charitable organizations in Canada that support family caregiving, to enhance and amplify their work. The first recipients of the CareMakers Foundation include:

For many, caring is more than a simple act of kindness; it’s an everyday commitment and an unspoken promise. Working with other organizations in the sector, the CareMakers Foundation will focus on providing tools and resources that can help support family caregivers in Canada. To learn more about the impact caregivers have and what Petro-Canada is hoping to do, visit

~ Kate T.

Remembrance Day Stories, Part 3: Life Lessons from the Military

To observe Remembrance Day this year and to honour all those who have served, we’ve asked a few members of the Petro-Canada family to share their stories and connection with the Canadian Armed Forces. We’re featuring three stories this year: Monday was William Bradley, a GSA in Sudbury, ON; yesterday was Renald Mazenc, an Associate in Regina, SK and his son, Orin Mazenc; and today is Christine, a member of our Marketing team and her son, Jaden.

Poppies by the Sea, British Columbia

Christine’s family doesn’t have a history of military service, so it was a bit of a surprise when her son, Jaden, enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces. He has currently served for over two years. “We are so proud of him and his service.” Christine introduced us to Jaden and he gave us the following interview.

PumpTalk: Can you describe your role in the military?

I am a member of the Canadian Air Forces and am currently an apprentice to become an aircraft service technician maintaining electronic systems on the CC130J Hercules. They do overseas and domestic flights.

PumpTalk: What made you decide to join the CAF?

I joined because it represented an opportunity for personal and professional development while serving a greater purpose. It gave me an opportunity to find a role supporting Canada and its people both domestically and internationally.

PumpTalk: Why is serving in the military important to you?

I see it as a great way for young adults to work in an environment where we are challenged and where our work matters; a lot of people my age may not understand how we can impact the world. I see the role of my squadron as facilitating positive change in and around the world. The Canadian Armed Forces works to uphold the law, protect our citizens and protect those in countries where human rights violations are breached. We also provide natural disaster relief when required.

Jaden, on duty
Jaden, on duty

PumpTalk: How has being in the military influenced your life?

It has taught me how to be more resourceful and determined while sometimes under high stress situations. I was trained to become a better team player because everything we do is team based. It has shown me that although hard work does pay off, determination and willpower will make or break any obstacle whether professional or personal.

PumpTalk: Is there anything that you would like to tell Canadians about Remembrance Day?

It’s easy to forget that not long ago, the world was a very different place. People gave their lives to prevent our world from slipping away from us. Remembrance Day is one day a year to reflect and appreciate that all that we have is irrevocably because so many died to preserve it. It should be a humbling experience as we remind ourselves that Canadians made a difference during such a horrible time.

PumpTalk: What do you do on Remembrance Day?

I participate in parades and ceremonies to honour the fallen soldiers worldwide. This year will be an exception. We will honour them differently this year given the unorthodox circumstances. We will adapt and overcome, but we will not forget.

Petro-Canada has a Canadian Forces appreciation program that all active and retired members of the military can participate in.

PumpTalk: Can you talk about Petro-Canada's relationship with the CAF?

It is amazing to see a company that wears a national symbol of pride recognize those that protect and serve our citizens. It is a token of gratitude that reminds those who have chosen to serve that we are appreciated. Thank you. We don’t do this for recognition or praise. We do it because we believe in it. Thank you for believing in us and those who have fallen during their service.


Jaden, thank you so much for talking with us today, sharing your thoughts and reminding us all about the importance of honouring and remembering those who have served our country.

This is the last in our three-part series of interviews with members of the Petro-Canada family and their connections with the Canadian Armed Forces. Thank you for reading. #LestWeForget

~Kate T.

Remembrance Day Stories, Part 2: Life Lessons from the Military

To observe Remembrance Day this year and to honour all those who have served, we’ve asked a few members of the Petro-Canada family to share their stories and connection with the Canadian Armed Forces. We’re featuring three stories this year: yesterday was William Bradley, a GSA in Sudbury, ON; today is Renald Mazenc, an Associate in Regina, SK and his son, Orin Mazenc; and tomorrow is Christine, a member of our Marketing team and her son, Jaden.

Poppies by the Saskatchewan Legislature

Renald Mazenc’s family has a history of military service. His father, Henry, was called up to serve in World War II. Henry was stationed in France and served as a part of the Regina Rifle Regiment (now the Royal Regina Rifles).

Henry Mazenc
Henry Mazenc

Renald’s son, Orin, had admired his grandfather’s service and joined the Canadian Armed Forces as a young man, directly after his high school graduation. We caught up with Orin, now retired from the military, to talk about his military service.

PumpTalk: Thanks for speaking with us today, Orin. Let’s start with your military service. Why did you join and what roles have you held?

I joined back in 2007. I’d known for a while that I wanted to go into the military. It was something different. Exciting. And something to be proud of – military service. And I knew that I wanted to go into the infantry – be boots on the ground. I enlisted and went to battle school where I learned radio, small arms, and patrol tactics – very job oriented. After battle school I was assigned to the 3rd Battalion of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (3PPCLI). The PPCLI has a great history and I was very excited to join that regiment.

Orin Mazenc, Company Jump Training
Orin Mazenc, Company Jump Training

I also trained to be a parachutist and became a reconnaissance patrolman within the rifle company of the 3PPCLI. As part of that regiment, I deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan where I was part of a training/mentor team. We trained the Afghan National Army (ANA) on defensive and patrol tactics. Part of my job involved training and part of the time I served as sentry for our training team, i.e. standing watch over the training team while they taught the ANA. During my time there I worked with the US Marine Corp and US Army as well as Romanians, Greeks and Aussies.

Orin Mazenc, Kabul
Orin Mazenc, Kabul

Once I returned to Canada, I put in for a transfer to the Air Force where I trained as a firefighter. Kind of like a regular firefighter but with a side of aircraft. We’d respond to medical calls as well as local house fires and wild fires. There I was deputy platoon chief – the tactical leader in charge of the firefighting team in whatever “hot zone” we were in. I’ve recently retired from the military and am now a civilian in the trades.

PumpTalk: Orin, that is an incredible career. What would you say are some of the biggest takeaways from your time in the service?

Always take pride in your work – whether you’re in the military or not. Do the very best you can because people take notice. And always believe in yourself.

PumpTalk: How do you celebrate Remembrance Day?

I usually try to take the day off and got to a ceremony at the local cenotaph. This year, unfortunately, I have to work. I really believe that Canada should make Remembrance Day a national statutory holiday – right now, not all provinces recognize it as such.

PumpTalk: What would you like to tell Canadians about Remembrance Day?

Even if it isn’t a holiday where you are and you can’t get to a ceremony, it’s important to take a minute and reflect on what some Canadians have done and given for this country. And support the Legion – buy and wear a poppy.


Orin, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. And thank you for your service.

Tomorrow, we’ll have the last part in our series where we speak with Christine and her son, Jaden.

~Kate T.

Remembrance Day Stories, Part 1: Life Lessons from the Military

To observe Remembrance Day this year and to honour all those who have served, we’ve asked a few members of the Petro-Canada family to share their stories and connection with the Canadian Armed Forces. We’ll be featuring three stories over the next three days: William Bradley, a GSA in Sudbury, ON; Renald Mazenc, an Associate in Regina, SK and his son, Orin Mazenc; and Christine, a member of our Marketing team and her son, Jaden.

Single Poppy

William Bradley’s family has a long and proud history of military service. His father, Norm Bradley, along with his uncles Ken and Bill Menzies, served with the Canadian Armed Forces, as members of the Air Force, in World War II. William had another uncle, John Whitehead, who served with the infantry during World War II as well.

It is this uncle whose service provided unexpected benefits well after the war was over. John was initially stationed as a foot soldier in Italy during WWII and then shipped to the Netherlands where he participated in the liberation of Amsterdam. As a foot soldier, the physical activity was, of course, very rigorous during his wartime service in Europe. These experiences prepared him for an event that would happen at the family cottage near Catchacoma Lake, located northeast of Toronto, years later.

Canadian infantrymen on the march near Modica, Italy, 12 July 1943.
Canadian infantrymen on the march near Modica, Italy, 12 July 1943. Image courtesy of Library and Archives Canada.

One night, the coal gas from the coal stove escaped into the cottage. John’s wife, Betty, woke up but fainted from the gas. John managed to carry Betty outside to safety, throw open the doors to the cottage and then help his three children to safety as well. This family story was shared over the years, including by Dorothy Bradley, Betty’s sister and William’s mother. The family credits John’s military experiences with saving the family.

We asked William how he is honouring Remembrance Day this year. Because of COVID-19, he will be watching the cenotaph ceremonies on television. And he has also donated to the Canadian Legion program “Project Trauma Support” that supports veterans living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, including Moral Injury.


Thank you, William, for sharing your inspiring family story with us! Stay tuned for our next post tomorrow about Orin Mazenc’s service in Kabul.

~Kate T.