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3 entries from May 2022

Celebrating 2SLGBTQ+ Canadians During Pride

"A waving flag... it celebrates our diverse community. Having it in the logo puts Petro-Canada alongside the community, standing together in solidarity and celebrating our diversity."

When graphic designer Katie Wilhelm was asked to refresh Petro-Canada's Pride logo, she was tasked with visually representing Petro-Canada’s support for 2SLGBTQ+ Canadians. Petro-Canada recognizes that the 2SLGBTQ+ community is part of what makes Canada wonderful, and we want this logo to reflect that.

Designer Katie Wilhelm and Petro-Canada's Pride Logo

A big ask, but Katie was up for the challenge. Katie, who identifies as pansexual and is a member of the queer community, said in designing the logo, she felt the weight of representing the whole community. “I wanted to make the community proud, to make them proud of my pride. And I didn’t want to tokenize the community. As an Indigenous person, I am often asked to do Indigenous-themed design so I am conscious of how easy it is to create designs that are inauthentic.”

As part of her process, Katie researched other corporate Pride logos and reactions from the community, wanting to avoid any pitfalls and accusations of rainbow-washing.

“When companies use queer symbols to sell products – that’s when ethical alarm bells go off. It’s like they’re saying, ‘Come in now (during Pride month), but don't come in in July.’ And while using queer symbols can show respect for the community, we do need to ask, ‘Is this an appropriate representation of my community?’ We can choose to trust brands who provide genuine support, but we must hold them accountable.”

The waving flag that Katie incorporated into the Petro-Canada Pride logo represents several of the ideas she hoped the design would communicate. It shows the celebration of a diverse community and the promotion of equal rights, and its movement symbolizes that we’re making progress together.

The raised flag also represents an invitation to Katie. “Now that we've been invited, that the flag has been raised - it is up to us to pull our seat up the table. Petro-Canada is listening. I have seen that because they have listened to me (in designing the logo). And I will continue to hold them accountable.”

Katie also believes that initiatives like Petro-Canada’s Pride logo are calls for allies to get more involved. “If you see something, say something. This is what allies need to do. If you see hate, you need to step in and say something. As allies, your voices have been heard more around the table. Earn the community’s trust by saying something. And continue to advocate for initiatives like this, initiatives that affect the community in a positive way. Sure, well-meaning straight white people may have started these initiatives, but as queer BIPOC people, we need to continue them.”

At Petro-Canada, we know that community isn’t just the physical space you inhabit, it’s the people you connect with. We stand with, support and celebrate members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community across Canada who are our customers, neighbours and work in our stores. Keeping all Canadians at the heart of what we do and being here for each other no matter the journey is what living by the leaf is all about. Happy Pride, Canada!

Katie Wilhelm is an award-winning designer and marketing consultant. She is member of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation at Neyaashiinigmiing with Canadian settler heritage.

Get Up in Your Grill (and Clean It!)

When it comes to spring cleaning, I’m a little… lazy (there, I said it). I’m more likely to do the bare minimum than any sort of deep dive. I know the outdoor grill has been sitting there, unused, ALL WINTER, but do I really need to clean it before firing it back up again?  It’s all heat and flame, the dirt and bad stuff just burns away! And what doesn’t burn away only adds to the flavour! Right?

If you are an outdoor cuisine aficionado, or a safety-conscious grown-up, you may be shaking your head sadly at me. That’s because you already know what I learned recently: a proper spring cleaning and inspection is essential for keeping safe, preserving taste, and protecting the life of your grill.

Father and son grilling over an outdoor barbeque

If you’re new to BBQing (or, like me, new to cleaning one), the best place to start is by consulting the care and maintenance section of your manufacturer’s manual for how to clean your particular model.

Be warned: cleaning your grill can get messy. Try and set aside a dedicated time that’s not an hour before the backyard birthday party you’re hosting (when you’ve already changed into your good shorts). Get all the supplies on hand before you start. Laying down a drop cloth or tarp over your nice deck isn’t a bad idea either.

Depending on your grill, you’ll need:

  • A scraper - preferably one of those solid wood ones designed especially for BBQ grates - metal bristle brushes can cause serious health issues!
  • A big bucket of warm and soapy water (dish soap), and some clean water for rinsing (or a nearby hose)
  • Something for washing down your grates, like a tough sponge or sturdy brush
  • Another scraping tool like a spatula (for the grill’s interior) and something to scoop out debris
  • A paperclip or small tool
  • Cleaning product for stainless steel
  • Some clean, dry rags or paper towel
  • A hand-held vacuum or hose attachment
  • Vegetable oil or shortening to season your grates

The areas you want to cover in your cleaning are:

Grates: Scrape any build-up off the tops with your scraping tool, and check the undersides for grease deposits. Lift them out and soak them in the bucket of soapy water then scrub them down. (If they are the porcelain-coated kind, don’t soak, just wash and dry). Rinse and wipe the grates down, and put them aside to dry completely. 

While your grates are drying, you can move onto the:

Burners (gas grills): Follow your manufacturer’s instructions for the removal and reattachment of the burners and heat tents. Scrape off any junk and debris and give them a once over to make sure no burner holes are clogged - you can use a paper clip or small tool to clear them. If your grill doesn’t have a spider guard (many older grills do not), you can clean the burners and burner tubes with a venturi pipe brush or wire.

Interior: While your burners are removed, scrape down the sides and bottom of your grill, scoop out any debris, and wipe down the inside of the lid. Empty the ash catcher (charcoal grills) and your grill’s catch pans. Wash them out in soapy water and replace the aluminum foil if you’ve lined your catchers. A quick vacuum will clear out any spider webs or dried leaves in and around your grill and the connection to your propane tank.

Once your grates are completely dry, rub them down with a little bit of vegetable oil or shortening and place them back in.

Exterior: For stainless steel exteriors, use a dedicated stainless-steel cleaner and sponge to get the best, gleaming result. Use soapy water on the side surfaces, and anywhere else, and dry completely with clean rags.

Inspect your fuel hose and connections for rot, kinks or leaks, and tighten any loose bolts in and around your grill. Check the ignition wires and batteries (if you have an electric ignition). Fire up your grill, one burner at a time, and make sure it’s all running smoothly (or light it up and let it burn for 10 minutes or so before putting any food on).

Once your grill is clean and ready for action, be sure you’ve got enough fuel for the next long weekend! Stock up with an extra 16lb/8kg tank at your local Petro-Canada and avoid that mid-cookout panic when you run out of propane. You can easily exchange your empty tank for a full, certified propane tank, or buy a new one at one of our locations. And for folks who are Petro-Points members (and if you’re not, why not?), you can get 3x the Petro-Points when you exchange or purchase a propane tank at any participating Petro-Canada location – offer ends August 8, 2022.

For further advice on grill safety and maintenance, including how to use soapy water to check your tubes and connections for leaks, check out these guidelines.

Steaks? Corn on the cob? Hot dogs? Veggie kabobs? What are you most looking forward to throwing on your outdoor grill? Let us know in the comments section and have a great grilling season!

~  Paul D.

Acknowledging Canada’s National Crisis of Missing, Murdered and Exploited Indigenous People

This article deals with topics which may negatively impact the reader due to its subject matter. We recognize the need for safety measures to minimize the risks associated with traumatic subject matter. For immediate emotional assistance, please call 1-844-413-6649. This is a national, toll-free 24/7 crisis call line providing support for anyone who requires emotional assistance related to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. For additional support, please see the resources available to you on the Indigenous Services Canada website.

Here on PumpTalk, we’ve spoken about Suncor’s Journey to Reconciliation, including Petro-Canada’s role as a Suncor business. We hope that through this ongoing learning process, we can build the trust and support of Indigenous Peoples in the communities in which we operate as well as from our partners and our employees.

Red Dress Day - National Day of Awareness for Missing, Murdered and Exploited Indigenous people (MMEIP) in Canada

One way we do this is by partnering with Indigenous businesses and communities.  We are proud to have 60 retail and wholesale marketing arrangements with Indigenous communities across Canada. Sites like on the Siksika First Nation where we created a stop along Canada’s Electric Highway – our EV Fast Chargers were the first installed on a First Nation in Canada. Or like our sites located on the Mistawasis First Nation in northern Saskatchewan, and the Cold Lake First Nations in northern Alberta.

We also support Indigenous artists across Canada. We’ve commissioned Indigenous artists in communities across Canada to create murals on the side of stations in Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Kamloops. Two of them were completed last fall - Connected by Keegan Starlight in Calgary and Our Children by Jessey Pacho in Toronto. The other four will be finished this summer. Another project working with Indigenous artists will be announced in June.

In addition to supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs and artists, we believe that it is essential to acknowledge and educate ourselves and our employees about the historical and ongoing negative impacts of colonization endured by Indigenous communities, including the national crisis of Missing, Murdered and Exploited Indigenous people.

The number of missing and murdered Indigenous people in Canada is disproportionately high compared to the general population. The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) research indicates that, between 2000 and 2008, Indigenous women and girls represented approximately 10% of all female homicides in Canada. However, Indigenous women make up only 3% of the female population.

From 2016 through 2019, the Government of Canada convened a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The National Inquiry’s Final Report concluded that persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind Canada’s staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQ+ people. The report calls for transformative legal and social changes to resolve the crisis that has devastated Indigenous communities across the country.

May 5th, also known as Red Dress Day, is the National Day of Awareness for Missing, Murdered and Exploited Indigenous people (MMEIP) in Canada. It was started as “an aesthetic response to more than 1000 missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada” by Jaime Black, a multidisciplinary artist of mixed Anishinaabe and Finnish descent.

To help Canadians learn more about missing, murdered and exploited Indigenous people in Canada, the NWAC has created – a website that hosts a national database of MMIWG2S cases as well as training materials about breaking the cycle of violence. In particular, the site contains resources for the hospitality and trucking industries – two industries uniquely positioned to make a difference in the reduction of violence against Indigenous women and girls. NWAC, in partnership with Truckers Against Trafficking, provides training about human trafficking in Canada and teaches how to recognize the signs of human trafficking.

Petro-Canada hosted a presentation at our most recent in-person Wholesale Conference from an international crime prevention specialist about how to recognize and respond to suspected incidents of human trafficking, particularly for our sites that are located along known trafficking routes. The NWAC also provides a fact sheet about signs of trafficking and what to do.

Addressing our national crisis of missing, murdered and exploited Indigenous people can seem overwhelming. But we all have a responsibility to try to take action. This article from Haley Lewis, a Kanyen'keha:ka-Scottish writer, shares five ways that Canadians can put the calls for justice from the national MMIWG report into action:

  1. Denounce and speak out against violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people
  2. Decolonize by learning the true history of Canada and Indigenous history in your local area
  3. Develop knowledge and read the final report and calls to justice
  4. Using what you have learned and some of the resources suggested, become a strong ally
  5. Help hold all governments accountable to act on the calls for justice

Lewis goes into detail on each actionable item and recommends this excellent “Indigenous Ally Toolkit” from the Montreal Indigenous Community Network (aka “The NETWORK”), an organization that supports the ecosystem of individuals and groups committed to improving the quality of life of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities living in the greater Montreal area.

Another resource I found particularly helpful, especially around educating myself on the history of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples is First Nations 101 by Lynda Gray, a member of the Ts’msyen Nation from Lax Kw’alaams on the Northwest Coast of BC.  First Nations 101 provides “a broad overview of the day-to-day lives of Indigenous people, traditional Indigenous communities, colonial interventions used in an attempt to assimilate Indigenous people into mainstream society, the impacts those interventions had on Indigenous families and communities, and how Indigenous people are working towards holistic health and wellness today.”

Hearing the stories from Indigenous families about the loss of their loved ones has also increased my empathy and my desire to take action about MMEIP. Suncor employee, Deb Green, has given us permission to share the story of losing her sister, Laney, and the impact it has had on her.

As Suncor continues on its Journey to Reconciliation, we’ll continue to share stories from our Indigenous colleagues and partners. We’d love to hear from you about your own journey of reconciliation. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

~Kate T.