39 entries categorized "Shared Values"

An Interview with Geena Virk, Petro-Canada Associate – International Women’s Day

To celebrate March 8, International Women’s Day, we’re sharing this interview with one of our associates, Geena Virk. Geena owns and manages a network of 12 Petro-Canada locations in and around Abbotsford, British Columbia. Geena has been part of the Petro-Canada family since 1999, when she and her husband, Narvinder, took over a single Petro-Canada location. Geena also sits on the Board of Directors of the Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation as well as the Community Grants Advisory Council.

Geena Virk
Geena Virk

PT: Geena, thank you so much for talking with me today! Having 12 locations to manage is a lot! What does a typical day look like for you?

I’m based in our Clearbrook office along with my bookkeeper. I look through reports from our different locations and ask, “What problems do we have to solve today?” This usually means working with a manager from a specific location and seeing what they need. Do they need sales incentives for their team, a little more training on how to do their books, or a site visit to help them identify where they can improve their location?

I have such a great team – the folks at all our locations feel like family. We have a manager at every store and most of them have been promoted from our original two stores; I recruited them into management positions. In fact, one of them has been with us for 22 years!

PT: What’s do you like about working with Petro-Canada?

It’s so nice to be a part of a Canadian company. I’m proud to be Canadian and proud of working for a Canadian company. So are my managers. They take ownership of the business and take pride in it. And we all like knowing that we (are a part of a company that is) making a difference out there. It is a privilege to work along side so many amazing people – namely the other associates across the network. We have a very talented and generous team of associates in our network.

PT: What are some of the things that would surprise people about owning a Petro-Canada location?

First of all, it’s a 24/7 business. We get calls at all times of the day, and every day of the week – including calls in the middle of the night. We have great managers who will be the first call, but Narv and I are the second call. When we're needed, we're REALLY needed. You have to be flexible and know that you could be needed at any time of the day or night.

Second, the safety of our team is, of course, a big deal. It’s a big responsibility to have that on my conscience every day and especially overnight. Every day, you hope and pray that all employees will make it safely back to their families at the end of their shifts.

Finally, being in this business, you never know what the day is going to bring. The business is always changing. We’re always evolving or tweaking the business. We never seem to be able to leave our work at work, but then that is part of the thrill of the business as well.

PT: What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

That came from Shirley Dickman, my Territory Manager from Petro-Canada (Shirley retired in 2020). She used to tell me how important it was to make personal connections with my teams, to make sure I really got to know them. And Shirley walked the walk. She had 40 locations in her territory, but she always knew the names of my staff. She really cared about people and has been an inspiration for my management style.

PT: Do you have any heroes or mentors?

My grandfather, Sham Singh Sandhu. He passed away last year at 100 years old. He immigrated to Canada from India in 1952 to give his family a better life. I watched how hard he worked every day so that he could give his family a good life. My grandfather believed in tenacity, ambition and education, always telling us to make sure we educated ourselves and our kids. He was a proud Canadian. He is my reason for getting up and moving every day.


Thanks, Geena, for speaking with me! And don't forget to check out our Instagram for a couple of interview clips with Geena.

Celebrating the Kindness of Canadians

February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day – a day when we all try to show a little more consideration to our neighbours. When someone does something kind for us out of the blue – even something small – it can make a big impact. We asked Canadians via our social media channels to tell us about someone who had shown them kindness in the last year and made their life better. We were touched to hear about so many Canadians finding opportunities to be kind to each other.

We selected a few of the entries that we received and sent them a little surprise in the mail. And we sent the folks that nominated them something as well. Spreading kindness is a great way to #LiveByTheLeaf. We’re delighted to share these stories with you!

Pauline Cockburn, Ontario
Nominated by Janique Spencer

When I was in labour unfortunately my mother wasn’t able to accompany me to the hospital and be there for the birth of her first grandchild. So I asked my Aunt Pauline to be there and document the moment for me. Even though she didn't like seeing blood she said yes without hesitation. Her being there made the whole process easier and less frightening for me. She was an angel and she's still my angel. I love her unconditionally and so does my daughter.


Kris Harris, Ontario
Nominated by Brenda Wilson

Kris is just a genuinely kind person each and every day. He inspires me to be a better person. From his pocket full of $5 gift cards that he hands out randomly, to opening doors for people, giving a compliment to anyone around him, stopping to acknowledge every dog he sees, shoveling an elderly man's drive and walk, paying for someone's coffee and treats, being ready to listen to any teen in his high school and doing random acts of kindness every single day, you could NOT ask for a guy more deserving of this award. His heart is bigger than the universe.   


Jonathan Laporte, Quebec
Nominated by Melanie Camirand

During the Holidays, seeing the difficulties I had in the fall while homeschooling my son, who seemed to have lost all motivation, although he usually was a good learner, Jonathan, a second-year student in specialized education, offered to evaluate him and find solutions, leveraging what he had learned in school. He spent 2 weeks observing and questioning my son, took many notes and transferred to me his discoveries and potential solutions. He brought light to the situation when I felt out of resources, and he gave us hope. I am extremely grateful for Jonathan's commitment!


Marg Hiltz, Nova Scotia
Nominated by Pamela Beattie

COVID sure interfered with my socializing, especially playing CRIB, at the local community hall. Well, friend Marg called three of us to say she was hosting a weekly CRIB afternoon at her place. Sure felt good to gather, in a safe environment, and enjoy the game we had been missing. The games continue, giving us four something to look forward to every week.


Eugenia Mardli, Manitoa
Nominated by Alice Spence

Eugenia considers it an honour to help others. She brought family from the Ukraine to her home and now has two adults, along with a 7-year-old and a 1-year-old, living with her in her very small house. She's taken people to Winnipeg for specialist appointments, cataract surgery, to help get provincial Health registrations. Eugenia is a Registered Nurse and has helped the nursing shortage by picking up shifts on every ward at our hospital.  Eugenia is one in a million and still has time to walk her dog daily. Eugenia expects nothing in return for her ongoing good deeds!


Gerald Gerard, Ontario
Nominated by Pam Lalonde

Gerald, a longtime friend of my husband, is an avid hunter and fisherman. What makes Gerald so special is that he shares his catch. Every year we get a visit or two from Gerald, who brings us freshly caught fish (already cleaned and packaged), fowl like goose breast and also moose and deer kielbasa, smoked trout and many other goodies. We are not the only recipients of his kindness, there are many others. I nominate Gerald because he embodies the phrase "it is better to give than to receive". He truly is an angel amongst us!



Innovation and Inclusion in Sport: An Interview with Paralympian Zak Madell

At Petro-Canada, we believe in the transformative power of sport, for both individuals and communities. We see it in the growth and development of the Canadian athletes and coaches we support through the Petro-Canada Fuelling Athlete and Coaching Excellence (FACE) grants. We feel it when we watch Canadians compete at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and all of Canada comes together to root for the athletes and coaches wearing the maple leaf.

This belief is one of the reasons that we’re excited about the theme for this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3): Transformative solutions for inclusive development - the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world. In particular, the UN holds up sport as an exemplar case in innovation for disability inclusive development and a sector for innovation, employment and equity.

Zak Madell, Wheelchair Rugby, Tokyo 2020
Photo Credit: Canadian Paralympic Committee

We wanted to hear from a Canadian athlete about how innovation has impacted their sport. Last year in our interview with Catherine Gosselin-Després, Executive Director of Sport at the Canadian Paralympic Committee, we learned about on-site repairs for athletes during the Paralympic Games, especially in the rough-and-tumble sport of wheelchair rugby (aka Murderball), so that seemed like a good place to start for a chat about innovation in sport. We were delighted to connect with Zak Madell, wheelchair rugby athlete and 3-time Paralympian.

When Zak was 10, he lost his fingers and legs to a septic staph infection. After his recovery, Zak first got involved in Para ice hockey, but had difficulty holding the stick well enough to play at a high level. Next, he was introduced to wheelchair basketball, which appealed to his competitive nature and his love of speed. Finally, he was recruited to wheelchair rugby in 2011 and has experienced a meteoric rise in the sport ever since. Zak has competed in 3 Paralympic Games (London, Rio and Tokyo) as well as several other international tournaments.

Zak, thank you so much for speaking with us today! Wondering if you can talk about how this year’s IDPD theme speaks to you? In particular, the UN holds up sport at an example of a sector which creates equity, employment and innovation for persons with disabilities. How has sport impacted your life?

My life would obviously look very different if I was not involved in sport. After I had my fingers and legs amputated at the age of 10, sport played a key role in rehabilitating both physically and more importantly mentally. Another advantage of getting involved in Para sport are the relationships that you develop over the years. For many having a disability can feel isolating at times. I know for myself that growing up it was difficult being one of the only people in my school with a physical disability. Through the sport community I met countless other athletes with disabilities that share both similar life experience as well as a passion for sport. 

Have there been innovations in your own sport of wheelchair rugby that have improved inclusion or equity?

We have seen a lot of innovation in the sport of wheelchair rugby since its inception in Winnipeg back in 1977. Originally the sport was played in heavy and cumbersome everyday wheelchairs. Fast forward 40+ years and we now see high performance, durable and lightweight devices that are specifically designed for the sport. These are usually custom fitted to the athlete depending on their level of function, with increased support and stability for athletes with limited core muscles, and custom frames designed to accommodate athletes with limb deficiencies. This has helped people with a wider range of disabilities to get involved in our sport, while the chairs allow them to compete at the highest level possible.

Any advice for persons with disabilities who are considering getting involved in sport?

There is a sport out there for everyone. However, sometimes you may have to try a few different ones to find the right fit for you. The first step is just coming out and trying them! There is no need to be nervous, or any expectations for you to be the next superstar Paralympian. Just go and enjoy yourself, and hopefully find a passion for a new sport that will create some amazing opportunities, introduce you to some great communities and will change your life in the best ways imaginable.

You've competed in 3 Paralympic Games. Do you have plans to compete in Paris?

Yes! That is my current plan. Before Tokyo I was unsure if I would continue the life of a high-performance athlete. However, I still have a burning passion for wheelchair rugby and the desire to bring home another Paralympic medal for my country. Also, the fact that the Tokyo games were delayed one year meant that it was only a 3-year cycle before Paris, and that made it feel like a more manageable commitment. 


Thank you, Zak! We really appreciate you taking the time to speak with us today. If you’d like to hear more from Zak (and you do because he is an inspirational speaker), you can tune in on December 5th for a Paralympic panel discussion on International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Zak will be joined by fellow Paralympians and members of the Paralympic community.

24 Hours in the Life of a Caregiver – Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation

This is a special edition of PumpTalk – brought to you by the Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation.

For many Canadian family caregivers, caring is more than a simple act of kindness; it’s an everyday commitment. Eight million Canadians, that’s one in four, provide regular physical, emotional, social and financial support to ill, injured, disabled and aging loved ones even if they don’t identify as caregivers.

To help all Canadians understand the challenges that family caregivers face every day, we created an immersive national campaign called 24 Hours of Care. Through various media placements along with an interactive website, Canadians can explore a day in the life of 10 real life Canadian caregivers.

24 Hours of Care

The website hosts a 24-hour documentary-style film that follows the 10 caregivers and their loved one throughout their day. You can easily navigate through the film at your own pace and get an unfiltered look at the life of a caregiver at any hour of the day. Select 1:00 am and you may see a mother awake and monitoring her child’s heartbeat. Skip ahead to 3:30 pm and you may see a man helping his elderly father.

“Although family caregiving impacts millions across the country, many Canadians don’t recognize it as an issue that needs support,” says Leila Fenc, Executive Director of the Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation. “Care often takes place in private settings where it’s not seen. We are grateful to the caregivers who opened up their homes and lives to us to help us raise awareness about the challenges they face every day.”

Visit 24HoursofCare.ca to learn more about family caregiving in Canada and the moment-by-moment lives of 10 real-life caregivers. And, learn more about the Foundation and how you can support family caregivers at caremakers.ca.


Launched in 2020, the Petro-Canada CareMakers Foundation enables and amplifies the work of charitable organizations across Canada that support family caregivers and inspires all Canadians to do the same. To-date, CareMakers has awarded grants totalling approximately $4 million.

Honouring stories of reconciliation through Indigenous art

Reconciliation can take many different forms. For Petro-Canada, we have an opportunity to provide space for Indigenous Peoples to share their  experiences and history, and to reclaim their identity, language, culture and nationhood through our network of sites. In September 2021, to acknowledge the first official National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we commissioned Indigenous artists across the country to create murals at six of our Petro-Canada locations. These murals are now complete, and we are honoured to share these artists' amazing work and their stories of reconciliation.

To learn more about the artists showcased in the video and the vision for their murals, visit https://www.petro-canada.ca/en/about-petro-canada/indigenous/honouring-stories-of-reconciliation-through-indigenous-art