June 15, 2020
This time is not easy. It is not “comfortable.” The people and businesses we were pre-COVID…are gone.

“Drop-by anytime after 5 p.m.” Nope.

Shaking hands at the first meeting. Nope.

Morning, tailgate team meeting. Nope.

Orientation and training — VERY different from what it was.

Conventions, Canada Blooms, workshops: yes, but with restrictions or online only.

“Business as usual” is going to be anything but “usual’ moving forward.

We are all going to be facing new challenges we can’t even predict at this early stage.

Policies and procedures have evolved and will continue to (weekly, if not daily) moving forward.

WE have been given the green light to proceed to deliver our services.

Our profession has been recognized as ESSENTIAL!

As individuals and businesses, we are in a volatile time of improvement, reflection, evaluation and evolution.

NONE OF US have to improve, reflect, evaluate or evolve ALONE.

With the guidance of LO’s Peer-to-Peer Network and the support of Landscape Ontario, we have the opportunity to move forward together, stronger and more effective than ever before. The dedication, time and effort put forth from Jacki Hart, Tony DiGiovanni, Sally Harvey, Joe Salemi, Lindsey Ross and the COVID Task Force have been nothing less than extraordinary.

Engaged members have been brought together, kept informed, guided, encouraged and empowered to continue to work “as usual as possible,” while supporting and learning from each other.

Businesses will change. People will change. Positions, workflow and tasks will be rearranged and some people will lose their job. But they will not lose hope, or support from Landscape Ontario. Going forward, working through this pandemic and after, I am convinced this industry has the right people at the helm within Landscape Ontario and we are beyond lucky to have them.

When we return to work “as usual,” I ask that managers and people of seniority keep in mind how challenging the start of this season has been — not JUST for owners, but for employees as well. We are anxious to get back to work, but worried about job security. We wonder how we will be able to look after our families and pay our bills, and more than anything, WE want to be deemed “essential.” We want to know that the work we do makes a difference. That what we do MATTERS and that our efforts and sacrifices are noticed. We want to feel and know that WE are “essential.”

During these next few months, employees may cry, get emotional, and overreact to situations. Sometimes we might not even show up. We could be dealing with not being able to visit family members in hospital, living at home with someone who works in a hospital, working reduced hours and receiving reduced wages, or have been exposed to someone who “might” be COVID-19 positive (and have to stay at home in quarantine). We as employees want to work. We want to contribute. We want to make a difference and we need to know that we are “essential.”
Stay strong friends, we are all in this together.

Heather Jerrard,
Proud member of LO’s Peer to Peer Network
TLC Professional Landscaping
London, Ont.