The iconic brand Canadian Tire needs no introduction. The 98-year-old retailer brand beat Google in 2019 to top the list of Canada’s most admired companies on Leger’s annual survey. In 2020, it was again among the top three on the list.
With its headquarters in Toronto, Ontario, Canadian Tire has over 500 retail locations across Canada. The franchise in Shoppers World Brampton mall opened in 2001 and is operated by Harold Robbins.
“Currently we have close to 110 employees, including the shop and the sales floor,” says Maria DeSantis, the Human Resources Manager at Canadian Tire Store #010, Brampton.
Canadian Tire Store #010 has been a Peninsula client since June 2019.
Maria says she found out about Peninsula while searching online for some HR advice. On learning more about the benefits of Peninsula’s various services, including health and safety, they decided to sign up for it.
“We thought it would be like an extra layer of protection to make sure that we were doing the proper thing,” says Maria.
“Canadian Tire has lawyers and we have a company that helps us with health and safety and our claims,” she says. “But even on top of that having Peninsula, I think, was a good choice. It’s just that extra layer of benefits and help. I have called Peninsula many times for different things and they have helped me resolve a lot of stuff before it became a problem.”
Maria says she finds Peninsula to be very helpful when it comes to dealing with HR issues, whether big or small.
For instance, she says she needed to hire staff on a contract basis as they are expecting a high volume of online orders in the months ahead. So, she got in touch with Peninsula for the paperwork required to hire contract employees.
“Peninsula sent me a contract form for contract employees. I have been using that for the people I would hire on a contractual basis. Some things were simple like that and some things were having to do with employees who said they were leaving but they never did,” says Maria.
The HR manager says she has increasingly come to rely on Peninsula for getting effective and genuine advice.
“It is easy when you are all sitting on a table to say let’s do this, do that, make them sign this, make them sign that. But the first thing I say to anybody who says this to me is ‘Hold on. Let me call Peninsula and see what they say and how they think we should proceed.’ If it is something a little bit more complex, I always call Peninsula first,” she says.
Peninsula has also helped the store create an employee handbook and new employee contracts.
The Canadian Tire store closed for a month during the first COVID-19 outbreak. Maria says they were only doing online order pickups and majority of the staff was temporarily laid off. She says 95% of the staff came back when they were able to reopen. They had clear instructions from the head office regarding the procedure on recalling staff, use of PPE, posters, signs, social distancing. So, there were no issues.
But when she needed to verify some information she received with regards to an employee not being able to wear a face mask, she says she called Peninsula.
“We have an employee who due to health reasons cannot wear a mask. She has a note from her doctor as well. So, we allow her to wear a face shield instead,” says Maria.
She says she received information that if the employee couldn’t wear the mask, she’d have to go on unemployment.
Maria says the information was incorrect and Peninsula verified it.
The Peninsula Service
“I have to say that it was probably the best thing we ever did, joining Peninsula,” says Maria. “When we first signed on, the owner [Harold Robbins] even spoke to a few other dealers at their meetings. He mentioned it to them that it [Peninsula] was something they should look into,” she says.
Maria says she enjoys using the 24-hour employer advice line. “When I call in and tell them my problem, the people have been very good to direct me on how to handle it,” she says. “The advice line is great.”