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Planning for the Future by Diane Freeman

Diane freeman AARO president portrait
Diane Freeman Photo: Diane Freeman

Looking beyond what’s happening today.

This time around, I thought it would be good to talk about the importance of our industry and how we can benefit from looking beyond today and into the future.

I have had the opportunity to speak to many shop owners in the province of Ontario these past few months during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Video fatigue

For many of us, video conferencing is a way to stay connected to our coworkers, family and friends, but have you actually found you’re more exhausted after video chatting all day? There’s actually a name for this “Virtual fatigue.” While taking part in these video conferences, many of us are trying to multitask.

Instead of doing two things at once, what we’re actually doing is we’re task switching. So, we’re switching from one task to another. Every time we switch tasks, it takes a minute to get oriented, and that’s also exhausting,

With all these changes, you are doing your best to stay on top of what is required and what is not.  Many of you are following guidelines that are proposed by government. The toughest part of this is knowing what you need to be doing to be compliant with the new changes that are happening daily. That’s where associations like ours can help you by giving you the updates that apply to your business.

Practical guide

For these reasons we have put together a guide for our members for their workplace on best practices and what they need to know.

Government programs like the COJG can provide a big benefit for those that take advantage of them. Photo: Shutterstock

Our industry has had to make changes, and online training has been one of these changes. We still need to continue with our aftermarket training. Cars are still coming into the bays and your need to be able to diagnosis, repair and keep your customer coming back to you.

As I said earlier, I have had the opportunity to speak to many of you and this is a busy season with winter tire changeovers. That doesn’t mean that you don’t plan for the future and continue to learn. In some ways, having the opportunity to pick and choose when you are going to learn online gives us more choice than ever before.

With the government of Ontario offering the Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG), we as an industry need to take advantage of programs like this now or we won’t have them in the future.  Many of us complain that we want more support from the government when it comes to the costs of running the business.

A helping hand

I know that you may find the application process for the COJG too difficult and for that reason we have taken that burden away for you as we are providing the help by doing all the necessary paperwork and administering the program for you.

For more information about this, you can contact AARO toll free 1-800-268-5400.


Diane Freeman is President of the Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario (AARO). You can reach her at diane.freeman@aaro.ca

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