Time to Change the Channel!
For months now, we’ve only known one channel: COVID-19. Signs are beginning to appear that a better channel is emerging. Don’t let inertia keep you from switching to it
By Dennis Perrin, Prairies Director
I grew up in the ’80s in a family where cable TV was a foreign concept. We heard of the fine folks in the city who had it, and often wondered how amazing it might be.
We had what we called “peasant cable,” complete with all of two channels. The outside world was delivered to us via a big old floor-mounted Electrohome TV where you changed the channel manually with a dial. It took effort to get off the couch and walk over to this wooden mammoth, so we really had to be discontented with whatever we were watching. Luckily, Saturday nights brought us Hockey Night in Canada, which meant a solid three hours of no channel changing.
It is safe to say the channel has been changed on us in the last few months in a major way. We could say the channel has been changed multiple times, and we don’t yet know quite where it will land.
For me, things began changing rapidly on March 12. Our family had just returned home from a wonderful ski trip in Kimberly, BC, and it was the day after our son’s 12th birthday.
During the trip, we often checked the news on our phones from the chair lift, and watched as COVID-19—and the growing anxiety that accompanied it—quickly spread across Canada. Up to that point, we watched it from afar, but deep down we never really thought this life-altering virus would end up on our own shores.
Little did we know the major societal changes that would be in store for us as soon as we got back.
When I went to work the next morning at CLAC’s Edmonton Member Centre, everything changed. Every meeting I had booked for that morning was quickly cancelled as we scrambled to respond to the emerging crisis. In a five-hour period, every conference and event I was registered for over the course of the following two months was also cancelled.
The channel had changed in a major way, and it wasn’t fun.
Now weeks into this, many of us have adapted into this new normal. Remote work, where possible, and physical distancing are the order of the day.
And yet, there are signs of hope on the horizon. There are signs the channel is changing once again, and this time for the better.
Case numbers in Canada are slowly levelling out, and most provinces have announced plans for reopening their economies. This is great news considering the sacrifices many workers across Canada have made. Many have lost their job, others are taking pay cuts to keep their job, while others put themselves at risk every day working on the front lines to support us.
As exciting as it is to imagine some loosening of the restrictions, it is also quite scary. We now have to switch the channel to this new reality.
Part of what makes it scary is that none of us really knows what the new, “new normal” will look like. Will we be able to resume life as we knew it before? How long will it take for the economy to rebound—and the jobs that come with it? How will I continue to protect myself and others from getting this terrible illness?
One can quickly become paralyzed in the grip of the unknown. Our own inertia gets in the way—it’s safer to stay planted on the couch, after all.
At CLAC we always have, and continue to be, committed to our three pillars of service: Better Workplaces, Better Communities, and Better Lives. With these pillars, we are able to adapt to changing conditions, even when the answers are not clear or immediate.
It’s not easy to adapt to continual change, especially changes into the unknown. But no matter what the next phase of this crisis entails, we’ll continue to assist you as best we can. Stay tuned for regular updates as the channel changes.