by Fairtrade Canada

At Fairtrade Canada we’re monitoring the news with concern, and following instructions from Ottawa Public Health to work from home. Unfortunately, this means that we are currently unable to ship any orders for materials from our webstore. We will post updates when we have them. For now, more details about our global response can be found in this news release from Fairtrade International.

Around the world, business is adapting to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Our work is ongoing and we’re committed to assisting the producers that are at the heart of our system.

We are all connected, not just in our towns and cities but also across the world. Just as new viruses like COVID-19 crisscross the globe, so do supply chains. People are rightly concerned that the most vulnerable, those already living paycheck to paycheck, will be the first and hardest hit by this period of social isolation and economic slowdown. Small business owners and their employees, gig economy workers, and others with precarious employment are living on tight margins already. Small-scale farmers and agricultural workers in the global south struggle every year to earn enough to support their families.

In spite of what is a new reality for all of us, it is so encouraging to see how communities are coming together for mutual protection and support. We’ve been receiving updates from our partners and producer networks around the world, which underscores how this is truly an opportunity for us, as a society, to come together to support each other through this crisis.

Support can be demonstrated in many ways:

  • Stay in touch! Video calls to check in on the physical and mental health of our friends, colleagues and family. If you’re working virtually, schedule regular video calls to maintain a sense of teamwork and celebrate progress.
  • Socially responsible consumption: consider how you can support your local economy, as well as those who will be directly impacted, like producers in the global south. Make sustainable choices and buy fair: take only what you need for a couple of weeks and leave plenty for others.
  • Respect and heed the advice of medical professionals. Rely on information about the virus from reputable global organizations like WHO or your government’s health ministry. If your local authorities say to stay home, stay home! It’s not only your life that’s at stake.

We urge everyone to take responsible steps to minimize the spread of this new virus, while continuing to support your local businesses and communities. And, if you have a choice, please shop for staples like Fairtrade-certified coffee, chocolate, bananas, sugar and wine as if we were all neighbors, because we are.