When you don’t walk the walk

We have a funny relationship with corporations in this country. There are certain entities that have transcended simple corporate identities and have ingrained themselves into our national identity. Tim Hortons and Canadian Tire are ones that certainly come to mind. The one I’m focusing on here is Bell Canada. However, for the most part their relationship could be chalked up to a beligerent family member we have to deal with. I’ve yet to hear any anecdotal stories about how great Bell Canada is. It’s more akin to ‘I needed internet in my house, Bell’s rates weren’t the worse I came across.’

In their efforts to ingratiate themselves into Canadian’s lives though, they introduced the annual fundraising for mental health day that we all affectionately know as #bellletstalk day. I’ve written before about this fundraising PR campaign. The more and more scrutiny this day receives, the more and more it becomes to me just a PR marketing campaign. Which is of course disappointing, as it showed so much promise at the start of truly revolutionizing how our country perceives mental health. Transforming the national consciousness for a positive cause is something to be commended.

However, as I wrote this time last year, Bell needed to ensure it walked the walk. If they wanted this to be truly transformational, then it needed to ensure its practices and policies reflected a better understanding of mental health. Unfortunately I don’t think they heard me. A few days after a successful #bellletstalk day, Bell Media announced massive layoffs in it’s properties. This was also after reportedly, Bell received $122 million in government funds intended for labour subsidies due to the pandemic.

This is callous and shallow on Bell’s part. There is no excuse around it. To wrap yourself in the flag of mental health awareness and then in less than a week lay off long time employees in the middle of a pandemic is unconscionable. It is hypocrisy at it’s purest definition. Shame on you Bell.

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