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March 2020

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COVID-19 – We are committed to your protection

With newspapers and online news sites blaring headlines about the rapid global spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), it’s perfectly understandable why this is causing a heightened anxiety in people worldwide.

Universal takes this world issue very seriously and is committed to ensuring the safety and well being of all our employees during these uncertain times.  We are in the process of developing a formal plan, the “Coronavirus Contingency Action Plan” to specifically address how we will tackle a potential coronavirus outbreak in Canada.

Shortly we will be announcing and sharing the formal plan with everyone but in the mean time we wanted to provide some basic guidelines and tips on preventative health care to help protect people but also to combat the spread of the virus.

Perhaps the best advice for those worried about the coronavirus comes from The World Health Organization (WHO) who advise it’s most important for everyone not to panic and stay calm. While there’s still much to be learned about the coronavirus and the outbreak is a serious public health concern, the majority of those who contract the coronavirus do not become seriously ill, and only a small percentage require intensive care. Older people and those with underlying health conditions are twice as likely to develop serious outcomes.

It’s time to prepare in case our community is affected.  Take steps to help reduce your risk and do your part in helping protect your fellow colleagues and family members.

How does Coronavirus infect a person?
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • The air by coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching the eyes, nose or mouth after touching an infected surface
  • Rarely, fecal contamination

Symptoms & Treatment
Symptoms range from mild – like the flu and other common respiratory infections – to severe, and can include:

     Coronavirus symptoms
  Coronavirus symptoms

Some people are infected but don’t show any symptoms, and most recover on their own from the virus without special treatment. But in extreme cases, severe acute respiratory and pneumonia sets in, sometimes with fatal results.

There are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, and there is no vaccine that protects against coronaviruses.

How to protect yourself and others
Coronaviruses are spread mainly from person to person through close contact, for example, in a household, workplace or health care centre. The single most effective way to stop the spread of disease is actually very low-tech: Washing your hands often, and properly.

Wear a medical mask if you are experiencing respiratory symptoms to minimize the risk of infecting others.  The WHO have suggested rational use of masks and to only wear one if you have symptoms as there is a world-wide shortage of masks.  If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.  As a reminder, we have a supply of face masks available for use at the Head Office.

Take the following everyday steps to protect yourself, co-workers and your family.  The application of these principles will help prevent and control transmission of any respiratory infection disease, including the coronavirus:

  • Wash your hands frequently: Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.  View this video for hand-washing steps using the WHO technique.  Besides washing your hands, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers frequently.  At Head Office, hand sanitizer dispensers are available at the Reception, Lunch Room and washrooms.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth: Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene: Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
  • Maintain social distancing: Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Keep surfaces clean: Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.  Disinfectant wipes will be made available throughout the office.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell: If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, you are encouraged to stay home and seek medical attention. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

If you want to learn more about the coronavirus, click here.

Our Ignite team is working closely with our management group to develop our formal Coronavirus Contingency Action Plan.  A key component of that plan is reviewing our current IT set-up/connections and mapping out a strategy that will enable designated employees to work remotely if required.  You will be hearing from your manager shortly on some specific details of our Plan so each team is best prepared to participate.

Employee Training and Development

Employee Training and Development

Study Sessions – Canadian Customs

For CCS Designates, employees currently enrolled in the CCS course and other employees looking to enhance their customs knowledge, we will hold study groups to review course materials and answer questions before the due date of each CCS quiz. 

Study Session 1: Review of CCS Quiz
Session Overview: Review of CCS Quiz 1: Distributed Thursday March 5th; Due for Completion Thursday March 26th
Hosts: Oswaldo Arteaga and Ivy Woo
Date: Wednesday March 18th
Time: 10:30 am to 11:30 am

An email with registration information for each session will be sent out a couple of weeks prior.  All sessions are open to all employees, regardless of whether you are a CCS or CIFFA Designate.  Employees enrolled in the Introductory Customs Course are encouraged to participate in the study groups.  All sessions will be held in the main boardroom at Head Office.  Branch offices are encouraged to participate, via video conference.

Training Sessions {Training sessions are open to all Canadian and US employees)

Topic: Client Service Experience
Session Overview: Superior client service is crucial to the success of any company.  This is why proper customer service training can help deliver a long-term increase in sales and customer loyalty.  In this session, you will be provided with tips to create a positive client experience.
Hosts: John Leis, Debbie McGuire and Chris Cartan
Date: Wednesday April 22nd
Time: 10:30 am to 11:30 am

We would like to get your feedback and encourage everyone to bring forward educational topics of interest.  These could range from industry specific topics, to topics of IT or areas that you feel will help build a better understanding of systems and procedures.  Please forward any ideas to your manager.

Industry Events

As part of our employee training and development, it is important that our staff has the opportunity to attend industry events.  Grace Barnard, Veena Ramesh and Stephen Hatton of our Airfreight Services team attended a recent WestJet function announcing the arrival of their newest aircraft.

Stephen, Veena & Grace in front of the engine of WestJet’s new Dreamliner 787 aircraft.

Educational Achievements

The employees of Universal Logistics regularly receive industry training that is paid for by the company.  We are proud to recognize the achievement and success of our latest course and program graduate.

CIFFA Certification Program

Rachel Ng (Freight Solutions) – Completed first portion of CIFFA Certificate Program – International Transportation and Trade, with Honours

Rachel Ng (Freight Solutions)
Rachel Ng (Freight Solutions)

Do you know Rachel took this education course while away on maternity leave?  This shows great commitment to her career learning!  Well done Rachel!

Save the Dates – 2020 Company Events

The Toronto Zoo

It is never too early to plan ahead – so mark your calendars and plan on attending all Universal Logistics events in 2020.

First up is the Summer Event on Saturday, June 20th – and this year we are going back to…

The Toronto Zoo

Stay tuned for more details in the months ahead.

Company Christmas

And while no one wants to think about next winter, our Holiday Parties are sure to help you beat the blues – following are the dates – details to follow in the fall.

  • Children’s Christmas Party – Sunday, December 13th
  • Company Christmas – Friday, December 18th

Step Out Buffalo or Do You Really Know Buffalo?
Contributor: Lisa Fertita

People ice-biking
People ice-biking across the canal

The Ralph C. Wilson, JR. Children’s Museum

You’ve been here to shop for a bargain, been to a game and returned the same day.  You’ve been here, done that.  But do you really know Buffalo?  Have you…

Martin House
Martin House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

No?  Then what are you waiting for?  Buffalo Niagara is both foreign and familiar—a smorgasbord of arts and culture, dining, nightlife, museums, outdoor recreation and architecture.  The next time you’re thinking about a USA getaway, remember that the nearest faraway place is just a short drive away.  If you haven’t seen Buffalo lately, you haven’t seen Buffalo!

Culture and Entertainment
Contributor: Barbara Mulatinho

Netflix shows recommendations

Ever caught yourself browsing through Netflix for hours on end and not being able to decide on what to watch?  Been there, done that.  Hopefully the following tips will help you to stop searching and start watching.

Good Girls

Good Girls – You know what they say: desperate times call for desperate measures.  Three women see themselves stuck with big problems that only money can solve.  Going to the bank is not an option.  Together, they decide the only way out is to rob a local convenience store.

It was supposed to be easy only if everything went as planned.  Now they see themselves with more problems than they can solve and in for more than they bargained.  Starring Christina Hendricks, the first 2 seasons of this crime comedy-drama are available on Netflix and the 3rd season started on NBC on February 16th.

Money Heist / La Casa de Papel

Money Heist / La Casa de Papel – It was a regular day in Royal Mint of Spain in Madrid, when a group of
robbers invaded turning everyone inside into a hostage.  With a carefully laid scheme developed by the one they call Professor, it’s impossible to guess what the original plan was or what went wrong.  

Originally made by a Spanish TV channel, and later bought out by Netflix, the series was the most-watched non-English language series and one of the most-watched series overall in the platform in 2018.  A suspense that will leave you guessing until the last episode.  Parts 1 to 3 are available on Netflix and Part 4 will be out on April 3rd.  There is the English dubbed version for those who are not fond of subtitles.


Bodyguard – After watching the first 20 minutes of Episode 1, you’re going to be hooked.  This thriller stars Game of Thrones actor Richard Madden (RIP Rob Stark) for which he won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama Series in 2019.  It tells the story of a British Army war veteran, who now works as a police sergeant in the London Metropolitan Police.

Everything starts to go downhill when he is assigned as the principal protection officer for the Home Secretary, who has plans to introduce invasive new surveillance powers for security forces, which he is strongly against.  With just 6 episodes, it’s perfect to binge-watch, and it will keep you on the edge of your seat, until the very end.

Something’s Brewing

Spring is coming!
Contributor: Crystal Thongmanivong

Spring is coming

Hello Spring!  Although spring usually arrives on March 20th or 21st, spring comes early this year on March 19th, so let’s welcome the earliest spring we’ll have had since 1896 – a whopping 124 years ago!

What is seen in the middle of March and April that can’t be seen at the beginning or end of either month?

Click on the question above, submit your answer to Phoebe, and you’re eligible to win! 

Submission deadline
March 20, 2020 (Friday) noon

$25 Tim Hortons or Starbucks gift card for the winner
(If more than one person has the right answer, we will pick the winning name out of a hat)

Growing again

In Universal & You, we want to introduce all new employees and since early this year, there is a new addition in the Cleveland office.  Please join us in welcoming Tom Gross to the team!

Tom Gross

Name: Tom Gross
Team: Business Development            – U.S. Freight (Cleveland)
Start date: March 2, 2020

Health and Lifestyle

Brain Health
Contributor: Crystal Thongmanivong

Your brain is kind of a big deal.

As the control centre of your body, it is in charge of keeping your heart beating and lungs breathing and allowing you to move, feel and think.  That is why it is a good idea to keep your brain in peak working condition.

Studies have found that a pattern of eating healthy foods, while at the same time, minimizing the intake of foods high in saturated fat and added sugar is tied to lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

The foods you eat play a role in keeping your brain healthy and can improve specific mental tasks, such as memory and concentration.  Some examples of brain foods are:

  • Fatty Fish
  • Coffee
  • Blueberries
  • Turmeric
  • Broccoli
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Oranges
  • Eggs
  • Green Tea

IT Corner

Update your email signature

IT Corner

Since we had the new phone system implemented earlier this year, your extension number has been updated.  Double check your email signature (sign-offs) and make sure you have the right extension number.

The standard internal and external email signatures can be found on the G: drive in the “Employee Guidelines and Benefits” folder.  Everyone should ensure they are using our standard formatting for both signatures.

Calling all Universal Employees!

We are looking for volunteers to contribute short articles to Universal & You.  Topics can be team or industry-related or you might want to share a personal experience (e.g. volunteer work or travel) with your fellow employees.

Please forward your ideas to Phoebe Shum.

  March 2020

Universal & You is produced bi-monthly for the employees of Universal Logistics. Reader comment and story ideas are welcome. Comments of general interest to all Universal & You readers will, with the permission of the writer, be published. Copyright © Universal Logistics Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction for any commercial use is strictly prohibited.

Universal & You is produced by Universal Logistics, Editor: Sharon Fong, email:

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information contained herein, Universal Logistics accepts no responsibility or liability for errors or omissions.

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