The Making of a Mask

The Making of a Mask

Tridel Gives Non-Medical, Reusable Cloth Face Masks to all of its Employees

As we move towards a phased reopening of the economy in Ontario and, for ourselves, the reopening of our Customer Care, Sales, and Head Office locations, our leadership team is determined to ensure that our employees are returning to a safe environment.  That’s why they have committed to providing each employee with two non-medical, reusable, cloth face masks as part of our expanded health and safety protocols.

After searching for a way to help safeguard the senior population living in Delmanor communities, a group of retirement residences owned by the Tridel Group of Companies, Tridel’s CEO Leo DelZotto and his wife Sandra DelZotto commissioned a group of local seamstresses in the GTA to design and produce approximately 1,500 non-medical, reusable cloth masks for Delmanor’s on-site staff.

“Sandra and I firmly believed that we could do more and that implementing this precautionary measure was the right thing to do. Fortunately thanks to Sandra’s connections within the community, we were able to make it happen quickly,” says Leo DelZotto, CEO, Tridel Group.

Very quickly, this humble gesture developed into a company-wide mask initiative.

A Team Design

Studies have shown that simple, cloth face coverings may help slow the spread of coronavirus. This created a huge demand for non-medical face masks, and as a result, masks were in short supply and increasingly difficult to source. Additionally, it was vital to preserve the supply of medical-grade masks for frontline healthcare professionals.

Skilled in detailed workmanship and pattern–making, the seamstresses designed a selection of mask prototypes. These were then vetted for use by our Health and Safety teams, and our co-worker Yves Cheung from the Project Feasibility department, who also happens to hold a Ph.D. in Immunology. Yves was able to offer his expertise in product testing and in viral transmission. The mask design and fabric selected also had to pass a number of tests, with consideration given to protection, comfort, and the potential for re-use.

Construction Adopts Masks On-Site

Over the past several months, Peter Meneguzzi, Vice President of Construction, Daniel Dos Santos, and the rest of the Health & Safety team have introduced a number of enhanced safety measures on site, over and above our already strict protocols. Upon learning of the initiative started by Leo and Sandra for the Delmanor communities, they immediately found more seamstresses and ordered an additional 3,300 masks for the employees and trade professionals working on our active job sites.

Expanding the Program to all Tridel Employees

The Tridel leadership team was quick to recognize the value of this initiative and decided to expand the program to include two masks for every Tridel employee, on-site and in the office.  Drawing on our long-standing relationship with George Brown College (GBC) built through our BOLT Charitable Foundation and other initiatives, Leo reached out to George Brown College’s Fashion Exchange (GBC FX) and began a collaboration on the development and production of the next generation of cloth masks.

Working together, GBC and Tridel made a few alterations to the design of the cloth face masks, including the addition of a pocket for a filter. Production on this additional order of 3,200 masks has begun and the masks are expected from GBC FX in a couple of weeks.

Happily, the Fashion Exchange has since secured additional orders to manufacture masks for other organizations and are busy working to fulfill these orders.

Returning to the Office and the ‘New Normal’

In total, Tridel will have produced and distributed approximately 8,000 non-medical, reusable cloth masks to complement the expanded health and safety protocols in place to ensure the well-being of all employees and customers.

The success of such a large undertaking in a short period of time is nothing short of extraordinary. The coordinated effort required for this initiative would not have been possible without the support of Stella Salvador, Principal Interior Designer, Tridel; Joanne Bin, Executive Director, BOLT Charitable Foundation; our Interior Design and CSR teams, as well as many others, who managed many of the logistical responsibilities and led the washing, packaging and delivery of the masks to our employees.

“As we return to work, it’s important that each person feel safe and we’re thankful to George Brown and the Fashion Exchange for helping us provide these masks to our employees,” says Andrea DelZotto, Director and EVP Community Development. “Our sense of community is stronger than ever and our Tridel family has come together over the past few months like never before, drawing on our collective strengths for this masks initiative.”