Canada’s Business Heroes And Villains In 2020: Sometimes, They Were One And The Same


When the history of the great COVID-19 pandemic is written, it will show that mistakes, as they say, were made. But it will also show that, at times, the best of humanity rose to the top.

That’s certainly true among Canada’s business community this past year, which was faced with an unpredictable, unparalleled crisis that forced the shutdown of countless institutions, throwing three million Canadians out of work at the peak of the crisis, and casting a huge question mark on the survival of thousands of businesses.

Some businesses tried to exploit the crisis to fatten their bottom lines; others saw an opportunity to help and took it. Amid the chaos of the past year, many businesses did both at one point or another, which is why some of the companies on this list of 2020′s business heroes and villains appear on both sides of the ledger.

Heroes: the companies that pitched in

As the pandemic hit, many Canadian businesses stepped up to help fill surging demand for emergency medical gear, helped along by financial incentives from the federal and provincial governments. 

Manufacturers Magna, Linamar and Martinrea teamed up with a number of southern Ontario medical companies to produce ventilators; Brewer Labatt used its alcohol expertise to produce hand sanitizer, as did a number of other alcoholic beverage makers; Fiat Chrysler manufactured face masks; Canada Goose began producing scrubs and patient gowns for hospitals.