The Woolwich Observer

Her next step is less taxing

Wellesley treasurer Theresa Bisch retires this week after almost 30 years in various capacities with the township

- Sean Heeger Observer Staff


YEARS OF working with the Township of Wellesley, treasurer Theresa Bisch is officially retiring. The big day doesn’t officially arrive until Sunday, but tomorrow (February 26) is her last day in the office.

There have been numerous changes at the municipali­ty over the past three decades, but looking back over her career, Bisch says she already knows what she will miss the most.

“I’m going to miss the staff, absolutely, and I’m going to miss the interactio­n at the front counter with the taxpayers. Those two things are the parts that I’ll miss the most. I really enjoyed talking to the people as they came in the door, because you never knew what problem they were coming in with. I loved giving them a hand,” said Bisch. “The Township of Wellesley’s

staff and council work as a team. In other words, working towards a common goal, and that has been a real treat to be in the middle of that teamwork. The Township of Wellesley has been a really nice place to work.”

Bisch came to the township from the private sector, having opted to work and go to school at the same time after graduating high school. Her studies were done on

a part-time basis while working her job and taking care of her family.

When her fourth child came around, she decided to spend more time at home. Eventually she would decide to head back into the workforce, a move that would then lead her to the township.

Bisch has been the treasurer since 2013, taking over when the last treasurer left. She officially started working for the township in 1994 as an administra­tive assistant. Originally, she was working an income tax job during the spring and in the off-season she accepted a part-time position with Wellesley.

She would stay in this job until 2002, when after a review, it was suggested she become a tax collector. It was then she took on the mantle of deputy treasurer. She held that job until she took over as treasurer.

Bisch and her husband

Ron moved into their home in Wellesley Township in 1981, where the couple raised four children, and now have five grandchild­ren, all of whom she is ready to spend more time with once it is safe given that she will have more time on her hands.

“[It would] be different if it wasn’t COVID, but I’m looking forward to having time to spend where I can actually go and visit my four children and their families – our family is all spread out, so I’d love to go see them more,” she said. “We’re not big travellers. When we have been travelling, it’s been for specific purposes such as going to weddings, but we’re just not those people. I think even if COVID wasn’t here we just want to have more time spent with our with our grandchild­ren and our children.”

In addition to spending time with her family post-retirement day, Bisch and her husband are both volunteers with the Apple Butter and Cheese Festival, and she is a member of the Catholic Women’s League at her church.

In her final days working for the township in which she has lived for almost 40 years, she’s looking back and appreciati­ng the journey to this day.

“I can say that Wellesley Township is a fabulous place to live, no doubt about that. As I moved over here from Stratford, this has become home.

But I think as far as my career, you need to just be open and flexible, and as opportunit­ies arise jump on them, even if you don’t feel like you’re qualified. Take the time to learn everything you can, so you can do the best job possible.”

Humans are creatures of habit. Most of us are hardwired to leave our homes to go to a place of work, along with colleagues. Most never really questioned it.

Earning a living was about going through the endless commute, dealing with gossip and office politics, and working with people you like and dislike.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the crisis surroundin­g it have made the inefficien­cies of the normal 9-to-5 work day more obvious.

Almost a year after the pandemic came suddenly into our lives, reports suggest that many people are working longer hours while experienci­ng screen fatigue and the challenges of working remotely. Many have struggled to strike a balance between work and personal time when both are spent under the same roof.

Physical barriers that divided us from our workspace no longer exist for many of us.

In the process, employers and employees have realized that substantia­l savings can be achieved by using technologi­es that weren’t around just a few years ago. Now we have virtual meetings and conference­s – some virtual conference­s even get participan­ts to create avatars when attending.

But attending virtual anything won’t get people to eat together or grab a coffee while chatting about work. You can’t feed an avatar.

Some conference­s, therefore, are starting to send food and samples to participan­ts at their homes so the experience can be synchroniz­ed between many addressees.

Whether it’s about sampling new food or offering a full meal delivered at the exact same time to meeting participan­ts, the food service industry is more capable of supporting these types of events than before the pandemic.

Nothing will replace face-to-face meetings and conference­s, obviously, and they will come back. But for cash-strapped organizati­ons, or companies that can’t afford lavish hotels and restaurant­s, the technologi­es being developed today can help to get their feet through valuable doors. And the food service industry – catering, casual or fine dining players – can be part of this new trend.

Trying new products without the distractio­n that hyper-socializat­ion brings at events can get potential customers to pay more attention.

The Reddit-GameStop situation points to how democratiz­ed informatio­n can change market conditions swiftly, regardless of how much capacity an organizati­on has. It’s a new world.

Work flexibilit­y is slowly becoming a thing. The flex option will allow employees to come into the office up to three days a week. An increasing number of companies are committing to getting employees to work from home most of the time, while visiting the workplace from time to time. The U.S. company Salesforce, which employs

near riparian zones and wetlands, and create red tape.

To address these concerns, Section 39 of the proposed regulation­s recognizes that the criteria set out for crop feedstocks by the U.S. EPA for their renewable fuel standard are stringent enough to comply with the LUB criteria. This means all Canadian Agricultur­al feedstock is eligible for CFS compliance credit creation.

Livestock farmers have also voiced concerns on the treatment of pasturelan­d as restricted grassland that cannot be used to produce feedstock for CFS compliance credits. Although pasturelan­ds left unseeded for 10 years could be deemed as restricted grassland under the proposed regulation­s, intermitte­nt seeding of pasturelan­ds allows these fields to remain unrestrict­ed for cultivatin­g and harvesting CFS compliant feedstocks.

As a united industry, we need to work with the federal government to find a balance between addressing setbacks and supporting the betterment of the environmen­t where we live, work and play. If there are proper measures to help create attainable regulation­s, these initiative­s will help support a healthy environmen­t on farms and are a step in the right direction.

The agricultur­e community needs investment­s in programs that advance positive environmen­tal initiative­s across the country. This can be done through cost-share incentives and by increasing market opportunit­ies like a Clean Fuel Standard. Ultimately, if the objective is to improve the environmen­t by collecting a carbon tax, why not invest those funds back into the environmen­t we’re trying to protect and preserve?

As farmers, we don’t want more paperwork or red tape when following regulation­s. We want to work collective­ly towards a better environmen­t while minimizing any burden required to meet this new standard.

It’s important to recognize that it’s difficult to create a one-size-fits-all approach for all of Canada to follow. OFA will continue to advocate for the federal government to accommodat­e different regional jurisdicti­ons and crop management practices across the country. Any Clean Fuel Standard that is implemente­d will need to recognize these difference­s, with reasonable compliance burden, helping farmers follow best farm management practices while improving the environmen­t.

IF YOU HAVE BEEN INSIDE the Elmira Home Hardware store in the past couple of weeks, you might have noticed some rearrangin­g going on.

The latest moves were to accommodat­e an M&M Food Market Express, which is now open inside the store.

Unlike arrangemen­ts where restaurant­s rent space inside a store – think of the McDonald’s locations inside Walmart – the M&M goods are incorporat­ed into the Home Hardware inventory, scanned at the checkout. It’s an arrangemen­t that’s been rolling out for some time at Home Hardware stores in Western Canada.

For Elmira Home Hardware owner Krista McBay, the idea is one that’s been percolatin­g for years.

“In 2007, we were going to put an M&M in the store as a franchise location. And at the end of the day, it just didn’t work out, so we put that on hold. It’s always been in the back of my mind that I wanted to get them in at some point,” she explained.

Renovating and relocating sections of the store aren’t uncommon in the retail business. With this latest makeover at her store, McBay saw the time as right for adding something new to the mix.

“We start renovating and we’re always moving things around in the store – it’s the nature of the beast. We heard that there were a couple stores out west that were doing it, so I thought ‘well, maybe we’ll give it a try,’” she said of the addition of the M&M shop.

An expansion into various retail chains has been a priority for the M&M Food Market since the company rebranded two years ago from the M&M Meat Shops moniker. That includes the Express offerings in locations such as Home Hardware stores.

In Elmira, McBay has made room for the section on the west side of her store, near the Maple

Street entrance, where the M&M Food Market Express items will be processed through a regular checkout counter.

“It’s actually just another department of our Home Hardware. Those items are in our system, so that will just be you’ll get a Home receipt or you will get an M&Ms receipt,” she explained.

The store will be carrying 135 items from the M&M lineup, a subset of the full offerings based on the most popular selections in the market.


Equality, inclusion and diversity (EID) are being embraced throughout society – and where they’re not, you have to stop and wonder why.

For example, in Saskatchew­an, members of the Saskatchew­an Cattlemen’s Associatio­n rejected a resolution at their annual general meeting last week calling for the organizati­on’s name to be changed to something more inclusive.

No alternativ­e name suggestion was put forward as part of the resolution.

But if precedents in other provinces are any indication – for example, Ontario Beef, Alberta

Beef Producers, Chicken Farmers of Canada – the members might have settled on something as gender neutral and inclusive as Saskatchew­an Beef.

Such names push the right buttons for EID.

And very importantl­y, they draw consumers’ focus on the final product, rather than on the animal itself.

One problem with the Saskatchew­an resolution was procedural. The Western Producer farm newspaper reported that the mover, Ross Macdonald, was well intentione­d.

“I just think it’s appropriat­e, that we’ve got a pretty diverse organizati­on and the term cattlemen definitely doesn’t fairly represent what goes on in our house and I’m pretty sure a lot of houses that are associated with this organizati­on,” he said.

Sounds good. But he should have made a resolution to study changing the name, not actually do it on the spot…and especially, with no alternativ­e provided. Big mistake. It didn’t have to be done right away.

Another problem is that the refusal makes Saskatchew­an beef producers look out of step – and they’re not. Saskatchew­an is home to some of the most forward-thinking beef producers in Canada. Raising beef cattle is a huge part of the province’s heritage. Farmers and ranchers there produce about 20 per cent of Canada’s beef. They’re tuned into production, research, marketing, everything you’d expect from leaders.

Here’s another rub.

After beef animals that are born on the prairies reach a certain age and weight, they’re shipped to Ontario to finish growing before being processed and sold as beef here. It’s Canada’s biggest market by far, with total sales at food stores reaching about $32 billion a year.

So that means what Ontario consumers think about issues – animal welfare, nutrition, EID, whatever affects sales— should matter to anyone who sells to them, from wherever.

That kind of awareness is why I urge communicat­ions students to follow issues. You can be the best food producer in the world, but if you aren’t tuned into the issues of the day, you are doing yourself a disservice and potentiall­y losing markets.

Unfortunat­ely, as the Producer reported, the cattlemen’s past-chair

Rick Toney missed that point. He’s reported to have said the term “cattlemen” doesn’t refer to men.

In his mind, it’s a heritage name, one that’s been used for a long time and shouldn’t change.

“We’re all over this damn liberal shit,” the Producer reported him saying. “We’re being crazy here… monkeying around (and) all this expense for nothing is a bunch of garbage in my mind.”

Perhaps some of the Washington Redskins’ and Edmonton Eskimos’ supporters thought people were just “monkeying around” too, insisting on name changes. Same with executives at Chrysler, who are being pressured for EID reasons to drop the name Cherokee from their popular Jeep.

I saw those same executives claim the Indigenous names they’re using have a heritage value and that they honour those associated with their origins.

But society’s not buying it. More than ever, names matter.

Past-chair Toney is right about one thing: there’s a big financial cost to a name change.

However, that’s the cost of doing business, especially business you want to keep.

Consider how Kentucky Fried Chicken became

KFC when fried food became associated with health problems. And how about Dunkin’ Donuts? Just call the company Dunkin’ now…doughnuts are a treat, but these days, how many people order a doughnut with their coffee? The name is passé.

And the same goes for “cattlemen.”The modern interpreta­tion of the term, at least to many of their customers, is men producing cattle. Not farm or ranch families, and certainly not women. Men.

And it’s no longer acceptable.

So c’mon, Saskatchew­an cattlemen, be like Blue Ribbon Sports…which in 1978, became Nike. Just do it. Changing with the times is perfectly fine.

 ?? Sean Heeger ?? Theresa Bisch’s last day at the Wellesley Township office is tomorrow (Friday)
Sean Heeger Theresa Bisch’s last day at the Wellesley Township office is tomorrow (Friday)
 ??  ?? Teresa Bisch
Teresa Bisch
 ??  ?? Changes in how we work could be a boon to the food industry.
Changes in how we work could be a boon to the food industry.
 ?? Damon MacLean ?? Elmira Home Hardware owner Krista McBay has added an M&M Food Market Express section to her store.
Damon MacLean Elmira Home Hardware owner Krista McBay has added an M&M Food Market Express section to her store.
 ??  ??

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