Open Letter to All Levels of the Canadian Government Regarding Pets and COVID-19 Precautions

March 17, 2020 – As the world is battling an unprecedented situation, PIJAC Canada is extremely concerned by the threat to human health that COVID-19 imposes. Canada is taking action in an attempt to slow the curve of the virus and keep the population safe. Across the country, events are being canceled and businesses are shutting their doors to customers to create social distance and help control the spread of the virus. At PIJAC Canada, we firmly believe that animal welfare is everyone’s business. During these trying times, we urge you to consider the well-being of Canada’s pets.

Every day, pet businesses throughout Canada help enhance the wellbeing of pets and pet families in a variety of ways. It is vital that pet industry businesses are able to continue to provide products and services for the care of pets and that they are included among the critical infrastructure that is allowed to remain open throughout this unprecedented crisis. While humans receive necessary sustenance through grocery stores and medical care through hospitals, pet retailers must remain operational to ensure the continued humane care of pets.

Pet stores supply nearly one-third of all dog and cat food needed in pet family’s homes. This number sees a further increase when we include the food required by smaller pets like small mammals, reptiles and fish. Mass grocery stores do sell a limited variety of basic pet food options; however, they do not generally offer specialized food, supplements or medications that Canadian pets may need to stay healthy. It goes without saying that they are also not set up logistically to serve the millions of pets living in Canadian households. Many Canadian pet stores also sell animals, including puppies, kittens, small animals, birds, reptiles and fish, and must stay operational in order to take appropriate care of the animals in their facilities.

PIJAC Canada represents over 1500 pet industry members from coast to coast, over 1000 of which are pet stores. We have received concerns from these members in recent days about their fear of closure and how this would impact their customers and the pets in their communities. We hear their concerns and share their sentiment.

We thank you for taking the necessary measures necessary to protect our countries most vulnerable members, being the elderly and immunocompromised. We ask that you extend those measures to help protect those without a voice, being Canada’s animals. We ask that your community has the ability to provide appropriate care for the pets and animals that depend on their services, and list Canada’s pet stores as essential retailers that are exempt from mandatory closures.

If you have any questions or require additional information, as the voice of the Canadian pet industry, PIJAC Canada will remain available to help you keep Canadian pets and their family’s well-being at heart.


Stephanie Girard, President & CEO – Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada

Craig Brummell, Chairman of the Board of Directors – Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada

Steven Schlichtmann, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors – Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada

Retailer community:

Dino Fragaglia, President – Global Pet Foods, Canada-wide

Lisa Nitkin, Owner – Pets West, Victoria, BC

Richard Maltsbarger, President & CEO – Pet Valu, Bosley’s by Pet Valu, Tisol, Total Pet and Paulmac’s, Canada-wide, Canada-wide

Rob Smith, Vice-President Merchandising and Pricing – PetSmart Canada, Canada-wide

Sara Côté, CEO – L’Animatout – La Grande Ménagerie, Sherbrooke, QC

Martin Deschênes – J.E. Mondou Ltee, Quebec-wide

Sonya Daigle – Boutique Alim’aux-Poils, Saint-Basile-le-Grand, QC

André Boucher – Aquarium Drummond Inc., Drummondville, QC

Keith Burgess – Pet Paradise, Newmarket, ON

Eric Duchesne – Boutique d’animaux Chico, Lavaltrie, QC

Kiam Parent – Boutique d’animaux Chico, Mont Laurier, QC

Mia LeBaron – Animalerie Too Zoo, Montreal, QC

Christine Gratton – Animo Etc Vimont, Laval, QC

Luc des Rosiers – Animal Expert Jean-Talon, St-Léonard, QC

Michelle Hachey – Animalerie Chambly, Chambly, QC

Trish Hines – Petland, Kamloops, BC

Steve Splinter – Tracker’s Pet Supply, Athabasca, AB

Martine Farley – Centre Canin Vallée du Richelieu, St-Basile-le-Grand, QC

Daniel Nantel – Animalerie L’ami Idéal, Mont-Tremblant, QC

Diane Dussault – La Niche & Moi, Gatineau, QC

Beth Burnley – Camlachie Feed, Camlachie, ON

Marie Morin – Boutique d’animaux Chico, Notre-Dame-des-Prairies, QC

Jennifer Giesbrecht – Paws Pet Pad, Leduc, AB

Kelvin Stanke – Critter Jungle (Orleans and Carling), Ottawa, ON

Christina De Medeiros – Creatures Pet Store, Victoria, BC

Vivian Fugère – Boutique d’animaux Chico, Boisbriand, QC

Jenn Newark – Pet Grocer, Alliston, ON

Geneviève Boucher – Boutique d’animaux Cartier, Sorel-Tracy, QC

Patrick Leblanc – Boutique d’animaux Chico, Repentigny, QC

Dennis Epp – Northern Exotics, Sudbury, ON

Angele Vandoorne – Magazoo, Montreal, QC

Bryan Peake – Petsmart, Winnipeg, MB

Drew Brown – Dexter’s Your Local Pet Shop, Calgary, AB

Antoine Létourneau – Létourno, Québec, QC

Manon Boivin – Boutique Moulée Santé, Mascouche, QC

Randy Wiebe, Petland, Calgary, AB

Carole Boucher – Boutique d’animaux Drummond, Drummondville, QC

Marie Nardella – Love, Licks and Wags by the Lake, Etobicoke, ON

Maxime Larochelle – Boutique d’animaux Chico, Laval, QC

Desirée Pat – Lake Country Pet The Bug Guys, Lake Country, BC

Isabelle Charron – Gourmet Animal Inc., St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC

Barb Spears – Farm to Paw Holdings Inc., Acton, ON

Brad & Kim Rodzinyak – Tail Blazers Ranchlands, Calgary, AB

Lucy Romanoff – Aquanimo, Longueuil, QC

Elif Yigit – Pet’s Friend Inc., Newmarket, ON

Colin Scales – Blue Ribbon Pet Supply, Charlottetown, PE

Shawn Bennett – Happy Tails Pet Resort, Winnipeg, MB

Mark Reynolds – Ruffin’s Pet Centre Inc, Dunnville, ON

Patrick Allard – Boutique d’animaux Chico, St-Jérôme, QC

Andrew Small – North of 49 Naturals, Delta, BC

Nicole Filiatrault – Superanimalerie, Les Coteaux, QC

Charles Ng – Bark & Meow Pet Supplies, Toronto, ON

Stephen Larochelle – Boutique d’animaux Chico, Ste-Marthe-sur-le-lac, QC

Carol Hughes – Pet Corral Inc., Saint John, NB

Lauren Egier – Domestic Carnivore, Ancaster, ON

Frédéric – Boutique d’animaux Chico, Beauharnois, QC

Kris Koop – Blue Barn Pet & Hobby Farm, Castlegar, BC

Tyler Lisk – AlphaPets, Paris, ON

Marion Church – The Top Dog Store, Calgary, AB

Sophie Provost – Distribution Brownville et Cie Inc., Sainte-Clotilde-de-Châteauguay, QC

Olivier Bérubé – La Jungle de Compagnie, Saint-Pamphile, QC

Florie Ainsley – Boutique d’animaux Chico, Trois-Rivières, QC

Anastasia Radke – Petland, Cold Lake, BC

Jo-Ann Cooper – Borealis Kennels & Pet Specialty, Yellowknife, NWT

Marc Dubé – Animalerie St-Hyacinthe, St-Hyacinthe, QC

Lisa Badach – AJ’s Pets & Things, Vernon, BC

Laura Leah English – Pet Planet Health, Canada-wide

Pierre Gadbois – Le Gastronome Animal

Nikki Smithinsky – Indigo Petz

Isabelle Hardy – Nutrition Animale, Levis, QC

Line Tremblay, Animalerie Jonas, Chicoutimi, QC