Canada's most authoritative and exciting grocery b2b publication
Industry NewsLoblaw expands "language pin" program across Canada

Loblaw expands “language pin” program across Canada

Staff at the Winnipeg, Man. store. Photo courtesy of Loblaw Companies.

A pilot program that began in a Winnipeg, Man. store in early April providing Loblaw store employees with language pins identifying the languages they speak in, has been expanded to stores across the country and will launch in even more stores in the coming months.

“We’ve launched this program in 119 of our Superstores to 3800 colleagues coast-to-coast and counting. Our colleagues are wearing pins that cover 54 languages including Arabic, Flemish, Japanese, Nlaka’pamux nation, Serbian, Ukrainian and more, with another 51 languages including American Sign Language, Syrian, Kannada, Ojibwe, in development,” says Jonathan Carroll, senior vice president of operations, who oversees Real Canadian Superstore, Real Atlantic Superstore, and Dominion banners.

“We’re proud of the fact that Canadians walk into a Real Canadian Superstore to shop for products all over the world and can now be assisted in over 100 different languages.”

Anne Fontaine, who piloted the program in her Winnipeg store, says she’s already seen a positive impact, noting one customer who seeks out a particular manager who’s from Cuba and helps her find things in the store. Similarly, two women from Ukraine regularly ask a Ukrainian-speaking colleague for help find the products they’re used to using back home, or the Canadian equivalents. Loblaw says the language pins have even come in handy during emergencies.  

“We had a colleague help a customer who had injured herself,” says Fontaine. “She translated everything for the ambulance drivers. So, the program is helping the customers overall; it’s been a great experience.” 

Fontaine adds the pins have also offered opportunities for bonding and team building.  

“Sometimes colleagues hadn’t even realized that they spoke the same language, so I found that the connections in the lunch room even got better with the language program, before it even affected my customers,” she says.  

Follow us:

Recent Issues

Related Articles