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Undercover Boss Canada, episode 10: the boss cries, the employees cry and we cry (it was sad, okay?)

Undercover Boss Canada Episode 10

After nine episodes, we’ve got the Undercover Boss Canada formula down: first there’s the awkward boardroom announcement, and then there’s a weirdly unfashionable makeover, employees with hearts of gold, random physical tasks, and lastly, gifts (and sometimes the gifts aren’t great). The final episode of the first season, featuring FedEx Canada president Lisa Lisson, follows that pattern, but to the extreme: Lisson’s fellow execs look absolutely flabbergasted at her plan to slum it; the employees she works with would made Mother Teresa look selfish; and the gifts are the most lavish to date. (Sorry Ellis Jacobs, but you’ve been bested.)

Pre-makeover, Lisson is one of the most glam bosses to work with, so her transformation, with long brown extensions and glasses, is all the more striking. (Though, apparently, Lisson isn’t a fan—before she even packs or does her last video diary, she puts on her makeup). Newly shaggy, she meets Diana, a terrifyingly efficient (and also just terrifying) processing centre manager, who isn’t impressed with Lisson as an employee. To be fair, Lisson loses her pen and then tries to hide, which is pretty pathetic.

Thank goodness couriers Kathy, Rob and Mark are a little more understanding of Lisson’s inability to work a power pad and fear of driving a truck. Lisson bonds with each of them as they share their sad stories of losing family members and dealing with disease, and she talks about losing her husband. We were doing some sniffing and eye wiping throughout the episode, but let loose with full-fledged sobs as Lisson gave her lovely employees trips to New York, the British Virgin Islands and Paris, and made a $25,000 donation to a Vancouver-area drug treatment facility. It was enough to make us believe that not all execs are selfish fat cats—and it certainly made us want Undercover Boss Canada to come back for a second season.

Wherein we note where the CEOs embrace life as a plebe (everyday heroes, represented by Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope), and where they out themselves as fat-cat fakes (everyday zeroes, represented by Ricky Gervais’s David Brent)

EVERYDAY HERE She concocts a really detailed backstory for her undercover persona, complete with a psychological explanation of why she’s looking for work: she wants to “regain her own identity.”

EVERYDAY ZEROShe wears long fake nails for the entire week, which is really impractical and kind of gross.

EVERYDAY ZEROMark gave her a Wilson ball and she didn’t seem to know what it was. Come on, there’s one movie about FedEx, and you haven’t seen it?

EVERYDAY HEREShe gamely tries to pretend that eating lunch standing up in an employees’ kitchen is natural and not something the producers have made her do.

EVERYDAY HEREShe rates herself a three out of 10 as a courier, which is probably about right. Efficient, no. Honest, yes.


Genuine. When Mark talked about his battles with cancer, Lisa started to weep—and so did we (again).


Fired. It would only be a matter of time before she crashed one of those trucks.

  • Fred Ex

    Interesting show, I give Lisa credit, but it does show how out of touch she is with the actual job. Great example is the manual way bill problem. If you don’t know that this is one of couriers biggest complaints, then clearly you don’t review the feedback from your employees. We have been complaining about them for years. At the end of the day Fed Ex has a bigger problem of regaining business lost to UPS, who charge half of what Fed Ex does. Fed Ex is a good company but as Ive seen with diminishing hours, UPS seems to be what people a choosing to go with. And after all I have seen at Fed Ex, i can’t really blame them.

  • Zach Swan

    Can’t stand this show. It is such a contrived and pathetic effort to buy positive PR that it makes me ill. And 9 times out of ten, the insights that these leaders seem to generate from rolling up their sleeves and working with the descamisados are so weak they can only bring discredit upon the senior leadership of these companies (what did Stintz discover that is going to make the TTC any better? And I can’t help thinking that flying chosen employees off on vacations to Australia or funding their educations, etc. while everyone else has to pick up the slack must leave their co-workers feeling that they got doubly screwed in the deal. Time for this show to go. Definitely does NOT deserve another season.

  • Teena

    She looked sooooo much better without make-up … her eyelashes with mascara looked weird.

  • Terry

    I have to agree with the review here…even though this show has a formula, I was totally moved to tears depsite that fact. Maybe I’m a sucker, but the boss of this company clearly has a heart and it shows. Next time I post a package, I’ll look at the workers in a different way.

  • Jan

    I cant see the episode as I dont live in Canada, but what a stupid comment about eyelashes. Just the usual jealousy. Lisa Lisson is one of the most wonderful young women I know. She cares about her job her family , the people who work for her and her friends. I have known her most of her life and Ive seen how she has dealt with the heartaches life has thrown at her and the amazing way that she has coped with them. I also use Fedex ALL the time!!!!

  • Anna

    Lisa you did a very good job, you are one of the most wonderful women I know. She cares about her family her job and the people who work for her. I watched the uncover Boss Canada show, and it brought tears.You did a good job and your employees are lucky to have you as president of fedex. June 07, 2012

  • Val U.K

    Just finished watching this episode and i cant tell you how amaazing i think all of these people are. There stories and their resolve and attitude to life and to other people.I found myself in floods of tears, first for them and then for me, because i realised how much less of a human being i practice to be in my life, compared. If everyone on the planet had this attitude the world would be a far better place. I for one will work to be a better person because of watching this. Well done to Fed Ex with workers like those you are definately the Number One Company . Canada you must be such a wonderfull place its people should be used to inspire the world, FANTASTIC !! Thank you for today ..July 7th 2012

  • Jack

    No doubt those four employees on the programme were/ are inspirational.

    Having watched the UK series, there is a contrast between the Canadian series and the UK one. Too much time was spent on the people at the company, rather than the business itself and it’s problems.

    This is what the UK did more of and I wish this programme did this too. Scanning and the number of deliveries every day are problems present in all courier companies but this programme didn’t delve in as much as I would have hoped.

    More CEOs need to do this sort of thing, granted it may not be undercover but not to know issues, such as scanning, which take place millions of times a day. are ridiculous. That silly woman in the executive boardroom who shrieked when Lisa mentioned she was going undercover needs to take a look at herself…out of touch.