Medavie Health Services Messenger

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Stories of Pride & Progress

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Disclaimer – Some of the content may be triggering and/ or sensitive as some topics include discrimination and harassment

I want to share my brother’s journey as part of the LGBTQ2S+ community. He would be fine with me telling his story as it has been very public for many years. First, I would like to say that I am very proud of him and all he has accomplished. It is an honour to be his sister.  

He was with his employer for many years, when my brother was diagnosed with HIV and identified as LGBTQ, they treated him as a risk and made him do things that were inhuman and unthinkable. In the end, he was wrongfully dismissed, with no pension or compensation stating, “not fit to work.” At this time, he secured a position as a manager in a retail store proving that he was still able to do a job. 

Moving forward, his previous employer was taken to court citing human rights violations for his inhumane treatment and wrongful dismissal. My brother was brave enough to be very public with very private parts of his life and as a family, we’re proud to support him. Human rights lawyers came in from other countries to view the case and after a few years, he won his case. 

He did not get much compensation after paying the lawyer’s fees, etc. But it was not about the money but more about setting a precedent for others in his situation, as the LGBTQ2S+ communities were treated very poorly in those days. The transcripts from the case are now in the human rights museum. It took only one person to stand up to a large establishment and win rights for many going forward. 

He has been an advocate for those that did not have any one to stand by them, especially when in the hospital and disowned by family members. My brother would be a source of support and sit with them so they were not alone in a great time of need.  He was told that he would not live past 40, I am glad to say he will be 60 years old in August this year. 

We celebrate every year being with him as he is an example of someone that is proud of who he is and lives life to the fullest. He has taught us all to treat everyone without bias and with kindness.

Submitted by Selina Farrell

Medavie Celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day

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Every June 21, we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day by recognizing the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. National Indigenous Peoples Day coincides with the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, and a day that holds significance for many Indigenous peoples and communities.

Many take the day to raise awareness and appreciation of the contributions Canada’s Indigenous peoples have made to our nation’s social and economic fabric, whether through artistic expression or enterprise.

It’s also a time for solemn reflection on the tremendous losses and struggles Indigenous Peoples have faced and to honour their histories. 

Let’s stand in solidarity with our Indigenous colleagues and communities, by committing to educate ourselves about their languages, cultures and experiences to strive for a more inclusive society. 

Three Indigenous groups
  Indigenous peoples is a collective name for the original peoples of North America and their descendants. The Canadian Constitution recognizes First Nations, Inuit and Métis as Indigenous peoples, also known as Aboriginal peoples. Although these three groups share many similarities, they each have their own distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.

Here are some ways you can join the celebrations:

For information on First Nations, Inuit and Métis-led virtual activities, visit:

Indigenous Peoples Resilience Fund Partnership

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I’m pleased to provide an update on Medavie’s commitment to the Indigenous Peoples Resilience Fund (IPRF). This partnership is among our efforts to help Canadian communities recover from the pandemic by supporting necessary transformations in society and finding new and innovative ways to provide essential services.

The IPRF is a new Indigenous-led charity with a mission of building Indigenous community resilience while continuing to address urgent community needs in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It demonstrates a new approach to philanthropy by trusting Indigenous-led organizations and communities to determine and deliver what they need most, rather than prescribing specific programs or frameworks. By taking this approach, Indigenous communities can be more flexible, adaptable, and nimble in meeting the needs of their residents.

Medavie, through the Medavie Foundation, committed to a three-year partnership with the IPRF that includes the transfer of $500,000 from its COVID-19 Response Fund. The commitment contributes to the IPRF in building an enduring Indigenous-led organization and helps ensure a sustainable philanthropic community fund to benefit Indigenous peoples. Medavie Foundation is also contributing $75,000 a year to the IPRF’s community project funding. We are working alongside the IPRF and learning from it and its network of partners on how best to support Indigenous resilience and sovereignty in our own funding efforts. It is another step in our collective journey toward Canadian truth and reconciliation.

You are welcome to read more about the IPRF and our partnership in their recent 2021-2022 Annual Report, available online here (PDF format, available in English).

We are sharing this update in advance of National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, an opportunity to learn about the work of the IPRF, its council and partners. Visit communityfoundations.ca for more information.

Joanne Kviring

Director, Social Responsibility

Executive Director, Medavie Health Foundation

Stories of Pride & Progress

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I would describe myself as a unique person, who has always felt a little different from my friends.  I never felt that I truly fit society’s definition of what or who I should be.  For years, I suppressed my feelings and emotions because I thought they were wrong, or I would not be accepted.  To society, I have always presented as a straight female, but that is not who I am, and in 2021-2022 I began my journey of self discovery and self love. 

I began reading more and involving myself in LGBTQ2S+ culture and spaces.  This journey led me to my true gender and sexuality.  I have only ever been in cis-hetero relationships, and I am married to a male presenting person.  I often thought that my feelings about other people were invalid because of this, and I learned that is far from the truth.  Whatever you feel and identify as, is valid. 

Experiences do not make the person; YOU make the person. 

In 2021, I came out to a few people as pansexual, and it felt amazing!  Not that anything about me had changed, but it felt great to have a word to describe me.   

Growing up I never identified 100% as my presenting gender and joked that I was a tomboy. I felt validated when people would think I’m strong or liked more masculine things.  Along this journey of self discovery, my spouse and I had many conversations about ourselves and how we have always felt a disconnect to our assigned genders.  We do not live with the “traditional gender norm roles” and we think differently than some people.  We discovered a word that describes exactly how we’ve always felt, demi-gendered.   For me specifically demi-girl and for them demi-boy. 

It feels great to have words that describe how we feel.  Not that a label makes the person, but when you have felt left out, it is nice to feel supported and accepted into a community and family!

 Submitted by Anonymous

Pride and Progress Video – Wear Your Pride Colours Proudly!

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As we continue our Pride celebrations, we are excited to share with you our special Pride video. This video is centered on our Pride Month theme “Celebrating Pride and Progress – Take Pride in Being You”.

It highlights our celebration of self-affirmation, love, diversity, dignity, equality and acceptance of our LGBTQ2S+ colleagues and communities.

Please enjoy.

It’s Pride Month!

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As you know, June marks Pride Month, a time to celebrate the incredible progress the LGBTQ2S+ community has made in pursuit of dignity, equality and acceptance. 

We are continually working to foster a diverse and inclusive culture at Medavie, one that is true to our values and respects and celebrates our differences. As part of our efforts, we are committed to helping bring about the change that is needed to ensure LGBTQ2S+ Canadians can live their healthiest and most authentic lives. 

We’ll be celebrating Pride Month throughout June with activities centered around this year’s theme “Celebrating Pride and Progress – Take Pride in Being You”. 

Here are a few ways we’re showing off our Pride:

  • We’ll be sharing weekly articles on here throughout the month of June. 
  • We’ve added a new Pride-inspired socks and a bandana to the Medavie Boutique in support of Rainbow Railroad Canada (Password: Medavie).
  • Listen and learn from your colleagues’ stories of Pride and Progress in the “Take Pride in Being You” video, to be featured in the MHS Live webinar later this month. 

Here’s how you can join in on the celebrations:

Special Pride Month webinar – Learn how inclusive language can help us become better allies during special webinars in French and English, featuring two of our colleagues from EHS and guests from GRIS Montreal. Stay tuned for the invite.

Wear Pride Colours Get decked out in the colours of the rainbow or sport your Medavie Boutique (Password: Medavie) Pride items throughout the month and be eligible to win a prize for “Best Dressed”. 

To enter to win a gift card from the Medavie Boutique, send us your photosWe will draw for the winner on June 30 – check back here for photos! 

Share on Social – We’re proudly letting our Facebook friends, Twitter and LinkedIn followers know that Medavie cares for ALL Canadians. You can do the same by retweeting, liking, and sharing our social posts.

Visit Medavie.ca – Click here to read our latest blog titled Celebrating Pride and Progress at Medavie. 

Learning Resources – For more information and resources on LGBTQ2S+, we recommend Before Stonewall and our inclusive language terminology. Visit our DEI centre for more.

Colour your World – Update your email signature.

There are two options: Copy/paste or insert as an attachment.

Copy/Paste:

  • Right-click on the banner and select Copy
  • In Outlook, click on New Message, then choose Signature
  • Select your current signature, then put your cursor at the bottom below all the current text
  • Right-click and select Paste
  • Click Ok to save your email signature

Insert as an attachment:

  • Save the banner in your files where it is easy to find
  • In Outlook, click on New Message, then choose Signature
  • Select your current signature, then put your mouse at the bottom below all the current text
  • Select the Browse button under the Edit Signature section. It should look like this:
  • Go to where you saved the banner in your files, select the file and click Insert
  • Click Ok to save your email signature

Let’s all celebrate Pride Month by learning how to support our LGBTQ2S+ colleagues and working together toward a more inclusive workplace. 

Happy Pride Month! #Pride2022 #MedaviePride

Recognizing National AccessAbility Week at Medavie

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Every year, starting on the last Sunday in May, Canadians celebrate National AccessAbility week – a  week that aims to raise awareness and understanding of visible and invisible disabilities, and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of people with disabilities.  Founded in 1988, National AccessAbility week was inspired by Paralympian, Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion world tour; a journey around the world to prove the potential of people living with disabilities and raise awareness for accessibility.

One in five Canadians live with a disability, this week is a reminder of the discrimination and restrictions many disabled people still face, and the importance of creating an inclusive and accessible environment for them.

 At Medavie, we are committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and accessible environment where we make the most of the exceptional talents that all our employees bring to our organization.  We want our employees living with visible and invisible disabilities to feel seen, heard and valued for who they are and what they contribute, and to be able to use their full potential without barriers.

As a health services company, we are committed in providing accessible services and support to our colleagues, members and to all Canadians. We recognize the importance of continuing our journey and creating an equal, accessible and inclusive world for people living with a disability – both within our organization and across the communities where we live and work. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it allows us to attract and retain more talent and enables us to be both a force of good and a force for growth.

This week, as we celebrate the contributions of Canadians livings with disabilities, we encourage our colleagues to be advocates for the change we want for a truly inclusive society. National AccessAbility week is a great opportunity to understand the difficulties people with disabilities face, and to learn that with accessible buildings, software, attitudes and behaviours, everyone has an equitable platform to demonstrate the skills and talents they offer.

If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to email our confidential inbox: DEI@medavie.ca.

A Paramedic Services Week video from Erik Sande

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Over the past few weeks, Medavie Health Services has been honoured to add its voice to the gratitude shown to many of our professions at this time of year. This includes well-deserved recognition during National Nursing Week, National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, Administrative Professionals Day and, between May 22-28, Paramedic Services Week.

In the following video, Erik Sande, President of Medavie Health Services, shares a personal message of thanks to everyone who has been helping to keep our patients, communities and each other safe. From our administrative staff to our frontline employees, everyone has stepped up to answer the call – thank you!

Matt Crossman VP of Operations, MHS on Radio EMS

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In a recent interview with Radio EMS, Matt Crossman VP of Operations, MHS discussed the role of paramedicine within the health care system and the value of mobile integrated health to ensure care is delivered to people when and where they need it.

To learn more, click here to listen to the interview. (English only).

Answering the Call to Nursing at Medavie

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When Janice Allain left a traditional career in nursing to become a Special Authorization Unit (SAU) nurse with Medavie, she never could have imagined how the course of her life would change. “Because I was not doing night shift and working weekends, I was able to join the Running Room 15 years ago and ended up doing over 30 half marathons and three full marathons. Medavie changed my life.”

Her colleague Gabrielle is an avid birdwatcher. “If you see me walking around looking at the sky and trees, I am looking for bird species. A couple of years ago, I actually planned a trip to Newfoundland so I could see numerous puffins.”

Gabrielle, then and now

Birding and Running

Both Janice and Gabrielle credit joining Medavie to discovering their passions for running and birding, while allowing them to continue their calling of caring for others.

As SAU nurses who support Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) clients (and previously Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) clients) through a contract Medavie has with the federal department to administer its health benefits program*, Janice and Gabrielle assess and make decisions on requests for special authorized medications, medical equipment and supplies, urgent surgeries, chemotherapy and various multidisciplinary treatments such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

“I love to work with different providers being either pharmacist, doctors, Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses and other health professionals to help IRCC clients meet their health needs,” says Gabrielle.

“We Answer the Call” is the theme of National Nursing Week, May 9-15, 2022, an annual even to recognize the diverse roles and many contributions nurses make to the wellbeing of Canadians ― the mission of Medavie.

Making a Difference

“I love that my career at Medavie still allows me to help others and I feel I make a difference in health needs of IRCC clients,” says Gabrielle.

Janice agrees. “I’m still helping someone even if I’m not doing bedside nursing. The knowledge I acquired through the years comes into great use everyday when I need to assess a claim based on the medical information provided.”

Janice draws from an extensive background in nursing for her role that includes work on the geriatric floor, the emergency room, with New Brunswick’s Extra-Mural Program (EMP), and as a paramedic with Ambulance New Brunswick (ANB).**

Gabrielle was as a labour delivery nurse for most of her hospital career before working briefly in oncology. After a few months, she returned to her “favourite department” because she “missed the mothers and babies too much.”

Returning to School

Janice’s proudest achievement is studying for her nursing degree as a mature student when her young children started school. “I even had to go back to school for one year and do some grade 12 courses as a prerequisite to enter the nursing program.”

However, it was “missing out on family events and sports outings with her children” that led to her career change. “After years of doing night shift and weekends, I felt I needed a greater work-life balance,” Janice recalls. “I had friends that worked at Medavie who encouraged me to apply and here I am almost 20 years later.”

Gabrielle shares a similar story. “After 14 years working in the traditional hospital setting, I knew that I needed a change. My family circumstances were starting to get harder for me to do night shifts. My son was young and my husband’s work often brought him out of province for many days of the week. I spoke with an old co-worker who was working as a SAU nurse at Medavie and loved it. I decided to apply and 13 years later I am still here and still enjoying my job. It provides a work/life balance that I could not get in the hospital setting.”

Janice A Then And Now
Janice, then and now

“What I cherish the most about my nursing career is that even though I started working in a hospital setting and later transitioned to a non-traditional setting, I still get to use my medical knowledge, my compassion for others and work with a wonderful team.”

Janice believes the ability to work under pressure, multitask and still provide quality care, makes ideal candidates for the “many” career opportunities that Medavie offers to health professionals.

Janice and Gabrielle are among the Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses (RNs and LPNs) and former nurses we employ throughout our organization — in our offices, air and ground ambulances and communication centres — applying their skills and training to ensure the Canadians we serve receive timely access to quality care.

Nursing is a Calling

Every day, they demonstrate that nursing is more than a profession — it is a calling. Whether it be answering 811/911 calls, assessing travel and health benefit claims, delivering care to patients’ homes, managing disability claims, or contributing to development of our health and drug benefit solutions with clinical knowledge and expert advice, these health professionals put the heart into health care.

National Nursing Week gives us a welcome opportunity to thank the nurses at Medavie for their expertise, professionalism and dedication to keeping people healthy. Join us in celebrating this occasion by using use #CNA2022 #WeAnswerTheCall #IKnowANurse #NationalNursingWeek #IND2022 #Nurses2022 #VoiceToLead in your social posts. Share stories of exceptional nurses you know like Gabrielle and Janice, using #IKnowANurse, because everyone knows a nurse who has left a lasting impression!

To read the full article, visit Medavie.ca.