Medavie Health Services Messenger

Our belief is in a better life for the communities we serve.

Emancipation Day is August 1

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August 1 is Emancipation Day in Canada ― a time to celebrate the strength and perseverance of Canada’s Black community. 

Emancipation Day commemorates the Abolition of Slavery Act of 1833, which became law on August 1, 1834.  This Act freed more than 800,000 people of African descent throughout the British Empire. In the following years, Canada would become a haven for slaves fleeing from the United States.

On March 24, 2021, the House of Commons voted unanimously to officially designate August 1 – Emancipation Day. This day allows us, as a society, to reflect and acknowledge our shared history of the enslavement of Black people in Canada.

Emancipation Day is an important expression of identity for the Black community and a reminder of the continuing struggle faced by Black people towards a more inclusive and diverse society.

Canadians are not always aware that Black and Indigenous people were once enslaved on the land that is now Canada. Those who fought enslavement were pivotal in shaping our society to be as diverse as it is today. The Black communities have been a part of shaping Canada’s heritage and identity for over 400 years. Yet, people of African descent are largely absent from Canadian history books.  There is little mention or recognition of the many sacrifices Black Canadian soldiers made in wartime, dating as far back as the War of 1812.

As we continue to build a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture at Medavie ― and as we live our values of being caring and community-minded ― we encourage you to learn more about the history and legacy of Black Canadians.  

Explore the stories, experiences, and accomplishments of Canada’s black community:

Emancipation Day Canada

Black History Organizations an Educational Resources

Noteworthy Black Canadian Historical Figures

Visit the Toronto Caribana Festival between July 28th – August 1st, this is the biggest street festival in North America that celebrates black culture and tradition.

EHS Operations teams up with Friends United to showcase Indigenous artists

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A partnership between EHS Operations and Friends United will see Indigenous artwork showcased at select paramedic stations across Nova Scotia.

The first two pieces of artwork were unveiled at the Eastern Regional office /paramedic station in Sydney on June 21 – National Indigenous Peoples Day.

Over the course of the partnership, Friends United, based out of Cleveland in Richmond County, will donate up to 60 pieces of artwork beginning with paintings from Mi’kmaw artists Loretta Gould and Amanda Julian for the Sydney station.

“We are incredibly grateful for the generous donation of Indigenous art by Friends United,” said Elden MacDonald, EHS Operations regional manager for the Eastern region, which includes Cape Breton. 

“We trust the addition of this art to select stations throughout the province will help strengthen our connection with the Indigenous communities we serve while simultaneously contributing to a more inclusive workspace.”

Rolf Bouman, founder of Friends United, and his son, Lucas, who is an EHS Operations paramedic, both see the partnership as benefiting Indigenous artists and paramedics.

“One important goal of the Friends United Initiative is to give back to the community. It seemed clear that a simple way of doing this was to help the healthcare professionals who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe,” Rolf said.

“Speaking with the artists that are involved with the Friends United initiative, they are proud and happy to see their artwork at EHS facilities. It allows the important stories and messages of Indigenous people to be told and better understood,” Lucas added.

The Friends United initiative provides talented and emerging Indigenous artists, who might not have experienced the degree of recognition and exposure which they deserve, with business skills, support and encouragement needed to become independent, self-sufficient entrepreneurs who can better provide for their families.

The goal is to eliminate misconceptions and prejudice, and promote equality, peace and mutual respect among all peoples, cultures, genders and races by sharing the spiritual, deeply moving and meaningful stories of First Nations artists as told in their beautiful works. You can learn more at: https://www.friends-united.ca/

Upcoming DEI Webinars for July

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Through our partnership with the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) to develop our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategy, all Medavie employees have access to a variety of engaging webinars that cover DEI topics.

Below are the upcoming webinars that are available for July: 

  • Workforce planning through a DEI lens
    July 12, 2022, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET / 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. AT
    This webinar answers the question – How to assess and address workforce planning using an DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) lens? Join us to learn more about how you can fully utilize the diversity of your staff and plan for the future of your workforce to reflect the growing diversity of our communities.
  • How workplaces can respond to tragic news and events
    July 26, 2022, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET / 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. AT
    When tragic news and events occur in society, organizations are expected to respond quickly in a way that reflects their values, provide support and demonstrate compassion for employees affected by the event. CCDI hosted a roundtable of industry leaders to share their perspectives and challenges in responding to social events. This webinar will highlight some of the key learnings from the roundtable.

HOW TO REGISTER

To register for a webinar for free, follow these easy steps:

  • Click the link for the webinar that you would like to attend.
  • Fill out the required information.
  • Write in Medavie as the organization
  • Select Employee Partner
  • Done! Enjoy the webinar.

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.