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).
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.”
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.”
“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!
How we’re helping to improve the mental wellbeing of Canadians
At a time when there’s more awareness than ever of Canadians’ struggles with mental heath, bridges are being built to provide better, faster access to care.
To mark CMHA Mental Health Week from May 2-8, we’re sharing some of the innovative ways those bridges are being put in place to help improve the mental wellbeing of Canadians ― online, in person and on wheels.
Even before the pandemic, two in three Canadians with mental health concerns weren’t getting the expert help they needed because of barriers like lengthy wait times, geographic location and stigma. Mental health has always been a top priority for Medavie, and more so over the last few years.
Through comprehensive benefit packages, mobile integrated health, community paramedicine programs, home health services and more, we’re working to dismantle those barriers to care by bringing it to Canadians in their homes and in their communities.
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 May:
Keeping the conversation going: Anti-Asian racism in Canada May 10, 2022, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET / 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. AT Anti-Asian racism can seem obscure to many people, or an after-thought in the scheme of other forms of racial discrimination. During Asian Heritage Month, join us for this interactive panel where Asian leaders gather to share insights on the progress of Canada’s readiness to denounce and address anti-Asian racism.
A current portrait of Canada’s diverse LGBTQ2S+ communities May 19, 2022, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET / 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. AT This webinar will dive into the diverse Canadian LGBTQ2S+ community. Focusing on demographic data, continued issues faced by the community including acceptance, mental health, income level, well-being and hate crimes.
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.
Ben Arppe and Kristi Rajala are Rehabilitation Consultants, based in our Toronto office, who bring our core values of caring and community-minded to life through their work and volunteerism. Ben provides life-changing, mentoring experiences as a Big Brother while Kristi leads a nationally recognized charity that rescues and rehabilitates abandoned and injured animals.
Natasha Dooks is a Provider Coordinator with the MSI Team in our Dartmouth office who helps grant wishes to children with critical illnesses, while Sherri Leger, an HR Business Partner in Moncton, helps feed local school children.
Shaun MacLaughlin, an Advanced Care Paramedic with the EHS Emergency Preparedness & Special Operations team in Nova Scotia, fills his ambulance with toys every December to gift to children in need. His western colleague Angela Sereda, Manager of Mobile Integrated Health at MHS West – Moose Jaw, provides support to people dealing with mental health illness and substance abuse disorders.
National Volunteer Week Tribute
In celebration of National Volunteer Week, April 24-30, we are recognizing our team of 7,200 professionals for bringing health and heart to the communities where they live and work.
Shaun and Angela exemplify Medavie’s proud and strong culture of caring. In 2021, both received their community’s highest honour for outstanding service. Shaun was named Volunteer of the Year by the town of Westville in Nova Scotia, while Angela received the Moose Jaw Citizen of the Year award.
Fire & Rescue
Shaun has been volunteering for so long that it’s almost become second nature for him. Despite his busy work schedule, MacLaughlin has not missed a volunteer shift in the 15 years he’s served as a medical first responder (MFR) with Westville Fire & Rescue, helping organize many community events, from Canada Day celebrations to fundraising BBQs.
“I enjoy being in the emergency services and we’re in an area where there’s no full-time fire departments around here, so the world revolves around volunteers.” – Shaun MacLaughlin
A three-time finalist for the Kubota Community Hero, Angela is leader of the Tru-Unity Girls Leadership Group for girls to adapt to the pandemic and co-creator of her city’s community paramedicine program for people struggling with mental health and addiction issues.
Big Brothers, Big Sisters
Ben will “always cherish the memories” of his time as a kid with his Big Brother Steve. Today, he’s paying that special friendship forward by being a Big Brother himself.
“This wonderful charity works so hard to make sure that every boy and girl looking for a role model and someone to help expand their horizons is given a chance.”–Ben Arppe
For the past four years, Ben has been that role model to little brother David. “I have seen the affect they have had in myself, my little brother and many others who I have volunteered with in the past,” says Ben. “They are an amazing part of any community and deserve our support!”
Good Will Good Karma
Kristi and her children Will and Jada are the driving force behind Good Will Good Karma, a non-profit focused on youth volunteerism and acts of kindness. Since its inception, they have raised $200,000 in supplies and donations for local animal rescues and led multiple rescue missions to remote communities in Manitoba and Ontario.
Kristi describes herself as “MOMager” to her kids who won the city of Missasagua’s COVID Hero Awards for their contributions to animal welfare. They‘ve also been recognized for their generosity on national television. “Every single day we are tending to at least one rescue emergency,” says Kristi. “It is so heart wrenching and yet rewarding in the same breath.”
Kristi was able to use a $500 donation she received through our Time Equals Money program to rescue Mater, a six-week-old pup with a “paw trauma.”
Time Equals Money
Time Equals Money is one of two community giving programs that support the causes that are closest to employees’ hearts with funding from Medavie Blue Cross. When an employee volunteers at least 50 hours in one calendar year, we make a $500 donation to their chosen charity.
“We are long past volunteering at this stage – we can’t count the hours we put in. But we can count the blessings – and that is the greatest reward ever!” – Kristi Rajala
Through a second program, Team Matching, Medavie Blue Cross matches funds raised by up to $3,000 per team when two or more employees participate in a health or wellness-related event. Among the recipients is the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada.
The non-profit is “very near and dear” to Natasha as when she was younger, it granted the wish of a best friend who later died at the age of 13.
Natasha honours her friend’s memory as team captain of the Medavie WishMakers, which helped raised over $75,000 in the past five years for the Foundation’s Nova Scotia Chapter.
“Wishes are powerful and I want to be a hero to these amazing kids!” – Natasha Dooks
This past March, Natasha was a member of the “puppy train” that helped get “wish puppy” Amber to her “wish child” Jonathan in Cleveland, Nova Scotia. She described it as a truly magical experience that helped solidify why she is so passionate about this organization.
As a member of the Canadian Association of Blue Cross Plans, Medavie also supports the Wish Foundation by providing comprehensive travel insurance coverage to children and their families when a travel wish is granted.
Blessings in a Backpack
When Sherri Leger heard about the charitable work Isthmus does, it brought tears to her eyes. She has been supporting the charity ever since. Isthmus is the only national non-profit to provide food on the weekends for Canadian children who might otherwise go hungry. In Moncton alone, over 600 school-aged children receive food to eat on weekends thanks to volunteers who create bags of food, fondly known as “blessings in a backpack”, and deliver them to the schools.
“While many school-aged children depend on school lunch/breakfast programs, what happens on the weekends? Hunger doesn’t take weekends off.” – Sherri Leger
The unmarked bags are discreetly placed into the child’s backpacks each Friday morning to take home for the weekend. A single donation of only $120 will feed one student on the weekends for one full school year.
Learn more about how the team at Medavie delivers on our mission to improve the wellbeing of Canadians by giving back to the communities we serve and investing for social impact through our employee-led programs, our Health Foundation and our Building Healthy Communities fund.
Each year in April and May, Medavie takes the time to recognize the invaluable contributions of our frontline employees during National Public Safety Telecommunications Week (April 10-16), National Nursing Week (May 9-15) and Paramedic Services Week (May 23-29). It’s an opportunity for us to thank everyone in each of these professions for the high level of care they provide to their patients and communities, and give others the opportunity to do the same.
We’ll be celebrating these weeks over the next couple months online and through social media, starting with a post on Medavie.ca that recognizes the role of our telecommunications staff. We hope you’ll take the time to read and share our messages of thanks to all our telecommunicators, nurses and paramedics and help us recognize the important role they play in improving the wellbeing of Canadians.
No two days are ever the same for those on the frontlines of healthcare. That axiom became even more evident during the pandemic, with the extra pressures of keeping everyone safe. That’s the underlying focus of the latest season of Paramedics: Emergency Response, which recently launched its sixth season recently on Citytv.
The popular television show takes viewers on calls with paramedics in MHS West’s Saskatoon division. While filming during the pandemic had been challenging, it gave paramedics the chance to show their day-to-day reality during Covid, including candid interviews to discuss how they’ve been coping with the added stresses.
The new season debuted in late March on Citytv, airing nationally and online. You can learn more about the show and read interviews with the show’s director and Troy Davies, MHS West’s Director of Public Affairs, in an article that appears in the March 31st edition of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.
“Medavie has heart. A whole lot of it. For more than 75 years, the Medavie team of over 7,200 professionals across nine provinces has been united by a mission to improve the wellbeing of Canadians. More than simply a poster on the wall, that mission represents the purpose of the organization.”
So begins a full-page article in the Financial Post, recognizing Medavie for our Culture of Caring. The article was published March 31, 2022, the same day our organization was formally named one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures for excellence in culture and performance at a gala ceremony in Toronto.
During the awards presentation, a video was shown illustrating how caring ― one of our core values along with accountable, responsive innovative and community-minded ― drives our culture. It starts with our employees caring for themselves and each other so they can then care for Canadians and their communities.
The Most Admired Corporate award is a benchmark of success recognizes the “top organizations and CEOs that Canada has to offer.”
The Financial Post article features an interview with Medavie CEO Bernard Lord who explains how we kept employees connected, engaged and protected during the pandemic with increased mental health supports, the launch of a new wellbeing program, and regular communication and check-ins through webinars, town halls, pulse surveys and more.
The core principles that guided Medavie through the past two years, namely ensuring the mental and physical wellbeing of employees, while offering greater flexibility in where and when they work, is helping to share our organization’s workplace of the future.
“Our goal is for people to choose to work with Medavie and want to stay because we offer a career with a meaningful purpose in an exemplary, flexible environment. This kind of relationship also brings a better outcome for the people we serve. Simply put, a better employee experience provides a better customer or patient experience.” – Bernard Lord
The Canada’s Most Admired program honours best-in-class Canadian organizations for having cultures that enhance performance and sustain a competitive advantage. Medavie’s achievement was announced last November, the same month our Canada’s Top 100 Employerand Canada’s Life and Health Insurerawards were added to our trophy case.
“This award confirms we are doing the right thing for our organization’s greatest assets — our people. More significantly, it makes us even more committed to build on our culture where everyone feels included, respected and comfortable being their true selves, and are inspired to achieve their full potential.” – Bernard Lord
The program was founded by Waterstone Human Capital, one of Canada’s fastest-growing cultural talent management and retained executive search firms specializing in recruiting for fit and cultural assessment.
“At Waterstone we believe corporate culture drives performance and that it’s your organization’s greatest asset,” says Marty Parker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Waterstone Human Capital and Chair of the Canada’s Most Admired™ program. “Each of the 2021 award recipients puts culture at the centre of everything they do and demonstrates a commitment to culture as competitive advantage. They set an excellent example of how crafting and sustaining a high-performance culture can drive incredible growth and performance.”
Medavie is listed as an award winner in a full-page advertisement in the Financial Post and in a press release issued by Waterstone. The award will be formally presented at a spring gala in March 2022.
Medavie Blue Cross is in the Hall of Fame of Most Admired Cultures, having won the award consecutively in previous years.
More information about the awards program and the full list of winners can be found below.
International Transgender Day of Visibility is recognized on March 31 each year. The day is dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of the discrimination they face.
At Medavie, our mission is to improve the wellbeing of Canadians. To achieve this, we need to foster a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion where we live our values every day in the way we treat each other, our members, clients, patients, and the communities we serve.
With Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, we want to share a few resources on Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) that can help you become more inclusive in the workplace.
Explore the Canadian Centre of Diversity and Inclusion’s (CCDI) knowledge repository that all Medavie employees have access to.
It has various materials on DEI related topics, including articles such as:
Click here to login. If it’s your first time accessing, use your email to register.
Consider putting your pronouns in your email signature
If you are comfortable with sharing your pronouns, proactively adding them to your email signature can normalize the practice and make our workplace more inclusive for everyone. It’s a simple way to make it clear how you want to be referred to, while also signaling to others that you respect their gender identity and pronouns.
Did you know? You can reach out to our confidential email with any questions or feedback on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Medavie – DEI@medavie.ca
Meet Anick Oriol, Disability Case Consultant at Medavie Blue Cross. She is sharing her story here as part of our month-long International Women’s Day tribute to those who inspire us at Medavie.
Describe your role at Medavie? As a Disability Case Consultant, my role is to assess claimant disability claims by reviewing the medical information provided. My main goal is helping people have a healthy and successful return to work. To help me do that, Medavie provides me a wide set of tools to provide the financial support and the required treatment services to our claimants.
What is the most gratifying part of your role? Nothing beats a heartfelt thank you from a claimant who you helped get back on their feet.
Who is the female role model that inspires your achievements? Definitely my mother. She came to Canada at the age of 19. She worked hard, got an education, and rose through the ranks to eventually reach a manager level. She always told me that I can do whatever I put my mind to.
What qualities does it take to succeed? Determination. A strong sense of self-confidence and discipline. People often think they need motivation but it’s truly discipline that gets you to do the things you don’t always feel motivated to do.
What career advice would you give to younger women? Apply for that job! Don’t let other people’s opinion of your abilities taint your drive to reach your goals. If you don’t get the position, chances are, you left a great impression. If it’s not a win, it’s a lesson. Never give up.
How do you achieve a work-life balance? I always make sure to dedicate a certain block of time for a pleasant activity sometime during the week. If it’s already planned for, it’s harder to give yourself excuses not to take the time.
The global theme of IWD 2022 is “Break the Bias.” Have you encountered bias in your career? I have unfortunately encountered bias in my career before I was at Medavie. The client did not wish to speak with a woman. Fortunately, a manager at the time explained that nobody else had the qualifications and that he would have to deal with me or find another location that could assess his request.
Tell us one fun fact about you? I can’t listen to good music when I work, because I always end up having to get up and dance.