Waging War Against Influenza in BC

Before the end of the year, residents of British Columbia can look forward to better protection  measures against the common ailment – influenza.

Influenza in BC

Health authorities throughout BC (on the advice of Dr. Perry Kendall, BC’s Provincial Health Officer) have agreed to ramp up efforts to protect patients and seniors from influenza exposure for the coming flu season.

The implementation plan calls for any health care workers who come into contact with patients at publicly-funded health care facilities to get the influenza vaccine, or wear a mask during the flu season.

“Influenza causes more deaths annually than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined, and hospitalized patients are more vulnerable to complications from influenza than the general population,” said Dr. Kendall.

“This policy will protect patients. Putting in place consistent policies to prevent influenza from spreading is the right thing to do from a patient safety perspective.”

Influenza Measures

Kendall said health authorities in B.C. have been trying to get immunization numbers to go up “for years,” but said despite the encouragement, levels have decreased since 2010.

Even with a recent push towards vaccinations, healthcare workers had a dismal 40% vaccination rate last year.

“This decision has been made by all health authorities, acting upon the advice of the Provincial Health Officer, and ensures we are reducing the risk to our patients to the best of our ability,” said Dr. Nigel Murray, president and CEO, Fraser Health.

The influenza vaccine is extremely safe, and is the most effective way to prevent illness from the influenza virus, helping to prevent infection in healthy adults by up to 80 per cent.

Influenza in BC

  • Influenza causes the most deaths among vaccine-preventable diseases
  • In addition to being a quality and safety issue, improved influenza vaccination coverage helps to reduce rates of employee illness
  • Flu shots are traditionally available around Thanksgiving each year.
  • Flu season typically runs from late November/early December through to the end of March. 
  • Studies have demonstrated that health care workers who are ill with influenza frequently continue to work. 
  • B.C. will be the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement this province-wide policy. 
  • People who may be at increased risk include: seniors, people with chronic health conditions (especially heart or lung conditions), aboriginal people, or those with compromised immune systems

Every fall, we set up immunizations for the entire staff at Iridia. We recommend immunizations for all low-risk groups, as is it the most effective ways to protect against influenza.

Learn more:

A Sprinter’s Failure Teaches Us a Lesson about Professionalism

Professionalism is not an option. It is a must.


It was a long shot that a Canadian men’s relay team could medal against some of the powerhouse teams they were up against. But medal they did – well, almost.

Initially they came in third, qualifying for a bronze medal. Their names up in lights on the leaderboard as having won the bronze led them in celebration, hugs and kisses with family and friends, wrapping themselves in the Canadian flag and jumping around the track, proud of what they achieved. But the celebrations were fleeting, as minutes after having been declared winners, they saw that they had been disqualified from the race and that fourth-place Trinidad, would win the bronze.

For those who watched, the loss was palpable – from tears of joy, to tears of devastation in just a few moments. How could this have happened? For what seemed like an eternity, the team and the crowd waited for an explanation.

The replay was shown for the world to see, and it showed that Jared Connaughton, one of the sprinters in the relay, stepped on the line as he came around a corner. One step. That’s all it took for the team to be disqualified. Four years of working toward this moment, disqualified by a single step. It was heartbreaking.

Professionalism Mean Accepting Responsibility

It seemed like such a small infraction. One step? Minutes after the ruling came down, Connaughton was assaulted by media. It would have been easy to blame the judges or to complain about the harshness of the rule. Instead, he acknowledged his error as having cost his team a medal.

He told reporters that the rules were there for a reason, and that he broke the rule – no matter how small of an infraction – and that he had to accept responsibility for that. He apologized to his team. “I can live with it. I’m a man, and I can take it on the chin,” he told CBC News Saturday. “But for Justyn, Seyi, Gavin, not to have a bronze medal is the most disappointing thing of it all.”

canada men's relay

In one brief moment and when the eyes of the world were on him, Connaughton showed the world what he was made of. He handled himself with professionalism, grace and maturity – not an easy thing to do when facing the lowest moment in your career.

Some may argue that honesty isn’t too difficult when you’ve got video evidence of your mistake, but there are some who may have chosen the route of blaming the organization for rules that were too tough. Connaughton chose a different path.

Professionalism is doing your very best, representing your company (or your country in this case) well, and earning the respect of others for your hard work, integrity and excellence. Connaughton ran an exceptional race – he contributed to the team’s third place finish. But he made a mistake, and when he did, professionalism led him to account for it.

Professionalism is about more than looking good on the outside. It’s about more than just achieving excellence, although that’s an important part. Professionalism is also grace under fire, accountability when it’s difficult, and the ability to overcome obstacles and stay committed to your goal.

At Global, we value professionalism in our staff. Will they sometimes make mistakes? Of course. But we encourage a culture where they will be accountable. Jared Connaughton’s professionalism was demonstrated on a world stage, but we have the opportunity to demonstrate those same qualities every day. 

We’re proud of our team and the level of professionalism we see in them as they contribute to helping us achieve our goals.


Fastest Man in the World Teaches Us a Lesson about Social Responsibility

Social Responsibility is an important measure of success.

We believe that the bottom line is not the sole measure of company success. As a responsible player in the global marketplace, we are committed to running our business in a way that is socially responsible, environmentally sustainable, and economically profitable.

social responsibility

One of the most talked about athletes heading into the 2012 Games was a Jamaican sprinter by the name of Usain Bolt. Having broken on to the Olympic scene in 2008 in Beijing, Bolt shattered the world record in the 100m and won gold, leaving his competitors in the dust.

This year, all eyes were on him to see if he could do it again. Not only did Bolt defend his gold in the 100m, he also won gold in the 200m and the men’s 4×100 relay, breaking another world record; the first person in Olympic history to do so.

Social Responsibility – Giving Back

Olympic gold, especially in an area as popular and visible as athletics, often leads to endorsements and opportunities to earn significant money. It certainly did for Bolt, a charismatic and dynamic individual, who benefitted financially from his skill and his title as the fastest man in the world in the years following his Olympic win.

Bolt grew up in Trelawny, a small, poor town in Jamaica. He attended public schools that often didn’t have the things we would consider basic in an educational environment.

When fame and wealth came his way, one of the first things he did was to give back to the schools in his home town – from computers, structural improvements, sports equipment and teachers’ salaries, Bolt gave back to his elementary, middle and senior schools.

He has also provided financial support for the establishment of several health centres in Jamaica, and has supported environmental and other causes around the world.

Social Responsibility

Bolt set up a foundation for the continued funding of the causes that are important to him.

The Usain Bolt Foundation’s mission is “the creation of opportunities through education and cultural development for a positive change.” The foundation is “dedicated to the legacy for happy children; to enhance the character of children through educational and cultural development, as they live their dreams.”

Bolt’s commitment to social responsibility doesn’t end with simply providing financial support. His presence is seen and known in his home town, as he spreads his message of hope, encouraging kids to believe in and work toward their dreams.

Usain Bolt believes in being responsible with the fortune he has earned and giving back to a community that doesn’t have much.

Social Responsibility Value

Social responsibility is one of Iridia’s core values because we also believe that’s important. For this reason, we offer our employees paid days off to participate in volunteer activities, as well as contributing financially to worthy local, regional and international causes.

We may not all be as rich as a high-profile Olympic gold medal winner, but all of us can do our part. Whether it’s spending your time or your money, there will always be people who need what you have to give. The question is, are we willing to give it?

Social Responsibility

Many would look at Bolt’s career and say without argument, that he has achieved unparalleled success in his career – shattering records and leaving in his wake a trail of wins. And yet, he would say that success is measured by more than just his achievements on the track.

“I’m honored to be able to put my Olympic win to good use and spread awareness about the causes that are important to me,” says Bolt. “It’s a great feeling to know you have the ability to reach out to so many different people.”

All of us can reach out somewhere and make a difference in our sphere of influence. Those efforts are an important measure of our success.

Innovation Corner – Chrome Web Store

What’s the Innovation Corner?

Every month, the Iridia team gets together for a staff meeting. During the meeting, we discuss a variety of topics from our diverse organization. One object on the agenda is “The Innovation Corner”.

Chrome Web Store

Innovation is one of our eight core values at Iridia, values we strive to live every day. It’s one thing to say “innovation is a corporate value of ours,” but it’s another to live it.

We are always keeping our sharp eyes on the lookout; finding creative ways to fit the pieces together. In order to “fit pieces together,” we need to do things more efficiently and, if possible, with the use of new tools.

The Innovation Corner is a brief (5 min.) section of the agenda dedicated to the introduction of a story, a tool, a concept, or anything else that might spur on innovation within our team.  Anyone can lay claim to the Innovation Corner in upcoming meetings, and thereby use it to share an innovative find they have come across.

“This effort has already brought forward tools that have been put to immediate use in our business operations.  In seeing how these insights have made a difference for us, we’ve decided to take time out and share them with a broader audience.” – Iridia President

Chrome Web Store

chrome web store

This week Innovation Corner focused on The Chrome Web Store – an online marketplace where you can discover thousands of apps for the Google Chrome browser.

The Store works much like the app stores you are used to on your Smartphone, ie: Apple App Store & Google Play.

Through the Store, you can search through thousands of nifty programs that are built right into your web experience. These programs come in three flavours: apps, extensions and themes.


Web apps are advanced interactive websites. They may provide a wide-ranging set of features or focus on a single task like photo-editing or shopping.

Example: Do – the app that helps you manage your tasks.



Extensions let you add new features to your browser. For example: One extension automatically translates a web page into any language, another allows you to add  a contextual grammar and spell checker, correcting up to ten times more than regular proofreading software.

Example: Evernote Clearly


With one click, Clearly makes blog posts and articles clean and easy to read. Clearly eliminates all distractions from your online reading experience, and even allows you to browse multi-page articles in one, seamless view.


Themes allow you to you customize the look and feel of your browser, including themes from leading artists and designers around the world.

The Chrome Web Store can be a powerful business tool. I recommend everyone give it a try, you may just stumble on a tool you that will change your web experience.

Lifelong Learning From Ten Time Olympian

Learning is a lifelong process.

The word evolves rapidly, lifelong learning means what applied yesterday may no longer apply today. At Iridia, we understand that we must continually invest in ourselves through learning.

Lifelong Learning

Canadian show jumping world champion and Olympic silver medalist, Ian Millar, has been nicknamed “Captain Canada” for his longevity and accomplishments in his sport.

In 2012, he competed in his 10th Olympic games – holding the record for the most Olympic appearances. Other accomplishments include receiving the Order of Canada, and being inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. In addition to these prestigious awards, he has won dozens of national and international competitions and is considered one of Canada’s most accomplished athletes.

Millar was 25 years old in his first Olympics in 1972. His amazing 40 year career proves that age is not a factor in personal and professional growth.

Think about how the world has changed over the last 40 years. Think about how sport and competition has changed. Imagine what it takes to remain competitive year after year for that length of time. Millar is an example of someone who believes learning happens for a lifetime.

As he prepared for each Olympic games and many national and international competitions, he was committed to learning how to improve himself as a rider, and his champion horse. Not only did he continue learning for himself, but as his career progressed he became a mentor to the younger athletes coming into the sport. He is deeply respected and admired as an athlete and a person by his teammates, his competitors, the media, and the equestrian world.

Ian Miller

Perhaps most famous for his winning career with his horse, Big Ben, the pair became Canadian icons. The relationship between a rider and his horse is intense, intimate, and powerful. When Big Ben had to retire in 1994 after 12 years of partnering with Millar, it would have been easy for him to hang it all up.

Training another horse to competition level is a tremendous amount of work and would take learning of a different kind, for both horse and rider. But Millar didn’t give up. He rode several horses to competition wins before pairing up with his current young horse, Star Power, who he says will be at peak performance level in another four years.

Millar’s patience, commitment, and passion allowed him to continue to do what he loves, in spite of setbacks and challenges.

Lifelong Learning – Continued Growth

In today’s work world it’s unlikely any of us will be at the same job for 40 years. In fact, most of us will likely have more than one career. How are we committing to learning so that we can become more skilled and experienced in order to offer our best to our employers or employees?

Iridia lives out this value by offering employees a generous training allowance and paid days off each year for training. We want our employees to know we value their continual growth in their professional and personal lives.

lifelong learning

If strategic, continuous learning isn’t part of your career plan, perhaps it’s time to make it one. Whether it’s formal education, seminars, conferences, keeping up to date on your industry or business in general, reading great books – continued learning will make you a better business owner, CEO, manager, or employee.

On the other side of learning, could consider where you could take the skills and experience you have gained, and mentor someone who is new in their career, job or industry.

After the Equestrian event at the 2012 Games, the question on everyone’s minds for Ian Millar was whether he’d be riding at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. He’ll be 69 years old. “Well, if Star Power is willing and ready, so am I!” said Millar. Star Power is still young and has a lot to learn in the next four years. My guess is, so does Millar – someone who truly demonstrates that lifelong learning is a process.

Heat Stroke – The Darker Side of the Sun

What is Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia (abnormally raised body temperature) accompanied by changes in nervous system functions. Heat stroke should not be confused with heat cramps or heat exhaustion, less severe forms of hyperthermia.

Heat stroke is defined by a body temperature of at least 104F (40C). It should be treated as a medical emergency and is often fatal if not treated promptly. In normal circumstances the body is able to dissipate heat through the skin or by the evaporation of sweat. However, in extreme heat, high humidity, or during vigorous physical exertion under the sun, the body may not be able to dissipate the heat quickly enough, leading to a rise in body temperature. Heat stroke can also be caused by dehydration. When an individual becomes dehydrated they may not be able to produce enough sweat to dissipate the heat.

Although a heat stroke can affect anyone, some are at a higher risk than others, including: infants, the elderly, athletes and individuals who work outside and exert themselves under the sun. Heat Stroke

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Heat stroke can vary from case to case, but often an individual will experience the symptoms of heat exhaustion such as nausea and vomiting before progressing to heat stroke. However, in some cases heat stroke can develop rapidly without warning and mimic the symptoms of a heart attack. Common symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Rapid pulse
  • High body temperature
  • Absence of sweating
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Strange behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Disorientation
  • Seizure
  • Coma


Victims of heat stroke must receive immediate cooling treatment to avoid permanent organ damage. It is important to get the victim to a shady area, remove clothing, apply cool or tepid water to the skin and if available, place ice packs under armpits and groin. If the person is able to drink liquids, have them drink cool water or other cool beverages that do not contain alcohol or caffeine.

Lastly, monitor body temperature with a thermometer and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101F (38C). The best prevention measures for heat stroke are to avoid becoming dehydrated and to avoid strenuous physical activity in the hot and humid weather. Wearing hats and light-coloured, lightweight, loose clothes will help keep the body’s temperature balanced. If physical activity cannot be avoided, drinking plenty of fluids such as water and sports drinks will help.

After the prolonged activity in the sun, the body will need a replenishment of electrolytes; sodium is a great source. An electrolyte imbalance can directly lead to one or more of the symptoms above.

Warfarin or Warfar-out?


Warfarin or Warfar-out?: new stroke recommendations from American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

The AHA/ASA has released recommendations on the use of the new oral antithrombotic agents to prevent stroke in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation.

Head on over to the theheart.org for an article which summarizes the advisory published in Stroke on August 2, 2012.


The Structure of Warfarin (Anticoagulant)

The relevance of this article is health care professionals will have more choices in oral anticoagulants and more patients will receive treatment.

The novel drugs are reportedly safer and do not require point-of-care blood tests to monitor INR values. All of this should hopefully add up to better stroke prevention in patients with nonvalvular afib.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Canada’s Women’s Soccer Team Teaches us a Lesson About Teamwork

Teamwork leads to exceptional output

Employees at Iridia are not merely cogs in a larger machine. While we each have our roles and specific areas of responsibility, our company operates on the premise that we are a team that shares collectively in the wins and losses of the company (Iridia core value).


One of the most talked about events during the Games was the Canadian women’s soccer semi-final. Most commentators and spectators agreed that the Canadian women played the US team exceptionally well, but that some questionable refereeing that went against Canada led to their defeat.

After an emotional loss, the team was devastated, angry and distraught. They felt they had been robbed of a chance to go for gold because of unfair officiating.

In those first few devastating moments after the game, the media approached and some of the women, still reeling from the emotion and exertion of the game, said some things in anger and frustration that, perhaps, they shouldn’t have. The media jumped on that and the comments were spread around the world.

Talk of punitive measures from Olympic officials, including suspensions that could have significantly impacted the Bronze medal match, made this a dark day in the life of this team.

How do you get ready to compete again with the same level of intensity and passion you put forward in a game you feel you should have won? How do you deal with words you can’t get back? How do you cope with your name, your team’s name, being smeared by others? How do you rally back and find the motivation to play again in the face of what appears to be hopeless?

Canada women's soccer teamwork

I think most of us can relate on some level; we’ve said something in a weak moment we wish we could take back, lost a contract, sale, or client in a way that felt unfair, had someone say bad things about us, felt the frustration of a project or task that seemed hopeless.

The challenges of life are difficult enough when we’re facing them on our own, but when we face them as part of a team – where the group dynamics become a factor in recovering, they can be even more difficult.

Team members can get so lost in their own grief and way of coping, that they find it difficult to support one another. But therein lies the difference between a true team and one that just plays together.

The Canadian women did rally. They took responsibility for their actions, supported each other through their grief and ignored the negative media, choosing to gather support from their fans, families, and well wishers. They played with fierce intensity in a game where they were considered underdogs, and won a Bronze medal for Canada – the first Canadian soccer team in history to medal in the Games. They arrived in London with their eyes set on a medal.In spite of their setback, they accomplished that goal.

Canada Bronze Medal Soccer

The Canadian women’s soccer coach, John Herdman, said it best when asked about his team’s efforts. “They got kicked, they got up, they kicked back. What more could you have asked, and what more could you have done?

In the context of everyday life, the principles are the same. Respect for your team, pride in what you do, tenacity in the face of setbacks, and commitment to the goal provides the framework for winning in sport, work, and life.

It can’t be denied that in the case of the Canadian women’s soccer team, teamwork most definitely led to exceptional output. 

Going for Gold – Iridia’s Core Values


Iridia’s Core Values

I’m an unabashed Olympic addict. I love everything about the Olympics. The opening ceremonies – all the grandeur and creativity that represents the hosting nation – and I admit I get chills when the athletes enter the stadium proudly bearing their country’s flag.

Night after night I sit in front of my television, mesmerized by the talent, the strength and the endurance of the athletes running their races, competing in their events. It’s dramatic, exciting and mind-boggling as year after year, records are broken, proving the human body capable of more than we ever thought possible.

I love the stories and profiles on the athletes – learning about them as people gives us insight into their journeys and connects us with them in a powerful way so that we can’t help but cheer them on at the starting box. And who doesn’t have an internal sense of pride when one of our country’s finest pushes through their own barriers and ends up on the podium?

This world-stage event every two years is a magnificent gathering of the best of the best from all over the world; a bringing together of nations, a demonstration of teamwork, and an example of what can be accomplished with commitment, passion, and determination.

But what does this have to do with the average person going through everyday life. As I was reviewing Iridia’s core values this week, I realized that many of them align with what it takes for an athlete to compete on a world stage; to be extraordinary.

Two years ago we experienced “extraordinary” right here in our backyard as the world came to our house in February of 2010. I can say I’ve never sensed national pride like I did during those days.

Very few people came away from the 2010 Olympics without being touched by the experience in some way. But the games were extraordinary for reasons that went far beyond the schedules and the events and the medal ceremonies. They were extraordinary because they were ours! They were a demonstration of our culture, our community, and our heritage.

There was almost as much talk about the volunteers as there was about the athletes. There was a demonstration of compassion and integrity as we experienced and dealt with the tragic death of a young athlete in the first few days of competition – the worst nightmare of any Olympic games. We faced the adversity of uncooperative weather and demonstrated innovation in “making it work” so that the skiers could compete.

Core Values

Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting some blogs, based on Iridia’s core values, on what “Going for Gold” looks like in the real world – the world of every person who thinks they’re ordinary, but who has the potential to be extraordinary.


Bystander CPR – Moral Obligation?

Bystander CPR

Nearly 20,000 people go into cardiac arrest outside of hospital every single year in Canada. Unfortunately, less than 10 percent of those individuals survive.

One of the leading causes is that 75 percent of those people do not receive bystander CPR.

In many of these cases the cardiac arrest is witnessed, but the bystanders do not have any training in CPR. Bystanders in this situation often fail to offer assistance because of the belief they do not have the necessary skills to act, and potentially they may cause more harm than good.

Recently, the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) has spoken out to say “every Canadian should be willing to offer CPR when they witness someone in cardiac arrest — even if they’ve never been trained in it.”

bystander cpr


It is clear that any sort of assistance provided can increase the chances of survival for those who experience out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

The CAEP clearly wants to push the expectations of CPR further. “It must become a moral obligation and a social expectation that bystanders will perform CPR when they witness a cardiac arrest.

Many more lives can be saved, but we need stronger inducements and a systematic approach to ensure more people in the community are prepared and ready to perform CPR,” says the group.

The CAEP is looking for the next step to be mandatory CPR training in all Canadian high schools. They even go as far to say that it should be a requirement of graduation.

Although CPR is not a guarantee for survival, it is believed that up to 2000 people a year could be saved if all Canadians were taught how to properly give CPR.

For those who haven’t had formal training, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada has updated its guidelines in 2010 to simplify CPR training in the hopes that more bystanders will be willing to give CPR.

It is now recommended that untrained bystanders who don’t want to give mouth-tomouth resuscitation can simply offer chest compressions to adults in cardiac arrest.

If you are interested in learning CPR or would like to update your certification, contact us.

See our 2014 course offerings.