Turkey, mashed potatoes, and … Iridia in the Community?

 

As Canadians, most of us are returning to work this week in a tryptophan-induced fog thanks to another wonderful turkey dinner (or two) at the hands of that amazing friend or family member who spared no effort in bringing their kitchen skills to bear. While reflecting on culinary conquests is almost a requisite of Thanksgiving reflection, this particular edition of the holiday has given many Iridians the opportunity to reflect in a different way. More specifically, to think about what community means to them, and how they can give to it when given a simple means to do so.

Enter Iridia in the Community.

Iridia in the Community

What is it?

Iridia in the Community, quite simply, is an initiative that saw each full time employee receive $100 and be tasked with spending it in a way that would provide value to their interpretation of “community”.

Little guidance was offered, and that was by design. While all Iridians share commonalities, we are also each very different. Our individual interpretation as to what “community” is, and what providing value to it looks like, is completely a function of our own perspective.

What was the inspiration behind it?

You never know when you might have a conversation that will have a profound impact.   In February of this year, I was fortunate enough to have had such a conversation.  While attending a professional development workshop I sat beside a gentleman that I had never seen before, and have never seen since. We spoke only for about 10 minutes, but that brief exchange led to Iridia in the Community.

He shared a story about a man in the early 1900s who took out an advertisement local newspaper offering to provide $10 to anyone who wrote him a letter articulating why they felt they needed $10. Initially dubbed Angels in the Streets, this idea has since evolved to see companies giving back through their employee teams.

Amazed at the simplicity and beauty of the program, we simply had to do it.

And now, it’s done.

Why did we do it?

At Iridia we aspire to be led by, and act in accordance with, our company values. Each of our eight values contributes directly to the very fabric of our organization. As one of our values is Social Responsibility, we are always on the lookout for creative ways to support our community. We felt that Iridia in the Community fit the bill, and we made it happen.

Why now?

Thanksgiving is all about, well, giving thanks. As such, we felt was the perfect time for Iridia in the Community.

How will it play out?

To be honest, we don’t know, but we are as excited as you are to find out!

Over the course of this week, we will be sharing highlights of how Iridia dollars were spent through a combination of pictures and videos on our Facebook page. Please check back often to see how your friends and contacts on the Iridia team have made a difference.

We can say, however, that our hope is that this becomes only the first of many versions of Iridia in the Community.

Iridia in the Community Interviews:

Fun, Laughter and Motivation at Womens Weekend 2012

Iridia is a provider of paramedic services to the resource exploration industry in northern British Services. As such, we are often working in small communities in remote regions.

These northern communities are full of those who we call an extension of the Iridia team here in the Lower Mainland.

We believe it is important to invest in these communities; they make it possible for us to deliver high-quality care to workers in the surrounding oil and gas industry. We are committed to social responsibility; after all, it is one of our core values. 

“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.”

Womens Weekend

Fort Nelson is one community we are actively involved in and recently we were provided with an opportunity to reach out and give a little back for womens weekend.

In February, Fort Nelson was to host its annual Women’s Weekend. When we heard about the chance to become a sponsor of the event, we jumped on it.

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The goal of Fort Nelson’s Women’s Weekend is to bring women together to meet and establish relationships amongst all women in Fort Nelson and provide a safe, nurturing environment in which women can explore their own potential while learning from one another.

The event was a success with over 200 attendees. The women were able to enjoy a wide variety of activities including first nation’s history, photography, glass fusing and self defense. Also on hand was keynote speaker Linda Edgecomb, a motivational speaker for women.

Women’s Weekend helps to build lasting support networks in the community of Fort Nelson. Women, who have never imagined sharing their talents, find themselves starting volunteering, facilitating workshops and some go on to start their own small businesses.

Iridia is excited to have been a part of the 2012 Women’s Weekend. We are thankful to the planning committee for organizing a wonderful event and allowing us the opportunity to get involved.

United Nations Award for District of North Vancouver

United Nations AwardFor 2011, the District of North Vancouver received the prestigious United Nations’ Award for disaster risk reduction in its community.

United Nations Award

Mayor Richard Walton attended the ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland, to accept the award on behalf of the District of North Vancouver – the first Canadian community ever to receive it.

“This international recognition is testament to the ongoing work being done by not only the professional staff who serve the citizens of North Vancouver District, but also the leaders and many volunteers of the North Shore Emergency Management Office, and all of the agencies dedicated to the public safety needs of their community,” said Walton after the ceremony according to the North Shore Outlook.

In 2005, North Vancouver experienced a landslide which led to the tragic death of a resident and the destruction of two homes. As a result, the district has lead and incorporated risk reduction criteria in its official community plan and permit process, including warning systems for landslides and debris flows.

The Iridia team congratulates the District of North Vancouver for receiving this United Nations Award and for building the resilience of its community to disasters. We are honoured to have worked with the district on some of its planning initiatives, and applaud community partners for having realized this outstanding achievement.

Toronto EMS Creates a New Kind of Paramedic

Paramedics aren’t usually called upon until after someone’s had an accident or an injury, but the Emergency Department of a hospital ranks among the most expensive of places to treat a patient.

Toronto EMS

To ease that demand, Toronto’s EMS program has decided to try something different: visit people’s homes before their need becomes an emergency. Under the city’s Community Paramedicine Program, emergency workers note the living conditions of patients who are, for example, housebound or suffering psychological problems and flag their cases for follow-up. Later with the patient’s permission, Community Paramedics pay them a visit. They interview the patient; sometimes they examine the patient or take a look at the patient’s prescription medications and help to arrange more regular care through community nursing, social workers, or hospital outpatient services.

 Toronto’s EMS

For many people whom are marginalised or living on the fringes of society, paramedics are their first -or even sole- point of contact with the health care system as they rely on emergency services to manage their chronic or unaddressed health care issues. Many of these people whom have fallen through the cracks in the system have become so used to their isolation that they have to be convinced or cajoled into accepting the services that exist for them. By turning paramedics into front-line medical professionals who make house calls, organizers of the program say Community Paramedics have helped to reduce repeat 911 calls by 80%.

“It is unsustainable to wait for the phone to ring and to respond to those life-threatening emergencies,” said Michael Nolan, the president of the Emergency Medical Services Chiefs of Canada. “We believe strongly that paramedics have more to offer by being pro-active.”

The program is gaining attention in other parts of the country as well. “It’s about keeping people healthy so that they don’t need the emergency services; they never deteriorate to that point.” said Penny Price, Alberta Health Services’ Health Integration Manager.

At the moment, there is no program like this in BC, which presents an interesting possibility.

In 2009, BC’s paramedics held a job action mainly over what they considered unacceptably low wages. At times, a junior BC paramedic’s pay can be as low as $2/hour while standing by between calls. In Toronto the starting wage for a paramedic is around $27‑$30/hour.

If you took an average of the various arguments flying back and forth in 2009, you’d probably find supporters of the paramedics saying that this financial position is untenable for junior and part-time paramedics trying to build a career in emergency health care. In response, you’d find detractors saying that the union’s overall proposed wage hike was enormous from a percentage standpoint (31%) with unjustified pay levels (the union claimed it was seeking wage parity with the Vancouver Police). Eventually the strike was broken when Victoria legislated the paramedics back to work with a 3% pay raise.

If Toronto’s success with its community program were to be repeated in BC, it seems there would be a substantial savings in emergency healthcare money and resources, the public would enjoy more comprehensive care, and the paramedics would have an opportunity to retool their wage structure.

Whether or not it represents a potential win-win scenario for paramedics and the BC Ambulance Service brass lies in a couple of questions: would those who opposed the paramedic’s demands reconsider if the paramedics offered services like the one in Toronto alongside their regular duties? To those who supported the paramedics (and the paramedics themselves), do you think it would be fair to ask them to take on programs like this as a condition of a more substantial wage increase?