Paramedics Among the Frontline Heroes Canadians Depend on for Care

Paramedic Services Week is May 22-28.

Early on in his career as a paramedic, Michael (Mike) Mackenzie taught Cape Breton-style step dancing in his free time. Thirty plus years later, Mike is still a man in constant motion, bringing the same level of energy required for the footwork of a jig or reel to his many professional and volunteer roles.

His work as a Senior Primary Care Paramedic with Island EMS (Prince Edward Island’s emergency medical service) doesn’t stop at coming to the aid of Islanders in need. Somehow, Mike manages to squeeze in extra hours to give even more back to the profession he is “deeply proud of”, and to his community, be it fundraising for charitable causes, posting about Island EMS activities on social media, visiting children and youth in schools and daycares, participating in parades or doing interviews with local media.


“I want people to know that being a paramedic is a great career choice and I will happily do what it takes to get the word out."

Mike Mackenzie

On the Frontlines

At Medavie, we are proud to have passionate, dedicated professionals like Mike on our emergency and health services teams. Throughout the pandemic, Medavie Health Services (MHS) paramedics have played an active and essential role on the frontlines of this health crisis from eastern to western Canada. They continue to manage COVID-19 vaccination rollouts in long-term care facilities and through mobile clinics, as well as operate provincial border screening and mobile testing clinics across the country.

Our highly trained paramedics are also members of our community care teams who follow our mobile integrated health model to ease emergency department visits, reduce hospital admissions and expand long-term care options by delivering education and in-home care to patients who need it most.

The two community wellness buses MHS-West operates in Saskatchewan take this patient-centered, collaborative approach to health care, one of which serves seven First Nations communities. The mobile mental health response service MHS manages in Prince Edward Island is another example of how we’re ensuring Canadians have access to the best, most immediate care possible — wherever, whenever they need it.

Home-Based Services

In Ontario, paramedics are also removing access barriers to care by employing this integrated, holistic care model. Community Paramedics Improving Patient Outcomes (CPIPO) program provides home-based services to complex patients in Chatham-Kent, ON.

Additionally, we have paramedics providing surge capacity response for Indigenous communities in northern Canada, working alongside other health care professionals, including First Nations and Inuit Health Branch-employed nurses, to ensure that nursing stations and health centres can continue to provide life-saving care. On an average day, the paramedics provide a broad spectrum of family medicine and direct patient care services, under MHS’s contract with Indigenous Services Canada, as well as support efforts to contain COVID-19.

Further, our advanced care paramedics provide timely services in nursing homes, directly at patients’ bedsides through our Extended Paramedics Program. A recipient of the Gold Public Sector Leadership Award from the Institute of Public Administration of Canada and Deloitte, the program has been highly successful in improving care and reducing emergency room visits.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the hard work and sacrifice of our paramedics.

Paramedic Services Week

Paramedic Services Week is May 22-28, giving us a welcome opportunity to celebrate, recognize and express our gratitude to the men and women who we count on every day to keep us and our communities safe.

True to his caring and giving nature, Mike chose paramedicine as a career to make a difference in the lives of others.

“When people experience a crisis, whether it be injury, pain, sickness, fear or mental anguish, it’s the scariest time in their lives.”

Mike Mackenzie

Some of the more difficult parts of his job, like notifying a family member that their loved one has passed, are outweighed by the supportive, compassionate care he can give to families, including relaxation techniques to help individuals who are struggling with their mental health.

To protect his wellbeing, Mike, a father of three grown children, says it is critical to balance work and home life. “This line of work, though rewarding, can at times be very stressful, mentally draining, traumatizing, dangerous, etcetera.”

This allows him to go to work each day knowing things at home are handled.

“I am blessed to have an amazing support system at home. My family respects my profession and offers the necessary support and understanding.”

Mike Mackenzie

Pack the Back

One of his proudest achievements was creating an annual appeal known as “Pack the Back”, which sees paramedics fill ambulances with toys and to give to local low-income families. The campaign has since been adopted by other ambulance services in Atlantic Canada to make the holidays merrier and brighter for families across the region. Mike has also been PEI Head Chairman for the Telethon for Sick Children in support of the IWK Foundation for the past 15 years. He also serves on the Central Queens Funeral Board and is an active member of the Knights of Columbus.

Mike has been honoured for his volunteerism and professionalism with a Paramedic of The Year award, CTV Maritimer of the Week certificate and PEI Covid Warrior Medal, to name a few. On May 25, 2022, this skilled and seasoned paramedic will receive his well-deserved 30th Year Exemplary Service Medal from Island EMS. Congratulations Mike!

Want to learn more about the career Mike “truly loves and enjoys promoting”? Think you would be the right fit?

Connect to our career opportunities at Medavie Health Services.

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Medavie is a health company that oversees Medavie Blue Cross and Medavie Health Services. Together, we’re bringing Canadians better health and access to care.