Celebrating Pride and Progress at Medavie

The LGBTQ2S+ community is an important part of Canada’s social and economic fabric and of the diverse and dynamic team of 7,700professionals who make up Medavie.

Pride Paramedic Patches
MHS-West Paramedic Pride patch

Everyone should feel included in the workplace. If we embrace each others’ differences, we can all feel welcomed, respected, supported and valued to fully participate.”

Bernard Lord, DEI Senior Leadership Council Chair, Chief Executive Officer, Medavie

Showing our Support

During Pride Month in June, we will again be showing our support for a vibrant and empowered LGBTQ2S+ community in a variety of ways, from the Pride epaulettes Medavie Health Services paramedics are wearing on the shoulders of their uniforms and the Pride flags that are being flown at their headquarters, to the lighting up of our Moncton office in rainbow colours during Pride Week at the end of June.

At Medavie, we take pride in celebrating LGBTQ2S+ communities and acknowledging the progress that has been made towards equality. This year, our theme is “Celebrating Pride and Progress – Take Pride in Being You.” In addition to acknowledging this important history, Pride Month is also a time to reflect on the work that remains to be done to achieve equality and dignity for LGBTQ2S+ people.

Our support for the LGBTQ2S+ community extends well beyond a monthlong celebration. Every day, we are committed to creating an inclusive and respectful environment where employees are encouraged to be their authentic selves and are inspired to reach their full potential. We value our employees’ differences and encourage their voices to be heard.

Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy provides the framework to act on this commitment with policies, programs and practices that help foster a culture of caring, openness, understanding and belonging.

Medavie Lighting up Moncton NB office for Pride Month1
Moncton office lit in Pride colours

Breaking Down Barriers

While progress has been made, there are still struggles and gaps to inclusion and understanding. LGBTQ2S+ community members face societal and institutional barriers to accessing affirming and relevant health and mental health care.

This is one of the reasons why LGBTQ2S+ have higher rates of mental health challenges than the general population. As a national health solutions partner and corporate citizen, we strive to improve access to care.

One of the ways we do this is through the Medavie Foundation and its investments in increasing access to services for communities that disproportionately face barriers and inequities in their care.

An example is Medavie’s partnership with the Youth Project Society of Nova Scotia, a multiservice organization aimed at advancing the inclusion and wellness of 2SLGBTQIA+ Nova Scotians under the age of 25.

“DEI is about ensuring everyone has access to the same treatment and opportunities by identifying and eliminating barriers.”

Richard Losier, President, Medavie Health Services New Brunswick
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MHSNB team in Pride Parade Moncton

Partnering with the Youth Project

The intersection of youth support and 2SLGBTQIA+ identity has always posed unique and nuanced realities for our clients in accessing affirming, culturally relevant, and trauma-informed service provision and healthcare.
- Carmel Farahbakhsh, Executive Director, Youth Project Society

In 2021, the Youth Project started offering free, mental health counselling sessions to 2SLGBTQIA+ youth provincially. Within 24 hours of the program being announced, all spots were filled, enabling 20 youths to receive counselling, four of whom were further supported with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) readiness letters.

The organization has since expanded the counselling program with funding support from Medavie, through the Medavie Foundation. The program can now offer these gender-affirming healthcare sessions to more youth with reduced wait times. The program prioritizes Two-Spirit, trans, and gender-non-conforming youth, youth living in rural communities, and/or youth living in unsupportive homes or experiencing precarious housing.

PEI Pride 2
Island EMS in Pride Parade

“Diversity of thought offers more opportunities for everyone to share their views and inspires innovation across our entire organization.”

Anita Swamy, Vice-President Operations, Medavie Blue Cross
Progressive Pride Flag 2
Flags MHS-West headquarters Saskatoon

Working Toward Greater Inclusivity

To advance progress for LGBTQ2S+ communities, we have hired a full-time Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and are forming a permanent DEI council. Together, they will help carry out and oversee our DEI initiatives. Some of the initiatives that have been completed or are underway include:

  • Updating Medavie Blue Cross private business forms and client correspondence with inclusive language
  • Ensuring all member touchpoints use inclusive language and offer inclusive choices
  • Modifying our inclusive email signatures to include pronouns
  • Promoting monthly educational webinars
  • Establishing an online DEI resource centre for employees
  • Providing DEI training to leaders

“Building and sustaining DEI in everything we do supports a culture where we all feel like we can belong. With our DEI strategy, we will advance our DEI efforts and create deeper awareness and understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusivity in our workplace and the communities we serve.

Jennifer Taylor, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

We’re also applying an inclusive lens to our product and service offerings. Our Gender Affirmation Benefit, for example, allows plans to increase access and provide financial support to gender diverse members throughout their transitioning process. This complements other inclusive benefits such as our Hormone Replacement Therapy coverage.

These initiatives and more help us fulfill our mission of improving the wellbeing of ALL Canadians.

Happy Pride from Medavie. #Pride2022 #MedaviePride

Our Mission is to Improve the Wellbeing of Canadians.

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.