Happy Holidays from Osler!

A rolling stone gathers no moss. – Proverb

I can’t believe we’re at the end of another extraordinary year at Osler! Over the last 12 months we have made incredible progress across the organization that positions us to deliver patient-inspired health care now, and well into the future.

Our achievements could not be realized without the inspiration and support from our patients and families; our dedicated staff, physicians and volunteers; our health care partners and generous donors. Thank you for making this one of Osler’s most remarkable years yet.


Many of us turn our minds to giving this time of year. Osler Foundation has received tremendous support from donors this year, which was capped off with the generous time-limited $15 million matching challenge gift made by Orlando Corporation. Giving once this holiday season can make twice the difference.

This is my final blog of the year. Until the New Year, I wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season!

Sitting on top for a fifth year

It seems like it was just yesterday I took on the role as President and CEO at Osler. However, that was more than four years ago and time has surely flown by.

I was drawn to Osler because of its distinct culture and identity. Over the years, together we have enhanced and embraced our culture even more by celebrating diversity, inspiring teamwork, and placing our READI values at the centre of all we do. It’s certainly been quite the journey! And now – we have reached another milestone along our way.

I am thrilled to announce our recent recognition as one of Greater Toronto’s Top 100 Employers for the fifth year in a row! This designation reinforces our values and the ongoing commitment of every staff member, physician and volunteer to making Osler a great place to work. This award would not be possible without your tremendous team effort.

We have ambitious goals to change how health care is delivered in our region, and to create health services with an unwavering commitment to patient-inspired care. Without a healthy workplace created by those who work and volunteer their time at Osler, these goals wouldn’t be possible.

I couldn’t be more proud of our team at Osler. With more than 6,900 staff members, physicians and volunteers, we have a community of support and a strong team that is delivering on our vision each and every day.

Thank you for your commitment to providing patient-inspired health care every day and for making Osler a workplace worthy of distinction.

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol

From the desk of Joanne Flewwelling, Executive VP, Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive

The last time you visited the emergency department (ED) for care, why were you there?

While many people would consider going to the ED only for serious medical incidents, one in five Canadians visit the ED for non-life threatening conditions that could be treated by your family physician or at a clinic. This startling statistic comes from a recent report  from the Canadian Information for Health Information (CIHI).

Osler continues to have one of the busiest EDs in the province with more than 204,000 patients coming through our doors last year. We know that there are a number of reasons why people come to the ED for care and to help alleviate some of the pressure, we’re looking at new ways of providing access to health care services for less acute needs.

Osler is shifting to a new approach to health care, focusing on prevention and health maintenance, with the new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness. When the new Peel Memorial is complete in two years, patients will have access to a wide variety of traditional and alternative health care services most needed by the community under one roof, including urgent care (similar to emergency care).

Peel Memorial’s Urgent Care Centre will have the capacity to diagnose and treat more than 40,000 patients in non-life threatening situations that include coughs and colds, minor abdominal pain, soft tissue injuries, and uncomplicated joint dislocations, sprains and cuts. This will increase the capacity to provide acute medical care to patients with more acute or life-threatening conditions in the ED at Brampton Civic.

On top of our already high patient volumes in the ED, we often see an increase in activity over the holiday season. This happens for a number of reasons, including:

  • More cases of the flu
  • Reduced operating hours for or doctor’s offices and walk-in clinics
  • Less availability of community resources
  • Higher rates of health incidents caused by activities of the holiday season

We’re once again working with our local health partners to better understand care options in the community and bringing in extra staff to ensure that our patients and families are receiving timely, patient-inspired care in our EDs. Osler’s website, Facebook page and Twitter feed will be used to share tips and information about where patients might also be able to seek care for less complex conditions during the holiday season.

“To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” – Douglas Adams, author, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

I get invited to speak at a number of dinners and events each year. While each event is special in its own way, I find those that celebrate Osler’s incredible staff, physicians and volunteers to be some of the most rewarding.

Recently, Osler held three celebrations to honour members of the Osler family who have dedicated years, and decades, to providing patient-inspired care to the communities we serve.

  • More than 1,000 staff and physicians who have dedicated five to 45 years of their careers to Osler were recognized at our annual Long Service Awards They are a big part of why we have been named one of the Greater Toronto Area’s Top Employers for four years running!
  • The Carillion Long Service Awards celebrated 140 staff for their five to 40 commitments to creating an environment where high-quality health care can take place. Attendees were also treated to performances by a guitarist, steel pan drummer and a dance troupe as we marked the beginning of Diwali.
  • At the Osler Volunteer Association Long Service Awards, we honoured the contributions of Osler volunteers including six remarkable women who have shared their time with Osler for more than 50 years! All of our volunteers make a huge contribution to Osler and we can’t thank them enough for their time, energy and commitment.

One Night. Two Stars. And a $15 million pledge for Osler.

As a huge music fan, one of the highlights of my social calendar is Osler Foundation’s One Night«Two Stars«Three Hospitals Benefit Concert, presented by Metrus Development Inc. Performances by Canadian superstars Tom Cochrane with Red Rider and Chantal Kreviazuk raised the roof, but a transformational pledge from Orlando Corporation to donate up to $15 million to Osler’s three hospital sites as part of a unique matching challenge gift raised the bar.

This pledge is the single largest challenge match gift made to a community hospital in Canada – but it comes with a catch. Orlando Corporation will match every dollar contributed to this campaign by Osler’s generous donors, physicians and staff who are so devoted to our three hospitals.

Fully realized, this challenge gift has the potential to generate $30 million and will kick start Osler’s $100 million multi-year capital campaign. Orlando Corporation will donate up to $5 million to support each of Osler’s three sites: Brampton Civic Hospital; Etobicoke General Hospital; and the new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness.

The night got even better once the performers took to the stage with Chantal Kreviazuk bringing her piano to life and Tom Cochrane bringing the crowd to its feet as we all sang along.

Proceeds from the event will fund redevelopment projects and the latest generation of medical technology and diagnostic equipment needs across all three sites.

Transformational gifts are important. But it’s also important to remember that we can all play an invaluable role in supporting our hospitals by connecting grateful patients, who want to say “thanks” for the care they received, with Osler Foundation.

If you missed the excitement on Saturday night, check out our Facebook photo gallery!

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank

At Osler, we are privileged to be part of a community that is rich with kindness, generosity, and passion for exceptional health care.

Our fantastic staff, as well as the patients and families in the community, get to see, use and experience this wealth of community spirit each and every day. The generosity of our donors makes it possible for us to buy innovative equipment like AccuVein, which helps to locate veins in patients where they may be difficult to find.

Thanks to our generous donors who enthusiastically support Osler Foundation, we have the technology, facilities and educational opportunities we need to provide patient-inspired care to the community we serve.

Last month, we hosted three special receptions to honour our outstanding leadership-level donors. Every year, donors who have pledged or made a $10,000 gift or more to one of our three hospitals are celebrated by having their names engraved on that hospital’s Circle of Champions donor wall.

At the celebration, donors got to experience how their gifts have impacted the care at our hospitals. We couldn’t do what we do without them!

Check out the photo gallery from the events.

Our staff also got in the giving spirit at the launch of our annual I ♥ My Hospital Employee Giving campaign. This year’s celebration was called OslerFest, and featured a week of fun activities, events and prizes. From a pumpkin carving contest to a fall carnival to mascot design contests, the Osler family came out to show their support of our Foundation. Your enthusiasm and generosity helped us reach our goal of $160,000! We also have 150 new donors this year – a 155 per cent increase over last year.

For more on our Foundation and how you can make a difference in health care in your community, visit www.oslerfoundation.org.

“There’s an opportunity for us to leave the past behind and present something different for the future.” – Jay Weatherill, Premier, Australian Labor Party

As the leaves start to change colour and fall to the ground, some people may see the fall season as an ending. At Osler, we see it as an opportunity for renewal on a grand scale as our redevelopment efforts at all three sites continue to move ahead at a brisk pace.

Etobicoke General
This fall promises to be a busy season at Etobicoke General as planning for a number of projects gets underway:

  • In early October, a Request for Proposals (RFP) will be issued to identify a successful vendor to supply the new nurse call system at the hospital. This nearly $10 million project is expected to begin in 2015.
  • Starting in November, the rear staff parking lot will be reconfigured to increase capacity while new lighting and panic stations will be installed to improve security.
  • The long awaited work on the western hydro lands parking areas is slated to begin in early spring 2015.
  • We’ve also started construction on a second patient washroom in the emergency department, which will be completed in six to eight weeks.

Osler is set to go to the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) stage for the new four-storey tower later this fall. In this stage, we will identify the companies with the experience and capacity necessary to design, build, finance and maintain the new wing at Etobicoke General.

We’re also on track to issue a RFP for a new Ancillary Services Building (ASB) in the coming months. Companies will be able to bid on a contract to design and build the new facility that will be home to physicians offices, hospital clinics and classrooms for our education partners. The ASB project is part of the first phase of expansion.

Peel Memorial
Peel Memorial continues to take shape as multiple cranes now tower above the site. As our construction partners at PCL prepare the foundation for the new building, Osler staff is meeting to finalize space requirements for the facility. Check out our progress by viewing our live webcam.

As work moves forward at the Peel Memorial site we’ll start connecting with the public for their input into various building elements, including colour choices for the interior. Our next community event will take place on Wednesday, October 29 at the Bramalea City Centre while a public meeting will happen later this fall to share more detailed information on building design and progress to date, as well as offer the opportunity to speak with the development team and provide input into the interior spaces.

Brampton Civic
In addition to the exciting changes to the retail food services program at Brampton Civic, the Cardiac Procedures Unit (CPU) is being reconfigured to offer more recovery space for patients following treatment. This work is scheduled to begin next week and is expected to be completed in the spring of 2015.