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.