Up-Stander: Kevin Vickers

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in Articles, Culture Change, Up-Stander, Workplace Respect, Workplace Safety | 0 comments

This week’s Up-stander at first glance may seem obvious to many people, as millions of Canadians will instantly understand why Kevin Vickers clearly deserves this and a whole lot more recognition for what he did on Wednesday two weeks ago in our nation’s capital. I have more reasons to be grateful for what Kevin did, because of his impact on my daughter Robin, who works with him in the House of Commons. Recently, I was the keynote speaker at the Canada’s Safest Employer Awards celebration in Toronto, less than a week following the events on parliament Hill. The subject of this week’s Up-standers piece, Kevin Vickers, is embodied within the text of the speech I delivered to award winners and attendees that night. ————————————————— “It is my privilege to be with you tonight. We are here to honour great achievements created by inspiring people who have made Canada a better place to live, learn, work and play. It is their core values, your core values that bring us together, at this time, in this place. You – have embraced workplace cultures that are built on civility and respect, and on the physical and psychological protection of the people you work with. You – already understand that a life lost or damaged, or a life saved or healed, isn’t about rules and regulations. It is about people – people committed to breathe life and soul into the values that such rules are based upon. I like the way Dr. Kevin Kelloway of Saint Mary’s university puts it. Kevin says a healthy workplace is one that promotes dignity: both the dignity you and I earn through our work and the innate human dignity within every human being. And he says, dignity comes from respect for ourselves, our respect for others and the perception that others respect us. Workplaces that function in the absence of dignity and respect are far more dangerous places for our families and friends or anyone else to work in. A healthy workplace, a safer workplace, Kevin says, is one that embraces, promotes and nurtures dignity, and with it, respect. I want to tell you two, very personal stories with two very different endings that explain why I personally know this to be so true. The first story is about an unsafe, unhealthy workplace where, in the absence of dignity, respect, civility and physical and psychological protection, everything went wrong. Almost 20 years ago to the day, 19 year-old Sean was on the third day of a new job. He poured thick fluid from a large drum into smaller cans, preparing them for shipment to automobile dealers to undercoat new vehicles. What Sean did not know was that this liquid was...

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Up-Stander: Leslie Dunning

Posted by on Sep 2, 2014 in Articles, Up-Stander | 0 comments

Leslie Dunning, of Calgary Alberta, retired from Canadian Red Cross (CRC) in June this year after serving as a volunteer and then employee for forty-four years. It is not the length of time that matters most but rather that she spent every minute of it with passion and compassion as her guiding compass. Many others deserve credit for the contributions they have made to both prevent violence and abuse and provide relief and healing to those who have suffered from it. At the same time, Leslie Dunning is the person who took the point as the CRC leader to champion the cause, which was sometimes perceived as an afterthought amid the vast array of CRC capabilities. She defended it, fought for it, and unrelentingly sought funds to help the deploy people and resources in the field of violence and abuse prevention, at first to simply survive, then to thrive. She is this month’s Up-Stander. Until recently and even now most people embrace Canadian Red Cross for its amazing capacity for emergency response in Canada and around the world. For others, because so many of us have taken its first aid and water safety programs, this is the area that immediately comes to mind. But now, awareness has been rapidly spreading around CRC’s leadership role in violence and abuse prevention, most notably in the areas of bullying at school, sport and in workplaces. Visionaries such as Judi Fairholm and others among her CRC colleagues were the first to recognize that abuse and violence were often part of the fallout for disadvantaged Canadians. Among those most affected were aboriginal communities, the elderly and young people impacted by discrimination against race, religion, sexual orientation or any other characteristics that put them out of sync in their immediate surroundings. These same Canadian Red Cross workers were also the first to raise the ongoing abuse and violence that accompanied disaster relief in far off places in the world. Abusers exploited the powerlessness of victims who were thirsty or starving, or homeless and orphaned. The CRC was the first Red Cross Society in the world to engage in these issues and systemically tackle with programs that provided relief and caring for those who have suffered from violence and abuse and then created evidence-based interventions to prevent it from happening to others. They have been doing it now for over twenty-five years, much of that spent flying underneath the radar of many Canadians. Leslie Dunning understood what matters about all this, every bit of it, as soon as she saw it. So she took it on, head-on. She put it under her wing in a number of executive positions, most particularly as CRC Director General Western...

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Up-Stander: Jackie Norman

Posted by on Jul 6, 2014 in Articles, Up-Stander | 0 comments

Jackie Norman is President and CEO of Safety Services Nova Scotia. But her leadership, impact and contribution extend well beyond the borders of the province she lives and works in. She is this month’s Up-Stander! I first met Jackie soon after she assumed her leadership position in the organization she still leads today, almost 15 years ago. Within days of our first meeting, I learned this: to help prevent injuries, Jackie is prepared to act at every turn on new opportunities to make a difference. She is calm, assesses the risks and is mindful about resources, but is also fearless about pursuing what she sees as the right things to do. While the nature of the job demands that a person in such a role must be able to talk the talk, Jackie Norman always walks the walk along with it. And because I have seen her in action on many occasions, one of the qualities I have come to admire most is her ability to be strategic about the decisions she makes. This quality, of being unafraid to take a stand and move ahead in the face of uncertainty to make a significant difference down the road, is not something everyone with a similar title is able to bring to the table. I have four specific examples. First, Jackie was a national pioneer, only thirteen years ago, in the area of e-learning in workplace health and safety in Nova Scotia. The proliferation of online programs in health and safety ever since demonstrates how she was ahead of the curve strategically. Second, Jackie was instrumental in the growth and increased impact of provincial safety councils all across Canada as they evolved into much stronger, more independent provincial Safety Services organizations. Jackie helped lead the way to providing more services, training and other programs that have become financially self-sufficient across the country, and still serves as Vice Chair of Safety Services Canada, the national cooperative of all provincial/territorial organizations. Third, as Safe Communities Canada, the organization I founded in 1996, began to branch out across the country, Nova Scotia, through Jackie’s leadership, became the first province to organize communities under this banner outside Alberta and Ontario. She did this because she believed that community, workplace and personal safety are interconnected, which became another strategic pursuit for her organization. And, more recently, she has aligned herself with the issue of workplace respect as a key lever toward healthier safer workplaces, resulting in improved workplace environments and decreased risks of injury. We are working together on this project, which is most certainly in the early stages of being understood as a core factor in workplace health and safety. It is little wonder...

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Up-Standers: The RCMP

Posted by on Jun 8, 2014 in Articles, Up-Stander, Workplace Safety | 0 comments

It is difficult to accept or even fathom the horrific events of Wednesday and the days that followed this past week when three RCMP officers lost their lives and two others were injured in Moncton, New Brunswick at the hands of someone a former Deputy Commissioner of the RCMP has described as a monster. While the “monster” ended his demented adventure by raising his hands and saying “It’s over” walking away unharmed, the people he killed died on the job and those he wounded were injured in their workplace – the streets of the communities where we live and work. It is no solace for anyone that those who take on roles as police officers, firefighters, emergency service workers and even soldiers understand going in that their duties may place them at much higher risk than for the rest of us. All of us owe our first responders a huge debt of gratitude for their service and their courage and for accepting the risks of their commitment to their duties. No one expects to go to work in the morning and not come home at the end of the day. Nor do their families and friends. The loss to those left behind is what matters most, not some abstraction that the risks were somehow known beforehand. It is not about potential risks and subsequent consequences. Someone who was deeply, personally loved left home early in the morning and was lost forever before nightfall. As someone who lost a child at work I can only say this. My heart goes out to the wives, children and parents of these people for the loss of those they loved so much and the harm that has come to others. — Paul Kells Workplace Respect and Safety Champion, Culture Change Expert and Inspiring Speaker Reach new standards for safe and positive workplace cultures www.paulkells.com...

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Up-Stander: Pat Coursey

Posted by on May 11, 2014 in Articles, Up-Stander | 2 comments

If you hear the name Pat Coursey and aren’t sure whether you have ever met her, it means you have never met Pat Coursey. Pat, I am pretty certain, would not only approve of what I am about to call her, she is probably going to appreciate it. But if you have any politically correct tendencies please close your eyes before you read the next sentence and move straight to the article I have written about her. Pat Coursey is not only an Up-Stander she is a great broad! Pat Coursey was born and raised in Regent Park, one of the roughest, toughest neighbourhoods in downtown Toronto. To say there might be folks from other parts of the city who looked down their noses at Regent Park would be an understatement. They wouldn’t dare do that in Pat’s company however. Pat is not just from that place. She is made of it and proud of it. She grew up as a member of a large family and scraped her way through the early years of her life both for herself and for them. She came by her street smarts and superb networking skills in a rough and tumble place where that was what you needed to do to survive. She was (and is) utterly loyal to her family through thick and thin, has a heart of gold with a tough-guy edge and a real soft spot for the underdog and people down on their luck. Pat Coursey, Regent Park girl, had been prepared from birth to take on whatever she needed to do to fight for who and what she believed in. In time, Pat made her way to an entry-level position at the Ministry of Labour in Ontario. When she “retired” from the Ministry, she was in charge of the entire labour inspectorate. For those who may think such career progression was just a normal kind of thing, you’ll need a little more context. People who began their careers at around the same time Pat did operated in a different world than we do today. We are not talking about your everyday glass ceiling here. It was truly a man’s world, not only in the civil service but also in most establishment institutions. The vast majority of doctors and lawyers were men. You could travel from branch to branch for months and never find a female bank manager anywhere. Police women sat behind dispatch desks or stood in front of filing cabinets and almost all newscasters were males with deep voices. So if you were Pat Coursey, woman, and you wanted to advance your career in a man’s world such as this, there were things you needed to...

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Up-Stander: Chief Barry King

Posted by on Apr 4, 2014 in Articles, Up-Stander | 0 comments

On the one hand, as I approached Canada’s five national banks to help fund the new national Safe Community organization, I also hoped to reach a local community willing and able to manifest the vision of what this movement could represent for its citizens. The organization that first pointed me toward the Safe Community movement was the Industrial Accident Prevention Association of Ontario, which employed injury prevention experts in every region of Ontario. Through this network I was directed toward one community that would soon become the first champion of a national effort to reduce injuries at a community level. And this is how I came to meet Barry King, Chief of Police in Brockville Ontario. Barry has now retired (well actually in truth he will never truly retire after a 46 year policing career. He served as Chief for 20 years in Brockville and Sault Ste. Marie, was Superintendent at Peel Region Police and began his career as a military police officer. Barry took it on. He, with David Paul, was responsible for creating the first nationally designated Safe Community in Canada, in Brockville.  His community was designated the very first day we launched the national organization as well. So, while Barry’s professional work in crime and harm reduction was one thing, his volunteer service and leadership in community safety was above and beyond; a source for the inspiration I personally took from this incredible man. Barry was one of those police guys who got the connection that preventing harm would be at least as important as dealing with it after bad things happened. He was instrumental in building on efforts that not only reduced injuries through education and awareness, but also focused on building confidence and character in young people, particularly for those at more risk than others. Barry is the ultimate Up-Stander. He not only talked the talk, which he did by travelling anywhere in Canada or abroad to tell anyone who would listen what it means to take on the challenge of becoming a Safe Community, but did it for real day-in, day-out back home. Even more than that that, as an international Safe Community which is obliged to seek out ways to help out other communities in other countries, Barry took it the whole nine yards. Some thirty years ago, a nuclear power plant imploded in Chernobyl, Ukraine.  It devastated the area, created a toxic environment in the immediate surroundings with lasting after effects from radiation exposures.  Some years later, after the founding of Safe Communities in Brockville, Barry partnered with Canadian Aid for Chernobyl. He travelled to Belarus to support the Chausy and Minsk Police and Fire Departments to champion a Safe Community....

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