National Day of Observance

March 11, 2021

Early last year, our lives were profoundly changed with the emergence of COVID-19. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, and countries around the world began to quickly shut down and prepare for what would become an unprecedented year in modern history. Today as our nation marks a National Day of Observance to commemorate the more than 22,000 people in Canada who lost their lives to this deadly virus, we also reflect on the tremendous sacrifices you all made to respond in a time of crisis.

We know this year has been difficult. From personal losses and missed time with family and friends to pushing yourself to your outer limits professionally, you put the greater needs of our community above all else. And now, as we ask you to dig deep again and support vaccination efforts, you continue to show an unparalleled level of resilience. I know words will never be enough, but on behalf of Senior Leadership, our partners and the community, we thank you.

We have learned much so over the past 12 months. Not only about how to detect, treat and now vaccinate against the virus, but also about the depth of our collective commitment during times of need. As the world around us quickly changed – sometimes by the hour – individuals across Women’s College Hospital continually rose to the challenge and came together to innovate and reimagine care.

The list of all you have been able to accomplish cannot be captured in a simple email. Running an Assessment Centre, supporting long-term care residences when they were in dire need, going into shelters, congregate care and schools with mobile assessment teams, and most recently working with nearly 60 community partners to vaccinate front-line community healthcare workers are just some of the most visible achievements. Throughout this time, we kept our clinical services accessible to our community and pivoted quickly to virtual care. Our front-line response wouldn’t have been possible without the hundreds of people keeping their home units running and providing all the critical infrastructure support needed from infection prevention and control, labs, imaging and EVS to IT, finance, receiving, HR, communications and more. Each of you was critical. Next week in Connect and on social media, we will be sharing images from this past year to recognize and honour your work, commitment and dedication.

As we look towards the future, it is with hope. Our journey is not over, but with every vaccination we move one step closer to returning to the lives we once knew. For Women’s College, the sacrifices from the past year will not be in vain and we will build back better. 

With tremendous gratitude,