2020 Atlantic Emergency Management Virtual Volunteer Conference: Leading Through Change


That’s a wrap! Wow! That was an amazing week, jam packed with some incredible information.
The Atlantic Emergency Management team would like to THANK YOU for attending the first-ever Atlantic Emergency Management (EM) Virtual Volunteer Conference. Your active participation and support contributed to the success of the event! We really couldn't have done it without you.

If you were unable to attend or wanted to re-watch a session the links and resources can be found below.

If you would like to read the opening remarks from Louise Castonguay, Vice President, Atlantic & Rhonda Kenney, Director, Emergency Management, Atlantic or learn more about our speakers, in our agenda for the weekend.

Atlantic VVC 2020 - Conference Program

We are also seeking your feedback to ensure the success of future iterations of the event. We would greatly appreciate your time to take this 3-minute survey.

The videos and below information will only be posted until Jan 31, 2021.

If you have questions regarding anything contained within the conference or are looking for additional resources on any of the topics, please contact AtlanticEMVolunteers@redcross.ca


Lunch & Learns:
Leaving No One Behind: Monday, November 16th
Elizabeth Siegal & Mary Ennis, Seniors NL

Are older adults appropriately supported in times of Emergency? Sometimes, the answer is “No!” This webinar explores why the needs of seniors are often neglected during an Emergency and what you should consider when helping seniors, such as avoiding stereotypes, communicating with seniors, meeting immediate needs and special needs, certain barriers that may prevent them from getting back on their feet in a timely manner, and what to do after the emergency turns into “just” difficult times. Mary Ennis and Elizabeth Siegel of Seniors NL also discuss the concerns and issues they are hearing from the seniors they service, as well as provide suggestions for connecting seniors to resources after the initial Red Cross emergency support has ended.


Inclusion and Supports for Refugees in Disaster: Tuesday, November 17th
Freddy Mugisho, Motivational speaker and trainer born in the DRC

Learn what makes services inclusive and how to better support refugees in times of disaster. This session covers the personal experience and powerful testimony of someone whose lived experience as a refugee and informs about the work that he does to increase inclusion everywhere he goes. The session addresses two important questions: What are the challenges of refugees to Canada? And what are the solutions to overcome these challenges?

On-Call 101 – The Volunteer Duty Officer: Wednesday, November 18th
David Williams, ERT Supervisor, Volunteer Duty Officer & Stacie Yates, Manager, Client Services

Are you ready to take the next step in supporting PDA responses in your province? Have you thought about carrying the Volunteer Duty Officer on-call phone but are intimidated by the thought of a 2am call? In this session current Duty Officers share their experience and dispel some of the myths about this role. We also hear from the Saint John Call Centre and the supports they can provide during a call. The session ends with a review the main responsibilities and discusses the supports in place for this very important function.

Tools of the Trade: Thursday, November 19th
Jillian Mullowney, Emergency Management Coordinator

Work through a PDA response step by step as a group with your fellow volunteers. We cover hotel booking, payment cards, completing / submitting Registration & Needs Assessment Forms and Response Reports – all virtually. Follow along as you complete a PDA response from start to finish.

Come Volunteer with Canadian Red Cross – Virtual Information Session: Thursday, November 19th - Evening Session
  • Brandy Cheramie, Emergency Management, NS
  • Brenda Gagnon, Community Health & Wellness, NL
  • Ryan Wade, Emergency Management, NB
  • Erin Kielly, Emergency Management, PE
  • Hector Suarez, Emergency Management, NL
  • Marie Oake, Community Health & Wellness, NS

Ready to make a positive difference in someone’s life and to create a better community? This is a virtual information session on volunteering with the Canadian Red Cross. Hear first-hand from volunteers in Emergency Management and Community Health about their experiences supporting the lives of Canadians in need.

EM Learning Path PDF

Weather Informed Decision Marking: Friday, November 20th
Bob Robichaud, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist

A review of the busiest hurricane season on record, describes winter weather and winter weather information, and gives us a sneak peek at what we can expect for winter 2020-2021.

Conference Opening: Friday, November 20th
Leading Through Change is what Emergency Management volunteers across Atlantic Canada have done since the beginning of the ongoing pandemic. This session is the launch the Atlantic Virtual Volunteer Conference 2020, the first of its kind, centered on the theme of leading in a time of change.

Traditional First Nations Welcome
Jeffery Ward, General Manager, Membertou Heritage Park Indigenous Cultural Centre

Welcome and Opening Remarks
Laura McNamara, Conference Moderator & Emergency Management Coordinator; Louise Castonguay, Vice President, Atlantic; Rhonda Kenney, Director, Emergency Management, Atlantic

Year in Review
Rhonda Kenney, Director, Emergency Management; Ancel Langille, Senior Manager, Emergency Management

A look back Emergency Management in Atlantic Canada over the last year, where we are so far this year and a review of the COVID-19 response.

A Message from Conrad Sauve, President and Chief Executive Officer
Vision 2025, COVID-19 & Canadian Operations

Core Sessions: Saturday, November 21st

Canadian Operations: Emergency Management
Jean-Philippe Tizi, Chief of Canadian Operations

Keynote - Leading Through Change
Ann Clancy, Chief People Officer.

VolX – Paving the way to a more dynamic and engaging volunteer experience
Louise Geoffrion, Senior Director, Volunteer Resources

Learn how VolX will positively transform the volunteer experience and create new ways of engaging volunteers at the Canadian Red Cross. Louise takes you through the creation of a new technology platform being developed based on feedback and input from volunteers that will better match you with the experiences you seek, allow you access to enhanced training and make it easier for you to engage with the Canadian Red Cross. Learn what’s been done so far, where we are at now, and the exciting things to come. An update on the status of the improvements to the Volunteer Experience, Volunteer Hub, etc.

Reclaiming our Resilience: An Exploration of First Nations Emergency Management
Emily Dicken, Director, Emergency Management, First Nations Health Authority

This session takes a strengths-based approach to explore the wise practices held within First Nations communities and the capacity building that is happening across the field of practice for emergency management at the community level. By grounding approaches to emergency management through physical, spiritual, emotional and cultural ways of being, Indigenous practitioners within the field of emergency management are creating a space for an all of community and deeply holistic approach to their practice. Learn more from a practitioner within this area of work.

Mindfulness & Grounding Techniques for Responders
Vanessa Salvatore, Therapeutic Yoga and Meditation Instructor

This workshop includes a short lecture on simple and easy to apply mindfulness and grounding techniques. A few techniques to be implemented in response and in everyday life are covered. The exercises serve volunteers in reconnecting to the body and having the space within to notice what arises.

Leading through Change Mindfulness Practices PDF

Leading through Change Resources PDF

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support – A Holistic Approach to Emergency Management
Alison Lynch Richard, Manager, Mental Health & Psychosocial Support; Shelly Collins, Advisor, Violence Prevention; Michelle Arsenault, Volunteer, Emergency Management, Safety & Well Being

Learn about CRC’s role in emergency response and recovery and the added complexities of COVID-19; Recognize how Mental Health and Psychosocial Support is embedded into all CRC operations; Debunk the Myths about Safety and Wellbeing; Engage with a fellow volunteer about the importance of self-care during response; Access tools to support your mental health in your volunteer role.

PFA Pocket Guide PDF

Self-Care Plan PDF

Expanding our Humanitarian Workforce: Strengthening Predictability and Agility
Melanie Soler, Vice President, Emergency Management

The support we’ll provide over the next several months requires us to rapidly develop new ways of working – to surge quickly to ensure our humanitarian workforce can be even more predictable and agile than it is today. We are piloting a new category within our workforce model – reservists. While we are continuing to engage and expand our volunteer strengths and leverage the full skills and experience of our staff and delegates.

Government Relations
Bill Lawlor, Provincial Director, NB & PE, & Atlantic Director, Government Relations

Canadian Red Cross works in auxiliary to and in support of federal, provincial and local governments both in times of emergency preparedness and response. In every instance, government is the ultimate authority on managing the emergency event. However, no government can do so alone. A successful response to any emergency event requires the engagement of multiple organizations and stakeholders including government, corporate and non-profit sectors. As Canadian Red Cross continues to evolve through our current pandemic and prepares to continually evolve once the pandemic is done, government relations are critical to ensuring the effective engagement of our volunteer workforce and other resources to ensure those who need help receive it quickly. This session will inform participants government relations is everyone’s responsibility which requires laser focus and coordination in order to achieve optimal results.

Decision Making During Natural Disasters
Major George Williams, Provincial Liaison Officer, Joint Task Force Atlantic

This session focuses on how the Canadian Armed Forces plan and assist the provinces when dealing with Natural Disasters and calls for assistance. It highlights the capabilities that they bring to the table and how they are integrated into all EMO Provincial and Federal agencies to assist in the background to help.

Impacts of Climate Change on Coastal Areas in Atlantic Canada
Nancy Anningson, Coastal Adaptation Senior Coordinator, Ecology Action Centre

This session focuses on climate change impacts along our coastline, the risks that these present and we explore adaptation options to mitigate risk. We look at risk prevention strategies and adaptation activities to protect coastal communities from extreme weather events. Understanding of risks and adaptation options is the best way to keep people safe and this workshop will endeavour to build awareness and provide participants with tools and resources that they can use and share.

Youth Advocate for Change
Rebeccah Raphael, Founder, Halifax Helpers

We discuss the benefits of youth involvement as well as tools and ideas that people can use to increase youth participation in volunteerism. Stories and ideas are shared by Rebeccah Raphael, the founder of a youth run, non-profit service, that offers tutoring sessions to P-12 students, as well as other members of the organization.


LGBTQ2S+ Introduction to Gender Diversity & Language
TJ Jones & Logan St. Croix, Trans Support NL

We discuss terminology and language used within the trans community, differentiate between gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, and introduce the different types of transition and what they can look like for gender diverse folks. We end with a list of resources, and then opened the floor for questions.

Gender Fluidity & Care Guide PDF


VVC2020 Conference Wrap Up
Laura McNamara, Conference Moderator & EMC

Review results of Atlantic Volunteer Survey & Creation of Atlantic Action Plan