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February

28Feb

Bike stolen in Vancouver the very first time newcomer locked it outside

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It was not the “welcome to Canada” moment that Mahshid Hadi was expecting.

The 27-year-old moved to Coqutilam from Turkey in December and the very first time she locked her bike in downtown Vancouver it was stolen.

“I didn’t bring any clothes with me – I just carried my bike with me,” Hadi said, explaining that her bike took up most of her 23-kilogram suitcase during the journey to Canada.

Originally from Iran, Hadi was a refugee in Turkey for more than four years.

Working as an ELS teacher, she said it took two years to save up enough money to buy the bike. Hadi said she would ride from one poor community to another – teaching kids how to ride it.

“This bike meant a lot to me because it carried so many stories with it,” Hadi said.

On Saturday, Feb. 23, Hadi had locked her bike on Homer Street in front of Westside Church, where she was volunteering at a film festival. When she came out it was gone.

“I was thinking, the world is gone from in front of my eyes,” Hadi said.

One security camera in the area recorded the moment two thieves approach her bike. According to the video, at 8:24 p.m. a man appears to cut her bike lock and ride away.

Another woman seen in the video follows the thief using a different bike.

“Bike thefts continue to be an issue in Vancouver and other cities around British Columbia,” explained Const. Jason Doucette with Vancouver Police.

Doucette said more than 2,000 bikes were stolen in the city in 2018.

Vancouver police recommend owners record the serial number on their bike, take a photo of the bike, and also take a photo of them with the bike.

“We recover many bikes that are stolen and we can’t link back to an owner and they end up going to auction and we don’t want to do that,” Doucette explained.

Meanwhile, Hadi is holding out hope someone will read her story and find it in their heart to return the bike.

Her message to the thief is, “This bike is much more than what you may think or imagine. It affects my life, it affects my future opportunities. I would like this bike back.”


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28Feb

Teachers honoured for saving student in cardiac arrest

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Two Okanagan teachers were honoured by B.C. Emergency Health Services in Oliver on Tuesday for helping save the life of a student who went into cardiac arrest during gym class about a month ago. 

South Okanagan Secondary School teachers Steve Podomorow and Mike Russo resuscitated 13-year-old, Dilshaan Dhaliwal, using CPR and an automated external defibrillator or AED. 

“[The AED] gave him the best chance he could have possibly had. So, the AED was paramount in the success of this,” said Russo.

Quick action

During a joint gym class Jan. 30 with Russo’s Grade 8 class and Podomorow ‘s senior class, Dhaliwal collapsed after a 12 minute run, Podomorow told Daybreak South host Chris Walker. 

The Grade 8 student had just handed in his running results to Russo and was walking past Podomorow, when he went into cardiac arrest.

“I’m the first aid person at the school and checked him out quickly, got 911 on the phone and started the CPR process,” said Russo.

Oliver student Dilshaan Dhaliwal was flown to B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver for treatment after going into sudden cardiac arrest in gym class at school. (BC Emergency Health Services)

Podomorow said the 911 dispatcher stayed on the line with them the entire time, helping them throughout the process.

“We had the AED on and starting CPR probably within two to three minutes,” said Russo.

He estimates that he performed CPR for about eight or nine minutes. Dhaliwal was later flown to the B.C. Children’s Hospital for treatment. 

AED

“We were very fortunate to have the AED really close by,” said Podomorow. He said the easy accessibility to the defibrillator helped them and the paramedics use it quickly. 

Russo said he believes the AED, in addition to CPR, saved Dhaliwal’s life. 

“He was in a shockable rhythm and so when you have the AED there, we can hopefully reset the heart, and it was able to do that,” said Russo.

Many schools across the Okanagan have AEDs, but not all do.

The AED at South Okanagan Secondary School had been donated by the Advanced Coronary Treatment Foundation.

The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District announced last week that it would be adding defibrillators to all of its schools over the next three years.

Award

“[The incident] was definitely somewhat alarming, especially for me, but I think we work well together,” said Podomorow.

Russo, who is also a volunteer fireman, and Podomorrow were awarded the Vital Link Award by B.C. Emergency Health Services for their quick actions.   

Meanwhile, Podmorrow said Dhaliwal has been recovering at home but will have to undergo another procedure. 

“We’re very excited for his return and hope to see him around here soon,” said Podmorrow.

Two Okanagan teachers were honoured by BC Emergency Health Services in Oliver on Tuesday, for saving the life of a student who went into cardiac arrest during gym class about a month ago. 6:05

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28Feb

Daphne Bramham: First Nations’ solution to a modern, medical crisis

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Ending Canada’s opioid overdose crisis will likely require much more than sophisticated drug therapies. In fact, it might mean following the lead of First Nations health-care providers and transforming how we think about and deliver medical services.

First Nations people are dying of opioid overdoses at three times the rate of the general population. Hidden in that data are Canada’s most-neglected victims — Indigenous women.

Unlike in the general population where men comprise 80 per cent of the victims, Indigenous women are as likely to overdose or die as their brothers, fathers, husbands and sons.

They are eight times more likely to overdose than other women, and five times more likely to die from an overdose.

It’s not really surprising, says Dr. Evan Adams, the First Nations Health Authority’s chief medical health officer. The terrible numbers track other devastating indicators of how their health and longevity diverge from those of other Canadians.

“A lot of First Nations women who have substance-use disorders are exploited women. They are women who are victimized by the sex trade. They’re victimized by their partners,” said Adams, who worked for five years in Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside, the epicentre of Canada’s opioid crisis.

What the opioid crisis highlights for him is the endemic problem of the western medical model, where people go passively to doctors’ offices and say, “Heal me.”


Dr. Evan Adams is the Chief Medical Officer for the First Nations Health Authority.

Jason Payne /

PNG

“Our (First Nations) model is that the doctor gives you a chance to get better. But, you make yourself better,” he said. “It’s your family that does most of the work of helping you get better, not that doctor who you visit for 15 minutes every week, if you’re lucky.”

Unlike in the western model, healing and wellness in the traditional Indigenous way involve mind, body and spirit. For First Nations men and women to achieve wellness, Adams said they require much more than medicine.

“They need healers who can do ceremony. Maybe they need love. They need justice.

“How can a woman recover from opioid use disorder when you won’t let her see her children? It’s disgusting,” he said.

The day Adams and I met, the FNHA offices were being “swept” by a group of elders carrying cedar boughs and candles using traditional ceremonies to restore the spirits of the people who work there.

“Some people would say an elder is less trained in opioids than an addictions physician,” Adams said. “But wouldn’t it be nice to have both?”

It’s not that FNHA rejects modern medicine. It continues to expand access to opioid agonist treatments such as methadone and Suboxone, which quell cravings, making it available at all FNHA nursing stations and at four of the nine FNHA-funded residential treatment centres. FNHA reimburses treatment fees charged by private clinics and has spent $2.4 million in grants to 55 communities for harm-reduction programs.

Yet, for Adams and his staff, drug therapies are only a small part of what he calls harm reduction’s suite of services.


The Crosstown Clinic in downtown Vancouver.

JONATHAN HAYWARD /

THE CANADIAN PRESS

“Harm reduction is not just, ‘Let’s make sure you don’t overdose.’ It’s the whole person that you have to treat, not just this one aspect of the person that is craving opioids.”

To incorporate First Nations wisdom into other programs, FNHA created two peer coordinator jobs at the Crosstown Clinic in the Downtown Eastside. Its compassion inclusion initiative has engaged another 144 Indigenous people with lived experience across B.C., and its Indigenous wellness team has taught indigenous harm-reduction and wellness programs in 180 communities.

“Opioid use disorder is everyone’s business. It’s yours and it’s mine and it’s everyone around us. It’s not just the domain of physicians with 24 years of training,” he said. “Why can’t Grandma help, or a family member?”

What concerns Adams about the response to the opioid crisis that is heavily grounded in the medical model is that it could widen the gap between his people and mainstream Canadians.

Indigenous people don’t necessarily trust health providers who don’t look like them or where there is no acknowledgment of the historical trauma they have suffered and their unique experiences in the world.

That’s just one more reason why the FHNA, which is unique in Canada, is so adamant that it must transform the way health care is delivered to its people so that they are empowered to help in their own healing within their own circles of trusted friends, family and elders.

This current crisis is rooted in the western medical model. The seeds were sown by an aggressive marketing campaign by Purdue Pharma, which falsely promoted its Oxycodone as being non-addictive. What followed was an epidemic of opioid over-prescription by physicians and other health-care professionals that eventually created a demand for synthetic opioids on the black market.

With so many deaths and no end in sight, this might be the time for all of us to reconsider whether the best responses to this crisis ought to be done within a much broader context of healing and an expanded understanding of what wellness really means.

[email protected]

Twitter: @bramham_daphne


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28Feb

Caregivers for B.C.’s most vulnerable get first pay increase in a decade

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Foster parents, adoptive caregivers, extended family members caring for children and Community Living BC (CLBC) home-share providers will each receive a boost in support payments – the first increase in 10 years – to make life more affordable and provide more support to some of B.C.’s most-vulnerable children and adults.

“Caregivers open their homes and hearts to children and adults who need their support,” said Premier John Horgan. “For 10 years, the cost of living has steadily increased while caregiver rates have stagnated. Our government is making different choices by increasing support rates for caregivers, to make life more affordable and build stronger, more inclusive communities.”

Budget 2019 provides approximately $64 million over three years to the Ministry of Children and Family Development and $45 million over three years to the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction to boost monthly caregiver rates.

“I have met with so many foster parents and family caregivers, especially grandmothers, who have been struggling to provide for the children in their care. Their stories resonated with me and I knew this was the right thing to do,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “The most important thing is that children are raised in a safe, loving home, and I am proud to be part of a government that is addressing a long-standing inequity for extended families, especially Indigenous families, and investing in the well-being of all children when they need it most.”

For family members caring for children through the Extended Family Program, support will nearly double and will be paid at the same rate as foster caregivers. This increase is part of government’s commitment to meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and addresses recommendations by Grand Chief Ed John.

“I am pleased the B.C. government is taking steps to address this key recommendation of my report, which identified the disparity between the caregiver rates and extended family rates as being a clear barrier to permanency for many children in care,” said Grand Chief Ed John. “Bringing these rates in line will undoubtedly lead to both an increase of permanent placements as well as an increased quality of care for children placed with extended family members. This is especially important for Indigenous children in care as it will result in greater opportunities for placements with extended family within their communities, thereby maintaining access to their culture and language.”

Budget 2019 will provide foster parents with an additional $179 each month to help cover basic necessities for children in their care, including food, shelter and clothing.

Eligible adoptive parents, many of them adding children with special needs and/or sibling groups to their families, will receive an additional $105 to $120 per month for post-adoption assistance to help meet increases in the costs of living.

“This announcement is a wonderful acknowledgement of the work that foster parents and other caregivers do to emotionally and financially support children and youth in B.C.,” said Russell Pohl, a long-time foster and adoptive parent. “It’s good to know that this government is looking out for us and valuing our contribution.”

Community Living BC home-share provider rates are based on the individual needs of the person in care. The $45 million in funding over three years is a 15% increase for the program. After 10 years without an increase in home-share provider funding, CLBC is updating the program rate structure to better align with the disability-related needs of each individual.

“Home-share promotes social inclusion and helps keep people with developmental disabilities connected to their communities,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Over the last year, we have engaged with individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to look closely at CLBC supports and plot a new vision for the next 10 years. This increase recognizes the important work of home-share providers. It is long overdue, well deserved and one more step in the work we are doing with the community to create a truly accessible and inclusive province.” 

CLBC will be working with home-share providers over the next few weeks to work through the details. The rate increases will vary under the new rate structure, but all home share providers will receive an increase over the next two years.

In 2018, CLBC engaged with home-share providers to find out how government can better support them in their vital work. The primary concern reported was low rates, which had not kept up with rising household costs and growing demand for the program.

Rate increases for Ministry of Children and Family Development caregivers will come into effect April 1, 2019.

For a breakdown of caregiver rate increases by caregiver type, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/maintenance_rate_increases_by_care_category.pdf

A backgrounder follows.


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28Feb

Review: Kora Organics Noni Glow Sleeping Mask (and more!)

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Kora Organics Noni Glow Sleeping Mask


Kora Organics Noni Glow Sleeping Mask.


Handout

Kora Organics

Noni Glow Sleeping Mask

They say: A face mask from supermodel Miranda Kerr’s brand Kora Organics that features Silver Ear mushroom, coconut milk and caviar-lime extract to deliver “smoother, plumper-looking skin” while you sleep. The product is said to be suitable for all skin types including normal, dry, combination and oily.

We say: Our tester loved the way this gel-texture mask left her skin looking hydrated and “bouncy” in the morning. Applied to clean, dry skin, a small dollop of the mask smooths easily onto skin and dries quickly, leaving only a slightly tacky feel. In the morning, the mask washes off easily with warm water.

$60 | Sephora; sephora.com

Nanette de Gaspé Bain Noir Cannabis Sativa Bath Soak Treatment

Nanette de Gaspé

Bain Noir Cannabis Sativa Bath Soak Treatment

They say: A luxurious bath soak from Nanette de Gaspé that features hemp-derived Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil, as well as Meadowfoam and Poppy Seed Oils, to “soothe, revive and protect the skin while also de-stressing the mind and body.”

We say: Cannabis, in various shapes and forms, has been a hot ingredient in beauty and wellness products in recent years. Our tester, who is new to the movement, was pleased with the entire product experience of this luxe bath soak. A small scoop of the dark-purple formula into the water provided a powerful punch of pleasant scent — not to mention a deep hue. A 20-minute soak left her body, not to mention her mind, feeling completely relaxed.

$325 | Holt Renfrew; nannettedegaspe.com

Nude by Nature Touch of Glow Highlight Stick

Nude by Nature

Touch of Glow Highlight Stick

They say: A glide-on “cream-to-powder” highlighting formula featuring active natural ingredients such as Australian Kakadu Plum, Quandong and Desert Lime. The fragrance-free formula also features Carnauba Wax and Vitamin E to smooth and soften the complexion.

We say: Our tester was impressed with both the colour payoff and the feel of this product. The easy-to-apply stick blends easily onto skin with one’s fingertip and stays comfortable (read: non-sticky or greasy) throughout the day. Our testers, women in their 30s and 60s, used the shade 04 Opal on their cheekbones and down the bridge of the nose for an instant, non-glittery glow.

$28 | Nudebynature.ca

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27Feb

Two more measles cases in Vancouver, bringing total to 15 infections

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Two new cases of measles have been reported in Vancouver, bringing the total number of infections in the area to 15.

Vancouver Coastal Health said both new cases are related to the outbreak centred on two French-language schools.

It says both individuals had been receiving follow-up care as they were known to have been exposed to people with measles infections.

Of the 15 measles cases in the Vancouver area, 12 are related to the school outbreak that began when one child acquired the disease while travelling in Asia.

The health authority says the three other cases are unrelated to the school outbreak and were acquired while the people were travelling.

The authority says it’s possible that more cases might occur in people who were previously exposed, since the incubation period for measles is 21 days.


A nurse prepares a combined vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella

Luke Hendry /

Luke Hendry/Belleville Intellige


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27Feb

Woman wrongfully held in B.C. hospital for almost one year: Judge

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File: A woman wearing hospital scrubs walks towards the ER at Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, BC, November, 27, 2013.


RICHARD LAM / PROVINCE

The Supreme Court of British Columbia says a woman’s rights were violated when she was held in hospital for almost one year without being provided with any written reasons for the detention or an opportunity for legal advice.

In a ruling released this week, Justice Lisa Warren describes the 39-year-old woman as “highly vulnerable” and says she suffers from cognitive impairments, mental health issues and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

The ruling says staff at the Fraser Health Authority had good reason to believe the woman, identified as A.H. in a court document, had been abused and was at risk of serious harm when she was taken into care on Oct. 6, 2016.

But it says there is also no doubt the health authority could have promptly applied for a provincial court order authorizing the provision of support and services for her.

The decision says A.H. was held in conditions that violated her residual liberty, including being placed in mechanical restraints, not allowed out of a facility to get fresh air and restrictions were placed on visitor, phone and internet access.

A provincial court judge granted the required order to the health authority on Sept. 22, 2017, on the grounds the woman was abused or neglected, was incapable of deciding not to accept the services proposed and would benefit from the support.


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27Feb

BC auditor general says urban ambulance response times below targets

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VICTORIA — Auditor general Carol Bellringer says emergency ambulance response times in British Columbia’s urban areas are well below their time targets.

Bellringer says in an audit on emergency health services that missed response times in cities is significant because urban areas account for 86 per cent of B.C.’s life-threatening 911 calls.

Her report says when emergency response-time targets are not met, patients may not be receiving care when they need it.

The audit, for the period running April 2016 to December 2017, says ambulances in urban areas reached their nine-minute response time target on 50 per cent of life-threatening calls, while responses in rural and remote areas achieved and exceeded the time targets.

The report says B.C. Emergency Health Services has recently added more staff and introduced a new dispatch process, but data from 2018 indicates only a slight improvement in urban response times on calls to 51 per cent.

Bellringer’s report also calls for better co-ordination between ambulance services and fire departments, which often dispatch firefighters to emergency calls.


People walk past ambulances in the Emergency bay at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, B.C

Gerry Kahrmann /

PNG


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27Feb

Dementia law report recommends better oversight on health care consent

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Jim Mann wants everyone to know that he’s more than his dementia.

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 12 years ago, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be involved in making decisions about his health.

The distinction is important for Mann — and many others living with dementia. The Surrey resident is thinking a lot about consent these days after being part of an advisory committee on health care consent for people with dementia. Their report, Conversations About Care, was released Feb. 27.


Surrey resident Jim Mann was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 12 years ago.

Arlen Redekop /

PNG

Mann, 70, said professionals in health care still make assumptions about people with dementia.

He recalled an emergency room incident when a nurse yelled his name and added “patient only.”

“My wife and I stood up and walked over. Halfway there, she (the nurse) yelled again ‘patient only.’ I got up to her and said ‘my wife needs to be with me. I have Alzheimer’s.’ She turned around and looked me up and down and said ‘well, you look fine.’ “

Mann said that while the public might not always understand that dementia is a cognitive impairment not a physical one and therefore not visible, he believes that kind of language isn’t acceptable in a health care environment.

“Within the medical system, I’m sorry, you should really know this by now,” he said.


Jim Mann says professionals in health care still make assumptions about people with dementia.

Arlen Redekop /

PNG

The two-year collaborative research project that Mann was a part of was undertaken by the Canadian Centre for Elder Law and the Alzheimer Society of B.C. Funding included a $40,000 grant from the Law Foundation of B.C.

The goal of the project’s Conversations About Care report is to ensure that the legal framework in B.C. remains strong enough to protect people living with dementia as well as those named as their legal substitutes.

In 2018, about 70,000 people in B.C. were living with dementia. By 2033, that number is estimated to increase to almost 120,000.

Krista James, national director of Canadian Centre for Elder Law at the University of B.C., said the report is intended to start a conversation about the rights of people with dementia.

“I feel that we’re missing that rights-based lens that recognizes the rights of older people to make choices about what happens to them,” she said.

Related

“Although the law is different in each jurisdiction, and this report applies specifically to the experience in B.C., we need to open up that conversation to think about the citizenship rights of older people in a health care context. It’s really urgent.”

The report’s 34 recommendations were developed through a process that included consultation with people living with dementia, family caregivers, health care professionals, and others who deal with consent on a regular basis.

James said the origins of the report came from phone calls she received from family caregivers who felt frustrated that decisions were being made without consultation.

B.C. is ahead of many other provinces because of our comprehensive health care consent statute called the Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act.

“From our perspective, the health care consent law in B.C. is super robust and I think fairly clear,” James said.

“It says if it’s not an emergency, you need to get that prior informed consent. The care facility regulations that govern long term care don’t seem to be consistent. There is a lot more wiggle room.”

That means some physicians, licensed practical nurses and care aids don’t understand the concept of prior informed consent for non-emergency care.

“I have talked to a few people who think that if the person is in the care facility they have consented to all the care that the people who work there think is the right care for them,” she said.

“Some of the staff don’t understand they have to get consent. They confuse admission to the care facility with consent to all the meds.”

One of the report’s recommendations calls for all licensed long-term care facilities to set out rules on restraints, including chemical restraints (medications such as antipsychotics used to control aggressive behaviour).

Other big concerns include the challenge of sorting out situations where family members making decisions about care for someone with dementia can’t agree on what to do. One way to address that, James said, is to have social workers involved in helping families find a solution.

James said the report recognizes that health care providers are never going to be experts on the law.

“They’re not lawyers,” she said. “We shouldn’t expect them to be experts on the finer details of the law. They need to have support so they can properly interpret the law.”

Related


Recommendations of the report

• Improving health care decision-making laws in B.C. by adding language to recognize that people’s capacity to make health care decisions can vary from day to day and decision to decision, and that they be involved to the greatest degree possible in all case planning and decision-making.

• Address barriers to informed consent experienced by Indigenous people and people who need language interpretation, and create financial incentives to support physicians so they can spend time to talk with patients and families.

• Create a review tribunal to allow people living with dementia to review health care decisions made by substitute decision makers.

[email protected]

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26Feb

Certified gold: BC bank branches given Rick Hansen Foundation top certification

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Vancity clients and staff with disabilities will have greater access at the bank’s head office in Vancouver or the Burnaby Heights branch.

Today, both buildings were awarded gold accessibility certifications by the Rick Hansen Foundation – the first financial institution and the third company in B.C. to receive the rating.

The foundation’s namesake, Rick Hansen, was in Burnaby Heights to celebrate the milestone achievement.

“They’ve set a really high bar to become much more inclusive for everybody not just for their staff but for their customers and community,” Hansen told CTV News.

“It’s the new standard that we want to recognize and create across Canada and all across the world.” 

Hansen said that the country has come a long way in accessibility, and his foundation wants to turn a “made-in-BC global solution” into an industry standard worth praising.

“We’ll train industry professionals – they’ll have all the knowledge and tools, we’ll have an objective rating, and then we’ll reconigze people,” he said.

“We want innovation to keep going and think about their buildings and how they function for people who desperately need those barriers removed,” said Hansen.

Vancity president and CEO Tamara Vrooman said when the company decided to rebuild their Burnaby Heights branch, it was done with more than sustainability or aesthetics in mind.

“For our staff and our community, if you can’t come in and see us, it’s very difficult to be part of our great organization,” she said.

Vrooman is also the current chair of the Rick Hansen Foundation board. The bank’s Burnaby Heights Community branch features:

  • Fully accessible Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that include grab bars, knee clearance for chair users, accessible buttons, and plugs for head phones;

  • Power doors in all entrances;

  • Contrasting colour flooring and walls for improved wayfinding;

  • A lowered teller counter with hearing assistance for employees and members; and

  • Accessible washrooms with inclusive signage

More than 1,100 buildings across the province have been registered for rating by the foundation.


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