Oliver Grüter-Andrew, President and CEO
March 6 was an incredibly proud moment for all of us at E-Comm, as we joined our Vancouver Island partners in officially opening a new public-safety asset for British Columbia: the state-of-the-art South Island 9-1-1/Police Dispatch Centre.
The vision demonstrated by police leadership and the Capital Regional District cannot be overstated, as we collectively witnessed the culmination of four years of planning come to fruition with the cutting of the ribbon by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and two of our newest E-Comm team members, Rachelle and Lauretta. To be welcomed to lands of the Lekwungen People by Florence Dick of the Songhees Nation just prior to that ceremonial moment was a great honour for us all. We now turn our attention to what we focus on every day—the safety of the public and the police officers we send to help them. We are committed to providing the best possible service to all.
Public-safety service expansion was not isolated to just Vancouver Island this past quarter as we also welcomed the transition of dispatch services for 22 fire departments in the Fraser Valley and North Okanagan to E-Comm in February. This move enhances and strengthens our public safety relationship with both regional districts, as we have been handling 9-1-1 calls for the Fraser Valley since 2014 and the North Okanagan since 2016. We know our fire team—our call takers and dispatchers—will provide the citizens and firefighters in both regions with an excellent level of service as we work together to help save lives and protect property.
We have just recently put the finishing touches on our new strategic plan and are rolling it out starting in May. We have shared our plan with all E-Comm staff to ensure they are fully aware of the direction we want to take our work in support of our public safety partners and the public. The focus of our plan is on five key Commitments, or pillars—Service, People, Innovation, Relationships and Expansion—and 10 key initiatives that we believe will be of great interest to our stakeholders.
I am grateful to our Board for its leadership in developing our plan and to our many stakeholders for their input. I look forward to sharing the details in the coming months.
Before then, I wish to acknowledge all 9-1-1 call takers, dispatchers and support staff at E-Comm and around the province for their incredible contribution to public safety as we close out another 9-1-1 Awareness Week. I also wish to thank Province of British Columbia for its April announcement that Amendments to Mental Disorder Presumption Regulation will now provide emergency dispatchers with easier access to workers’ compensation for mental-health disorders that come from work-related trauma. This is an incredible acknowledgement of these roles and one I look forward to providing more information on in our next issue.