Civil Security team awarded for collaborative spirit in helping asylum seekers

Award recipients, from left: Rosalie Lefebvre (CIUSSS Mauricie and Central Quebec), Yves Gingras (CIUSSS South-Central Montreal), François Lessard (CIUSSS Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean), Martin Simard (MSSS), Christian Samoisette (CIUSSS West-Central Montreal), Dominic Desrosiers-Fortin (CISSS Chaudière-Appalaches), Denis Boucher (CIUSSS East Montreal), Neil Michaels (CIUSSS West-Central Montreal), Raffelle Fragasso, Catherine Maillet and Caroline Dusablon (CIUSSS South-Central Montreal ), Janick Landry (CISSS Côte-Nord), Roger Flaschner, Johanne Fradette (CIUSSS East Montreal) and Bruce Lapointe (CIUSSS South-Central Montreal).

When the refugees arrived in Quebec in droves this summer, they weren’t left out in the cold.

Called upon to organize shelter for the asylum seekers, civil security teams from our network rapidly mobilized, teaming up with their counterparts from CIUSSS South-Central Montreal. Their collaborative spirit was recognized with a Roger Flaschner Award for Partnership and Support, given by the Ministry of Health and Social Services.

“I think this recognition shows what can come from great teamwork,” said Neil Michaels, Emergency Measures, Civil Security and Global Security Coordinator for CIUSSS West-Central Montreal. “Dedicated staff from all departments came together, including social workers, nurses, managers and administrative personnel.” He added that they were even joined by colleagues who didn’t belong to the team, who helped on their days off.

The civil security teams were responsible for opening medical clinics and finding accommodation for the flood of asylum seekers throughout 2018, which during its peak over the summer reached 300 to 400 people daily. At one point, there were 2,300 refugees provided lodging in CIUSSS West-Central Montreal sites.

The teams felt secure managing such large numbers of people, Mr. Michaels explained, partly owing to the experience they had gained during the Syrian refugee crisis of 2015 and 2016.

“We were able to refer to a binder of best practices we had the foresight to create, which was helpful this time around,” he says.