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This week, Canadians will pause to recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It is important to take time to reflect on the lasting trauma created by residential schools and colonization, and to commit to take action.

Established in 2013 as Orange Shirt Day, September 30 was recognized by the Government of Canada as National Day for Truth Reconciliation in 2021. Now in its third year, this is a day to honour survivors, those who never returned home, as well as the families and communities who have been so deeply impacted by the residential school system.

As one of the largest health care systems in Canada, it is incumbent on us to commit to truth and reconciliation, and to ensure that we are living our values of dignity, respect, service, justice and responsibility in order to deliver compassionate and high-quality health care to all members of the communities we serve.

During the month of September, all St. Joseph’s Health System member organizations are flying the Survivors’ Flag. The Survivors’ Flag was created by residential school survivors as a way to honour the lives impacted by the residential school system. Each element of the flag’s moving design is meaningful, and I encourage you to learn more about the flag, reflect on its meaning and to read the reflections shared by survivors.

Raising the Survivors’ Flag is an important symbolic step in our journey towards truth and reconciliation. It is also a crucial reminder of the continuing need to do better, and to take concrete action.

How to take action: Many of our member organizations have created opportunities for healthcare workers to take action, and to learn more. I encourage you to seek out those opportunities.

Reflecting on the lasting impacts of colonization can be especially difficult for Indigenous staff. If you need to talk to someone, click here for a list of mental health supports for Indigenous Peoples.

Thank you to all St. Joseph’s Health System members for working together in supporting Indigenous communities as we continue on the path toward truth and reconciliation.

Liz Buller
President and CEO
St. Joseph’s Health System

A proud lifelong Hamiltonian and well-known philanthropist, Margaret Juravinski was beloved by the Hamilton community.

Her care and concern for the people of the city manifested itself in her and her husband’s remarkable generosity over more than 20 years, creating a transformational philanthropic legacy in Hamilton.

For Margaret, ‘sharing is caring’ was a mantra she invoked each and every day. It didn’t matter the amount or where the gift was directed, it was the act of giving and the impact it would make that was paramount.

“It’s what we want to do for the community because we care for this community … caring and sharing is the general idea we hope other people would pick up on,” Margaret said in a 2019 interview.

The 91-year-old died May 9 in Hamilton. Charles, her husband of more than 65 years, died February 16, 2022 at the age of 92.

“All of us at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and its charitable foundation are truly saddened by the passing of Margaret Juravinski. The passing of a pillar of our community can leave a tremendous void in our hearts, but Margaret left us an incredible legacy that will live on. Because of Margaret and her late husband Charles, our city is home to world-class healthcare facilities that bear their names, and we are at the epicenter of health research thanks to the work underway through the Juravinski Research Institute. The legacy of Margaret and Charles Juravinski is achieving exactly what they intended it to – benefitting and improving the lives of others well beyond their passing,” says Melissa Farrell, President, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.

Margaret grew up during the Great Depression in East Hamilton. After the war, she met Charles Juravinski while working at the Woolworth’s counter making sandwiches.

Across all aspects of her life, Margaret was known for her dedication, energy and wisdom. She worked alongside her husband, helping manage Flamboro Downs for 30 years until it was sold in 2003.

Throughout all their various business and philanthropic endeavours, Margaret was Charles’ top adviser and partner. While Charles may have been the more vocal of the pair, both he and Margaret made it clear time and time again that the success of their 65-year plus marriage relied heavily on the fact that they were partners: in business, in marriage and in life.

Margaret and Charles spent more than two decades making gifts to several Hamilton organizations, including giving more than $68.8 million to Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.

Their generosity is recognized in part with the naming of the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre at Hamilton Health Sciences, the Juravinski Innovation Tower at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s Charlton Campus, the Margaret & Charles Juravinski Centre for Integrated Healthcare at St. Joseph’s West 5th Campus and Margaret’s Place Hospice at St. Joseph’s Villa.

“Working with Margaret (and Charlie) over the past 15 years has been one of the most rewarding and meaningful highlights of my time here at St. Joe’s,” says Sera Filice-Armenio, President and CEO, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation. “Over the years, I was consistently awed by their generous spirit, encouraged by Margaret’s desire to spread the word about the power of philanthropy, and inspired by the humility and humanity that were the hallmarks of their legacy. Margaret was so committed to making sure their gifts would have the widest, most accessible impact, ensuring all those in need could find and receive the very best healthcare, right here in Hamilton. She was a remarkable force for good and she will be deeply missed.”

Over the last four years, Charles and Margaret continued to make new gifts totalling $16.5 million through their namesake foundation to support research on child and youth health, integrated care, burn research, macular degeneration, health system transformation, COVID-19 and brain health.

Today, the Juravinski name is synonymous with world-class, personalized health care and health research in Hamilton through the Juravinski Research Institute.

“Today, we mourn the loss of a true champion for the health and prosperity of Hamilton. Margaret Juravinski and her husband, Charlie, embodied the spirit of philanthropy,” says Dr. Julian Dobranowski, Chair of the Juravinski Research Institute Steering and Scientific Committees. “Selfless to her core, Margaret sought to make Hamilton a better place by improving the quality of health care for patients at all stages of life. Giving was part of her DNA, having spent much of her golden years inspiring others to make gifts to causes close to their hearts. It was a tremendous pleasure to call her my friend, and while I’ll miss her wonderful smile and endearing sense of humour, it gives me hope to know that her and Charlie’s legacies will live on through the Juravinski Research Institute and the countless patients and families who have been touched by their immense generosity.”

With support from the Juravinski Research Institute (JRI), Hamilton researchers have launched a new initiative to improve health outcomes for people living in Hamilton’s subsidized residential care facilities. Lead investigators are aiming to leverage a pilot project of an integrated primary care team tested by McMaster Family Practice and the Greater Hamilton Health Network and based upon the principles of the Integrated Comprehensive Care model developed by partners throughout the St. Joseph’s Health System.

Leading the study are Chi-Ling Joanna Sinn, a research fellow from St. Joseph’s Health System’s Centre for Integrated Care; Anthea Innes, director, Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging and the Gilbrea Chair in Aging and Mental Health, Professor Health Aging and Society at McMaster University; and Andrew Costa, the Schlegel Research Chair in Clinical Epidemiology & Aging; associate professor, Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster; and research director, St. Joseph’s Health System’s Centre for Integrated Care.

The study by Sinn, Innes and Costa has received $1.175 million from the JRI to establish baseline data, implement and evaluate more integrated and accessible ways to deliver health and social services, and develop processes for scaling the pilot program across similar facilities in Hamilton.

In 2010, the Hamilton Spectator’s Code Red series shone a light on the staggering health disparities across Hamilton’s neighbourhoods and their link to poverty and other social determinants of health. The series prompted an outpouring of public awareness and organized efforts to improve access to care, but 10 years later, important health indicators such as life expectancy have remained unchanged or even worsened.

Many of the worst-performing neighbourhoods are concentrated in Hamilton’s downtown core, and this area is also home to 39 of the city’s 48 subsidized residential care facilities.

“Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it became even more evident that people living in subsidized residential care facilities are a vulnerable population often managing multiple chronic conditions, and yet they face many barriers to accessing primary care,” said Chi-Ling Joanna Sinn, the project’s co-principal investigator. “When they need help, residents tend to receive episodic care at the emergency room or an urgent care centre. Since neither the city that oversees residential care facilities nor the health system who cares for its residents has consistent reliable data on this population, they become somewhat invisible. Their medical history, records and referrals can become fragmented and forgotten, leading to poorer outcomes and the cycle continues. That cycle is what we’re trying to disrupt through this study and the application of integrated care.”

Seeing this phenomenon play out time and time again amidst the pandemic motivated Dr. Doug Oliver, medical director of the McMaster Family Practice to expand his practice into one of these facilities and assemble an integrated primary care team to support residents where they live. This model of care shows great promise in removing barriers to accessing care and improving the continuity of care for residents.

Now, with funding from the JRI, a consortium from Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and the City of Hamilton are working together with the Greater Hamilton Health Network, an Ontario Health Team, and its Residential Care Facility Steering Committee to learn from the pilot project, embed it with best practices from St. Joseph’s Integrated Comprehensive Care Project, and create a framework for further implementation across other congregate care settings to improve health outcomes for residents.

“Through decades of giving to Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, St. Joseph’s Villa in Dundas, and more, Margaret and the late Charles Juravinski developed a keen understanding of the complex healthcare system in Hamilton, where its strengths lie, and where there are opportunities for improvement,” said Dr. Julian Dobranowski, chair of the JRI steering and scientific committees. “The JRI was founded to encourage collaboration across that complex system, and this new project is, in part, intended to help address those lingering facets of inequality in access to the remarkable healthcare services our city is home to.”

The JRI was established through Margaret and the late Charles Juravinski’s historic $100-million+ legacy gift made in May 2019. It remains one of Canada’s largest-ever legacy gifts. Since then, the Juravinskis invested an additional $16.5 million which includes the most recent in-life gift of $5.1 million earmarked to support various research projects across the city.


Kitchener, ON | November 24, 2022 – After an extensive search process, Mark Fam has been named the new President of St. Mary’s General Hospital, and will be joining the Hospital and St. Joseph’s Health System on February 6, 2023.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mark to St. Mary’s and to the St. Joseph’s Health System,” says Elizabeth Buller, President and CEO of the St. Joseph’s Health System. “Mark embodies our mission to serve with compassion while inspiring excellence. His collaborative leadership style will undoubtedly benefit the broader community, not just the patients and staff of St. Mary’s,” says Buller.

Mark joins St. Mary’s from Michael Garron Hospital where he is currently the Vice President, Clinical Programs, and before that as the Vice President, Corporate Services at Health Quality Ontario. A Certified Health Executive, Mark has a broad base of industry knowledge based on his 20+ years working in the health system, where he developed expertise in health system strategy, operations and planning, service integration, community engagement, and quality improvement at the local and regional levels. Mark also contributes to new learners in the health system through his work as an Assistant Professor with the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, and Associate Professor at the Rotman School of Management, at the University of Toronto.

Interim President Sherri Ferguson is set to retire in March 2023, and she is thanked for her tremendous commitment to St. Mary’s General Hospital during her tenure, and in her prior roles. We warmly welcome Mark to St. Mary’s and Waterloo Region.

As we observe the second official National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Friday, September 30, it is important that we recognize this day as an opportunity to pause and reflect on the trauma and legacy of the residential school system in Canada. By joining the national community in observing this day, we acknowledge how integral it is for Catholic healthcare institutions to ensure we are continuously seeking ways to be thoughtful, considerate and compassionate in how we serve our community in providing high-quality patient care.

Background on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Orange Shirt Day began in 2013, when Phyllis Webstad, from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, first told her story of attending residential school, where the new orange shirt her grandmother had given her for school was stripped from her. Since that day, September 30 has been recognized across Canada as Orange Shirt Day, an opportunity to discuss in a meaningful way the effects of residential schools.

In 2021, the Government of Canada legislated September 30 as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It follows one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) recommendations, which calls for the government to work with Indigenous people to develop a day to “honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”

There is still work to be done

This summer, Pope Francis apologized to Indigenous residential school survivors in Maskwacis, Alberta, following a visit to the former site of the Ermineskin Indian Residential School. During his visit, he said, “We want to walk together, to pray together and to work together, so that the sufferings of the past can lead to a future of justice, healing and reconciliation.”

Pope Francis’ apology can be found HERE

As further unmarked graves continue to be discovered, such as the recent 43 discovered at the former Mohawk Residential School, St. Joseph’s Health System remains committed to working alongside the Catholic healthcare community towards justice, healing and reconciliation.

In its statement last week, the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada acknowledged the difficult truth about the history and impact on the health status of Indigenous Peoples, and the journey we seek to build trust and work towards transformative change for Indigenous People receiving care within the Catholic health system in Canada.

What you can do

I invite and encourage our St. Joseph’s Health System family to join in this journey toward justice, healing and reconciliation.

  • Many of our organizations have created opportunities for healthcare workers to learn more. Please seek these out.
  • Show your support – wear an orange shirt and/or buy an Orange Shirt button to demonstrate your interest and support.

Listen. Learn. These are small but tangible steps to continue building bridges toward reconciliation.

Support and resources

We recognize that this may be a difficult time, and a time of reflection for Indigenous staff, patients and families. This is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on our relationship with Indigenous Peoples, to educate ourselves about Canada’s history, and take advantage of available educational resources. These are some resources to become better informed.

If you or someone you know needs support, please reach out. Supports available include:

  • The Hope for Wellness Help Line, which offers immediate help to all Indigenous peoples across Canada at 1-855-242-3310.
  • A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line provides support for former students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line at 1-866-925-4419.


Ms. Liz Buller
President and CEO
St. Joseph’s Health System


Hamilton – March 24, 2022 – Dr. Anne Anderson, csj, Chair, Board of Directors of St. Joseph’s Health System (SJHS), with the approval of the Diocese of Hamilton, announces the appointment of Elizabeth Buller to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of St. Joseph’s Health System.

Ms. Buller is currently President and CEO of Scarborough Health Network and Scarborough Research Institute.

St. Joseph’s Health System is a large and complex health system comprised of six-member organizations and multiple sites, which include: St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener, St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Guelph, St. Joseph’s Home Care, St. Joseph’s Lifecare Centre in Brantford and St. Joseph’s Villa in Dundas.

Ms. Buller is well known for her outstanding contributions to health care both provincially and nationally.  She has led the Scarborough Health Network from 2017 to the present. Prior to her current position, Ms. Buller was President & CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Centre Toronto, where she was instrumental in the voluntary merger of three hospitals to create Unity Health Toronto. Her extensive background in healthcare leadership also includes the position of Executive Vice President Clinical Operations & Chief of Nursing and Professional Practice for the William Osler Health System, one of Canada’s largest multi-site community hospital corporations.

On the West coast, Ms. Buller served as Senior Operating Officer for Vancouver Acute, a multi-site academic health sciences centre within the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Canada’s largest integrated health region. Additionally, she has held positions of Executive Director, Program Planning and Services, and Director, Cardiac Sciences for Providence Health Care, in Vancouver.

A native of London, Ontario, Ms. Buller obtained her BScN magna cum laude from McMaster University.  She also holds a Master of Health Administration from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Arts in Leadership and Organizational Training from Royal Roads University in Victoria. Ms. Buller is also a member of the Canadian College of Health Leaders and the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.d). In 2019, she was recognized by WXN (Women’s Executive Network) as one of Canada’s top 100 most powerful women.

Ms. Buller’s start date is being determined.

About St. Joseph’s Health System
St. Joseph’s Health System is one of the largest corporations in Canada devoted to health care. Our member organizations are known for genuine compassion and caring, both locally and around the world. Each of the organizations offers services according to their strengths, from acute care, long-term care, and community care, to rehabilitation, hospice, community outreach, and mental health. SJHS is also a well-recognized leader for innovation in models of patient-centred, integrated care at each stage of the patient experience.

For more information:
Christine Cho, Manager, Public Affairs
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
Phone: 289-442-1660 or ccho@stjoes.ca