St. John Ambulance Canada: Digital Transformation in First Aid
December 09, 2023 By William Smith

Last Updated Tuesday, August 11, 2020 6:44AM UTC

James Williamson, Director of Information Systems and Technology, and Shawn McLaren, Chief Learning Officer, detail the digital transformation occurring at St. John Ambulance Canada.

Across the globe, organizations are employing technology to find new and improved ways of conducting their operations, with benefits for both the newest startups and the most venerable institutions. St. John Ambulance Canada (SJA) can trace its lineage back over 900 years, with the modern Canadian organization founded in 1883. The charity is dedicated to helping Canadians via health and safety training courses and first aid volunteers.

“We have two different aspects to what we do,” says Shawn McLaren, Chief Learning Officer. “One is first aid training. We train over 500,000 people a year in first aid and CPR. There are various advancement courses – anything from a basic one-day course to courses that are 80 hours long teaching advanced first responder skills. The other side of what we do is our volunteering. We train people to become medical first responders. They still hand over to paramedics when necessary, but they receive upwards of 40 to 80 hours of training to act as a bridge.”

To fund its activities, the charity relies on the first activity to fund the latter, as Director of Information Systems and Technology James Williamson explains. “We sell first aid training, and that is then turned into community service via volunteers and first aid representatives at, for instance, sports venues, conventions, and other outdoor and indoor events. We also give back through therapy dog programs and similar services across the country.”

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