News Release
September 25, 2020

Emergency Telecommunicators are the calm voice at the other end of every 9-1-1 call, the first of the first responders, and the hidden heroes of emergency services. Toronto Paramedic Services, Toronto Fire Services and the Toronto Police Service recently recognized outstanding Emergency Telecommunicators through the annual Telecommunicator of the Year Awards.

A joint awards ceremony to recognize the outstanding telecommunicators from each of Toronto’s emergency services is traditionally held in April for the previous year’s recipients. This year, the ceremony was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and each service has chosen to recognize their own 2019 award recipients during Toronto Public Service Week.

Award winners are nominated by their peers and receive commemorative trophies in recognition of winning these prestigious awards.

The award winners for 2019 are:

Toronto Paramedic Services

Courtney Poirier – Emergency Medical Dispatcher of the Year

From her peers: “Courtney is one of the most passionate Emergency Medical Dispatchers in the Communication Centre.”

Melissa Bender – Communication Training Officer Mentor Award

From her peers: “Melissa brings her knowledge to her students and peers on the floor to make Toronto Paramedic Services a great place to work!”

Greg Lees – Senior Emergency Medical Dispatcher Leadership Award

From his peers: “Greg is always a strong leadership presence in the room.”

Toronto Fire Services

Shift 4 – Telecommunicators of the Year

Acting District Chief:  Glenn Watters, Captains Chris Belford, Jenn Greenlaw

Crew: Colin Coull, Karl Hoefel, Angela Libby, Darrell Vaillancourt, Traci Cairns, Corey Rowley, Kristen Scriver, Angela Sibbald, Mehrdad Pourkamali, Mark McQuay, Joanne Cote.

The night of September 22, 2019, Shift 4 skillfully handled more than 200 additional calls involving three major fires. Each fire required the management of displaced residents, injured patients and dangerous conditions. Each one of these fires on its own would be a significant telecommunicator challenge. The team professionally handled three of them in one night.

Toronto Police Services

Paul Youngs – Telecommunicator of the Year

Paul was responsible for dispatching officers from 42 Division to a high-risk incident. Paul exemplified the Toronto Police Service core value of “Service at our Core”. He demonstrated his ability to “do the right thing” through innovative and solution-focussed thinking.


“I am very proud of these individuals. Whether it is helping callers in need, assisting their peers or training students, each one of these award recipients exhibit both skill and compassion in their work. We are truly fortunate to have them on our Toronto Paramedic Services team.”

– Chief Gord McEachen, Toronto Paramedic Services

“Our Telecommunicators are the vital link between residents and visitors and emergency assistance. Their work is often undertaken in the background of the emergency response, so it is with great pride that I express my appreciation to Shift 4 for their efforts last September. Toronto Fire Services is grateful to have such hardworking staff to keep the city safe. Congratulations and thank you to all of the telecommunications personnel being recognized today and thank you to our colleagues from Toronto Police and Paramedic Services for the strong relationships that allow us to work so well together.”

– Deputy Chief Anthony Bavota, Toronto Fire Services

“Toronto Police Communications congratulates Paul Youngs as the 2020 Police Communicator of the Year. This event is a great example of the incredible work done every day in Communications Centers across the city. The tremendous relationships between our Emergency Services Agencies and partnerships ensure a comprehensive and compassionate response to the communities we serve.”

– Kerry-Anne Murray-Bates, Manager, Toronto Police Service

Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Kim McKinnon
Toronto Paramedic Services
District Chief Stephan Powell
Toronto Fire Services
Kerry Anne Murray-Bates
Toronto Police Service