Krista has been a supporter of NYWS, whether it be by donating to the organization or amplifying our mission and work. I met Krista as a monthly donor. I found out she was a midwife in conversation with her and when we spoke about our respective workplaces, we realized just how much overlap there is- in both clientele and organizational values. I’m always proud of the NYWS community and how the shared goal of ending gender-based violence brings us together and meeting people within the community is sincerely the best part of my job.


How are you connected to NYWS?

NYWS is in my neighbourhood. I live in North York, and I’ve worked here serving the women of North York as a Midwife for 5 years, so NYWS just feels like a direct extension of that. The women and trans folks who need NYWS are my neighbours, my clients, my community. Even if I’ve never met them as individuals. And because I work as a Midwife I see how vulnerable women are and I know just how often NYWS is needed by the women in this community.

What does community mean to you?

Community is a chosen family. Whether it’s who you choose to work with or for, who shares your religious or cultural beliefs or who shares the elevator with you in your building. These people often come into our lives in very mundane ways but become important figures in our lives as we connect and support each other over and over in big or small ways. The families we’re born into are important in representing where we come from, but the chosen families of the communities we join represent where we’ve taken ourselves which, to me, is even more important.

What is something you learned about yourself in the last year that you didn’t know before?

I’ve learned I really like throwing weights around the gym. It’s not a new activity, but after that last shut down I realized how much I actually enjoy it. I put on the loudest music I can find and tune everything out for an hour and trade pandemic fatigue for a much more satisfying muscle fatigue. It’s a bit cliché, but there you have it.

What inspires you?

People who show up inspire me. The healthcare and social service workers who have been putting out daily fires through this pandemic, who keep showing up and keep giving their time and energy. The people who have kept fighting the battles that got buried under the pandemic. The people who have just knuckled down and spent their energy moving us all forward together instead of dividing us or holding us back. The people who have held themselves together through lost wages, isolation and everything else. That’s inspiring.

Name 3 things you think our community needs right now?

I’ll really boil it down to one. Access.

In Toronto we have a lot of great services, with innovative programs. But accessing them is very haphazard. As a healthcare provider I know for a fact that I’ve forgotten about more mental health programs that have come across my desk than I’ve referred to. It’s just not possible to properly house and retrieve all of that information on top of the core clinical aspects of my job. We do have 2-1-1 which is great but the database is huge, often non-specific and in these pandemic days, may not be up to date with how services are delivered. We need a better, more integrated, and frankly more human touch point to really get the potential value out of all of this amazing work.

And we need to maintain access to essential healthcare. I’ve been asked so often if I’ve seen a rise in homebirths since the start of the pandemic and the answer is that it’s been the opposite. It’s not uncommon for folks who don’t have OHIP to choose a homebirth because hospital fees are a barrier. Financial safety is just as legitimate as medical safety and when the fees were removed I saw a difference. I saw clients choosing the care that was most appropriate, not just the care they could afford. We need to maintain that access.

And finally, for folks to access healthcare, there needs to be healthcare staff. And this is also an access issue. Access to adequately paying jobs for healthcare workers – most especially our nurses. Access to training and credentialling, and retraining to build on existing skills. Access to hospital privileges for non-physician healthcare providers. Hospitals have long been denying privileges to midwives and limiting our scope of practice. The result has been clients unable to access the healthcare that is most appropriate for them and trained healthcare professionals unable to access the career they trained for. It’s a story that’s repeated throughout the system.

The components of a better and healthier community are there, we just need better access to them.