Foundations

VRCAN Inc. is a unique resource in Canada. We are a collaboration of vocational rehabilitation/disability management companies from across the country; an idea whose time has come.

Why Voc Rehab Canada - Why Now
Increasingly, purchasers of vocational rehabilitation and disability management services are seeking a national solution that is client-centred, and promotes wellness, independence and quality of life through comprehensive, individualized, reasonable and cost-effective measures.

Such programs require a contractor who can:

  • respond to the unique needs of each individual client, and at the same time deliver services that are consistent across Canada
  • be part of each client's regional environment, and at the same time be connected to resources all over Canada
  • provide cost-effective, timely and reasonable services, and at the same time facilitate durable, gainful employment outcomes.

Voc Rehab Canada meets all of these needs. On one hand, we are the very best at being 'local':

  • part of the community, so clients view us as one of them
  • sensitive to local realities so clients find us easy to talk to and ready to understand
  • well connected to local resources and employers so that we know who can make things happen.

On the other hand, we are the very best at being 'national':

  • at the top of our field, so that we keep up with state-of-the-art techniques and best practices in all aspects of service delivery
  • familiar with people and resources all across Canada, so that we can access whoever or whatever we need to facilitate positive outcomes
  • can ensure that the service a client receives in Bonavista, Newfoundland is of the same quality as the service a client receives in Comox British Columbia.

Up until now, the landscape of vocational rehabilitation services in Canada has been made up of two distinct service provision 'camps' - the small to medium sized company who is delivering local services in a specific region and the large centralized national corporation delivering services all across Canada.

We realized that due to the significant advances in available electronic technology this dichotomy is no longer a requirement for the delivery of geographically dispersed services. We understood that with the strategic utilization of information technology resources a joint venture such as Voc Rehab Canada could expand activities beyond the local framework and harness the potential of a highly specialized, stable and well trained vocational rehabilitation workforce. The sophisticated use of proven technology would allow a joint venture to stay virtually connected and accountable. A coordinated, informed and fiscally responsible joint venture company would flourish under a strong management team, streamlined workflow management practices, and the secure input, retrieval and storage of clinical and financial documentation.

Each of us as individual companies has always worked in a collaborative relationship with our clients, so it was not a big stretch to imagine collaborating together as practitioners.

Therefore, in 2006, in an unprecedented move in Canada, a number of like-minded, skilled, experienced and forward-thinking local companies collaboratively formed Voc Rehab Canada.

VRCAN Members
During the formation of VRCAN we sought well established, highly experienced and respected companies across Canada to provide our customers with consistent, high quality, seamless services from coast to coast to coast. In addition to geographic coverage and quality services, the VRCAN complement was developed for capacity and the ability to efficiently handle large-scale projects in both official languages.

We knew that in order to work effectively and efficiently with clients, we not only needed to be familiar with their local communities, resources and labour markets; we needed to be part of them. This knowledge guided the formation of a company that can provide local services with local service providers who know their regions, intimately, all across Canada. Clients, no matter where they live, receive services from practitioners who know what it is like to reside, to work and to secure resources in their area. This position of 'local-ness' helps us to quickly develop trusting professional relationships with clients, which ultimately leads to effective, time-sensitive and durable outcomes.

Depth and Breadth of Experience
We knew that in order to work effectively and efficiently with clients of all kinds, we would need to be at the top of the vocational rehabilitation field in the areas of research, techniques, best practices and service delivery. This need guided the formation of a company whose collective experience is second to none in Canada.

Collectively, we have worked with all Workers Compensation Boards and Commissions across Canada, including the three Territories, Canada Pension Plan-Disability, Veterans Affairs Canada, Service Canada, the Department of National Defence, various Employee Assistance Programs across the country, UNUM Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador, the Ministry of Community, Family, and Children's Services-Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Association of Health, The Quebec Construction Commission, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities-Ontario, the Ontario Disability Support Plan-Employment Supports Program, Manitoba Telecom, Manitoba Liquor Control Commission, Manitoba Public Insurance, Manitoba Teachers' Benefit Society, Alberta Human Resources and Employment (AHRE), BC Teachers' Federation-Rehabilitation Program, large Canadian industrial and service sector companies (e.g., Coca Cola, CIBC), legal firms throughout Canada, and as preferred providers for many insurance companies (long term disability and auto), and with dozens of smaller agencies and organizations across the country.

Our member companies are led by practitioners who are well known in their own right as leaders in the field of vocational rehabilitation. For example, Warren Comeau is President of Rehabilitation Alternatives Limited and Vocational Alternatives Software in New Brunswick. He was also the National President of the Canadian Association for Rehabilitation Professionals (CARP, now operating as the Vocational Rehabilitation Association of Canada) between 1996 and 1998, as well as the CARP's National Chair of Professional Development and Rehabilitation Education and of Corporate Promotions and Public Relations. He has chaired three national conferences for CARP and is a Fellow of the association. He was also the founder of the CARP Atlantic Society. He has provided extensive training across the country concerning all aspects of vocational rehabilitation. He, along with his business partner, Mark McGovern have created and developed a vocational assessment and exploration tool called QuickNOCPro Career Guide which is currently being used (over 20,000 times thus far) by rehab and career planning professionals across Canada.

Val Lougheed, a member of VRCAN and President of Northern Lights Canada in Ontario and Alberta, co-authored the National CARP Code of Ethics that guides rehabilitation practitioners in the field today. Val is a well-known author and trainer in the field of rehabilitation and, like Warren Comeau, has traveled extensively across the country delivering training to practitioners in all sectors of rehabilitation. Val sustained catastrophic injuries in a head-on collision in 2003, and subsequently wrote a book about her recovery experiences. Her current talk, Trauma, Rehabilitation and Recovery, provides listeners with profound insights into the experience of living with permanent physical and cognitive impairments and trauma.

Arlene Ward, another member of VRCAN and President of Genesis Rehabilitation in British Columbia, is an active member on the WorkSafe BC Board of Directors, is an Adjunct Professor with the University of Northern BC where she teaches online courses within the Masters' Disability Management program, and has instructed for the past three years an online course for Dalhousie University concerning Psycho-Social Issues in Disability Management.

On the other coast, Jim McDonald, President of Argus Management Consulting Inc. in St. John's has been the Newfoundland representative of the National Council of the CNIB, Past President of the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW) and chaired the World Congress - "Inclusion by Design: Planning the Barrier-Free World".

Mike Manning who has a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation from University of Northern Colorado, created the well-respected Occupational Rehabilitation Group of Canada based in Winnipeg. Mike loaned his expertise in vocational rehabilitation in the late 1980s to the Workers Compensation Board in Melbourne, Australia where he spent over two years assisting WCB in the design and implementation of their vocational rehabilitation service delivery program.

Armed with such experience, skills, talents and leadership abilities - both collectively and individually, VRCAN is able to provide customers with vocational rehabilitation services that are effective, sensitive to individual needs, client-centred as well as being cost-effective and cost-recoverable.

Providing Consistent Services Across Canada
We knew that in order to provide the very best services to clients and customers, we needed to harness and organize our collective talents into one seamless unit. We have accomplished this goal by developing an administrative infrastructure with a single contact point through a head office in central Canada.

The linchpin that holds VRCAN together as a single unit, however, is our shared values. We all believe deeply in the principles of self-determination, the requirement of working within the context of a person's own experience of reality, and respect for the fact that life is a process of growth, development and change. This translates into a similar approach to working with clients all across Canada. Furthermore, we value a collaborative approach to working with clients, with community partners, and with funders and referring agents in everything that we do. This collaborative spirit drives our desire and our ability to work together with each other, and has enabled us to develop a strong, unified and clearly focused company with a singular aim in mind - to deliver the most professional, most effective and most efficient services available across Canada.