Skip to content

Vaccine support council gets $10K to provide rides to appointments, support hub workers

Funding comes from Sun Life Canada
Stock image

The Algoma Vaccination Support Council (AVSC) has received $10,000 in funding from Sun Life Canada to continue and enhance supports to assist local and area COVID-19 vaccination efforts. The AVSC is spearheaded by the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce and the STRIVE Young Professionals Group and is comprised of more than 40 supporting local businesses and agencies.

“We would like to thank Sun Life Canada for its support of the Algoma Vaccination Support Council,” says Derek Jackson of Wardlaw Heating & Cooling and co-chair of the AVSC. “This support will help us with our ‘Lunch is on Us’ program which provides lunches and snacks for our SSM, Algoma, and First Nations Vaccination hub workers and volunteers; with producing and translating educational materials on the importance of getting vaccinated; and with ride programs for those in need of transportation to-and-from vaccine appointments.”

In announcing its funding support of the AVSC, Sun Life notes that its purpose is to help Canadians achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives. Supporting the hard working frontline healthcare workers and volunteers in the Algoma District goes to the heart of what it does and, as a long-time member of the community, they are proud to see their funding go directly to those who need it most.

“Sun Life remains focused on assisting our communities, particularly those most impacted by COVID-19,” says Kevin Strain, President, Sun Life. “COVID-19 has deepened inequities in our communities, and our donation directly supports organizations helping those who need it the most. We believe supporting the needs and well-being of the most vulnerable is key to a healthy and sustainable future.”

AVSC co-chair, Louise Caicco Tett of Health & Safety Professionals Inc., explains that the AVSC was formed because “the Chamber of Commerce, STRIVE and local businesses believe that there is a significant role for the business community to play in the vaccination effort, from ensuring that timely and accurate public health information reaches Sault Ste. Marie workers, their families, customers, and clients, to enlisting resources and supports to help access, speed up, and encourage the vaccination process.”

“The support that the AVSC has received from the business community has been in wonderful,” adds Tett. She explains than in just a few short weeks, the group has seen Council members, like PUC Services come forward to initiate a program for those needing a ride to vaccine appointments, and agencies like Sun Life, I.D.A., MicroAge SSM, Sault College, OPSEU, CUPE, and United Steelworkers Local 2251 donate funds to support the program.

“We are very appreciative of the work of all of our volunteers, like Brenda Stenda of Algoma Steel and Katrina McMeeken of Kemp World Travel, who have done an outstanding job coordinating the lunch program for volunteers and hub workers. Each and every business contributing their time and donations, both large and small go a long way to support the community,” says Tett.  

The AVSC has added a button to its landing page on the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce website where businesses and individuals able to help, can donate. The AVSC landing page is at