Paul Raftis, ChiefPaul has been with Toronto Paramedic Services for over 23 years, beginning his career as a paramedic in 1991. As an ACP (advanced care paramedic), he was one of the first assigned to the ETF (Emergency Task Force), tactical paramedic program.
Paul began his management career as an operations supervisor in 1999. Since then, he has earned promotions to several leadership positions throughout Toronto Paramedic Services, including positions in both the Deputy Chief of Operations and the Chief’s Office. He managed the Special Operations Unit as well as the Central Ambulance Communications Centre. Prior to his promotion to Chief, Paul was the Deputy Chief of Operations.
As chief, Paul leads a paramedic service providing world-class, pre-hospital emergency care to residents and visitors to the City of Toronto. Toronto Paramedic Services employs 1,300 staff which includes paramedics, emergency medical dispatchers, support staff and a strong leadership team. His team provides out of hospital emergency care to more than 300,000 emergency calls per year supported by a fleet of 170 ambulances in 45 ambulance stations across the city with a budget of 185 million. Paul is committed to a culture of continuous improvement, lifelong learning and holds a Bachelor of Health Science degree.
Frank Hurlehey, Deputy Chief, OperationsFrank started his career at Toronto Paramedic Services in 1980 with the Toronto Department of Ambulance Services as a Driver/Attendant. He was chosen to become one of Toronto Paramedic Services’ first Advanced Life Support Program participants, graduating and then working as an Advanced Care Paramedic (ACP) for over sixteen years.
During his career he had the privilege of being selected as a member of the following special teams; Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive (CBRNE), Public Safety Unit (PSU) Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and Emergency Support Unit (ESU). He continues to be a member of these teams today.
In 2004 Frank was promoted to District Superintendent and then to Commander of Operations. Over the past several years he has rotated through several leadership positions including Commander, North East District, Fleet, Scheduling, Stores, Equipment Services, Facilities, and Payroll.
These opportunities have given him a diverse set of skills and understanding of each of the functions of Toronto Paramedic Services and he brings this valuable knowledge to the leadership team.
Gord McEachen, Deputy Chief, Program Development and Service Quality
Gord began his paramedic career with Toronto in 1985. He became one of the early advanced life support paramedics and one of the first tactical paramedics before being promoted to supervisor, Paramedic Education as a clinical educator in 1995.
Gord moved his career from Toronto in 1999 and became Manager of Special Operations and later, Director of Operations with York Region EMS. In 2006, Gord took his career from York Region to British Columbia and became Director of the Lower Mainland with the British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS). Gord’s progressive roles and responsibilities included a variety of programs and projects in operations, training, quality assurance, medical oversight programs and the management of many large-scale events.
In 2009, Gord returned to Toronto Paramedic Services in the role of Commander, Policy and Program Management reporting to the Chief. He was re-assigned to the Deputy Chief’s office, Operations in 2010.
A confirmed life-long learner, Gord’s educational background includes Advanced Emergency Medical Assistant certification (Ontario), Advanced Care Paramedic certification (CMA Level 3 – Sunnybrook), ALS Instructor certification (Sunnybrook Hospital), Bachelor of Physical and Health Education (University of Toronto), Bachelor of Health Sciences – Prehospital Care (Charles Sturt University), a Masters Certificate in Municipal Management (York University) and numerous Emergency Management programming from the Justice Institute of British Columbia.
Gord’s wealth of experience and education make him a valuable member of the Toronto Paramedic Services team. He was promoted to Deputy Chief, Central Ambulance Communications Centre on March 21, 2011.
Rhonda-Hamel-Smith, Deputy Chief, Operational Support
Rhonda brings 27 years of progressively responsible management experience, 17 of which have been with Toronto Paramedic Services.
Her career began with the City of Toronto in 1989 in the Human Resources Division providing frontline service delivery to City divisions, including Water, Solid Waste Management, Engineering Services, Parks, Forestry & Recreation, Long-Term Care Homes & Services and Transportation. In 1991, she was promoted to Supervisor, Labour Relations, in Paramedic Services, where she provided employee and labour relations support, including collective bargaining.
In 2002, Rhonda was promoted to Manager, Employee & Labour Relations, in the City’s Human Resources Division where she became chief spokesperson for collective bargaining for the City with Toronto Civic Employees’ Union, Local 416, and led several rounds of negotiations. She acquired a wealth of experience in helping to develop and implement significant change initiatives for the City’s operating divisions.
In 2011, Rhonda returned to Paramedic Services as the Commander, Business Services, and in this role has provided direct business support and strategic advice to myself and the four Deputy Chiefs on operational and divisional initiatives.
Rhonda holds a Bachelor of Theological Studies from Concordia University, and a Master’s Degree in Industrial Relations from Queen’s University. She has a strong, collaborative and innovative leadership style that will continue to help Toronto Paramedic Services achieve its employee and service objectives.
Garrie Wright, Deputy Chief, Central Ambulance Communications CentreGarrie graduated from McMaster University in 1980 with a degree in Physical Education and from Humber College with an Ambulance Emergency Care Diploma in 1981.
He started his ambulance career in 1979 with Superior Ambulance Service in Hamilton and was hired by DAS in the fall of 1981 as a Driver/Attendant and became an advanced care paramedic in 1990. Garrie was a member of the first Public Order Unit and represented DAS in several international ALS competitions.
Garrie began his management career in 2000 with Paramedic Education training new level II paramedics and was quickly promoted into the Cardiac Safe City Program. Garrie was responsible for expanding the Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) Program and laid the foundation for the success the program enjoys today. Garrie is particularly proud of the work he did with the Mikey Network, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario and the provincial government in getting PAD programs established across the province. Garrie was assigned as an administrative supervisor in 2005 and to the Chief’s office in 2007. While in the Chief’s office, Garrie briefly assumed the role as the executive director of the Paramedic Chiefs of Canada (PSCC) and had the opportunity to work closely with paramedic leadership across Canada. Garrie was instrumental in establishing a new website for the PSCC which now forms the hub of communication for all issues related to the paramedic services in Canada. Garrie represented Toronto Paramedic Services on the City’s Bargaining Team in 2009 and was later promoted to Deputy Chief of Operations in 2010, and to Deputy Chief of Operational Support in 2015.
In his current role, he oversees Toronto Paramedic Services’ Fleet Services, Central Ambulance Dispatch (CAD) Systems and Engineering Technology support, Headquarters and Station Facility Maintenance, Materials Management, Equipment Retrieval and Maintenance, Finance and Payroll and Capital Programs.