UMFA Letter of Support

To: Orvie Dingwall (President UMFA)
University of Manitoba Faculty Association
100-29 Dysart Road Winnipeg, MB R3T 2M7

CC: Premier Heather Stefanson; Minister Scott Fielding, Minister of Finance; Minister Wayne Ewasko, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration; Michael Benarroch, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manitoba; UFMA; Manitoba Association of Health Information Providers

November 9, 2021

Dear Ms. Dingwall,

I am writing on behalf of the Ottawa Valley Health Libraries Association (OVHLA), a chapter of the Canadian Health Libraries Association (CHLA/ABSC) which represents twenty health-related libraries throughout the Ottawa Valley and the Outaouais, to express our support for our health librarian colleagues who are among the 1,265 librarians and archivists, professors, and instructors represented by the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) and their pursuit of a fair contract and support for high-quality post-secondary education.

We understand that, as of November 2, union members are on strike to ensure their salaries remain competitive and to protect the autonomy of the university from the interference of the provincial government’s wage mandate. This resulted after mediation failed to produce an agreement that prioritized faculty recruitment and retention.

We support our many dedicated health sciences librarian colleagues who are on strike, including members of the CHLA/ABSC 2021 Virtual Conference Planning Committee and the provincial chapter of the Canadian Health Libraries Association, the Manitoba Association of Health Information Providers (MAHIP). Health sciences libraries and their staff are integral to advancing excellence in healthcare by enhancing learning, teaching, and research at the University of Manitoba. As per CHLA/ABSCs Statement on the Importance of Hospital Libraries (, health sciences libraries and librarians “have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting infodemic, supplying urgently needed evidence to health professionals and decision-makers in a rapidly evolving environment.”

Our chapter members stand in support of UMFA members who are committed to the best standard of public education, student learning conditions and fair compensation for faculty until they achieve a fair settlement.


Renée de Gannes-Marshall
President, Ottawa Valley Health Libraries Association (OVHLA)

PDF Version

Letter in Response to CHEO Hospital Library Closures

PDF Version

December 16, 2020

To: Alex Munter, President and Chief Executive Officer, CHEO

CC: Watson Gale, General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer, CHEO; Ann Lynch, Senior Vice President Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive, CHEO; Joanne Lowe, Vice President Mental Health and Addictions, CHEO; Dr. Ken Farion, Medical Director, Quality and Systems Improvement, CHEO; Christine Kouri, Manager Health Equity & Diversity, CHEO; Ellen Shipman, President, Region 10, RNAO; Karen McCoy, Local 214 Local Coordinator, ONA; Shaun Reid, President of Local 474, OPSEU

RE: Decommissioning of CHEO’s hospital library and the Kaitlin Atkinson Family Resource Library

Dear Mr. Munter,

We are gravely concerned about the recent decision to close CHEO’s hospital library, the Kaitlin Atkinson Family Resource Library, and to dismiss the library staff. Hospital libraries are instrumental for advancing evidence-based practice and effective and safe patient care (1-4), and help to fulfill accreditation standards by providing timely access to research-based evidence (6-7). Library staff and the resources they provide have consistently shown to have a positive impact and high return on investment in health care organizations (1-5,8). 

We recognize that CHEO has a close relationship to the University of Ottawa, and perhaps plans to lean more heavily on the University for the provision of evidence to inform clinical practice. We find this logic misguided and problematic, given that the University would only be able to serve affiliated health care professionals (mostly physicians), leaving patients, their families, and the majority of allied health care personnel without access. This would mean that the majority of nurses, technicians, councillors, social workers and most of the mental health staff will no longer have access to the latest medical evidence to inform their practice or decisions. Given the strain the pandemic is putting on our youth’s mental health, the decision to strip mental health workers of their access to a medical library is extremely concerning.

In addition, even with the University of Ottawa Library’s support of affiliated physicians, the University is a broad academic institution dedicated to the needs of many, and as a result does not have the same focus as CHEO’s hospital library, which licences access to specialized pediatric content and provides expert and time-sensitive support for patient care.  A dedicated, specialized library within CHEO is better suited to understand and meet the needs of CHEO’s health care staff and patients.

While this closure would be concerning at any time, we find it all the more alarming in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when misinformation abounds in the public sphere and the pace of research has far outpaced clinical staff’s ability to stay informed. Indeed, this is the worst possible time to be shuttering a source of reliable, evidence-based information to both families and health care workers.

We ask that you strongly reconsider these closures, and continue to invest in library staff and resources which provide vital support to the hospital, patients and families.


Kelly Farrah
President, Ottawa Valley Health Libraries Association (OVHLA)

Francesca Frati
President, Canadian Health Libraries Association (CHLA)

Lance Fox
President, Saskatchewan Health Libraries Association (SHLA)

Kathryn Tippell-Smith
President, Southern Alberta Health Libraries Association (SAHLA)

Tanya Harron
President, Wellington Waterloo Dufferin Health Library Network (WWDHLN)

Jody Nelson
President, Northern Alberta Health Libraries Association (NAHLA)

Pamela Harrison
President, Health Libraries Association of British Columbia (HLABC)

Lisa Battistella
President, Golden Horseshoe Health Libraries Association (GHHLA) 

Maureen Babb
President, Manitoba Association of Health Information Providers (MAHIP)


  1. Bartlett, J. C., & Marshall, J. G. (2013). The Value of Library and Information Services in Patient Care: Canadian Results From an International Multisite Study. Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association / Journal de l’Association Des Bibliothèques de La Santé Du Canada, 34(3), 138–146.
  2. Brettle, A., Maden, M., & Payne, C. (2016). The impact of clinical librarian services on patients and health care organisations. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 33(2), 100–120.
  3. Fratti, F., Oja, L.A., Kleinberg, J. (2020). CHLA Standards for Library and Information Services in Canadian Health & Social Services Institutions.
  4. Gard Marshall, G. J., Craft Morgan, J., A. Thompson, C., & L. Wells, A. (2014). Library and information services: Impact on patient care quality. International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, 27(8), 672–683.
  5. Hartfiel, N., Sadera, G., Treadway, V., Lawrence, C., & Tudor Edwards, R. (2020). A clinical librarian in a hospital critical care unit may generate a positive return on investment. Health Information & Libraries Journal, n/a(n/a).
  6. Ritchie, A., Gilbert, C., Gaca, M., Siemensma, G., & Taylor, J. (2020). Hospital Librarians’ Contributions to Health Services’ Accreditation: An Account of the Health Libraries for the National Safety and Quality in Health Services Standards (HeLiNS) Research Project, 2016-18. Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association, 69(2), 215–245.
  7. Standards—Accreditation Canada’s Programs and HSO’s Standards. (2020). Accreditation Canada. Retrieved December 9, 2020, from
  8. Worth every cent and more: An independent assessment of the return on investment of health libraries in Australia. (2013).


Mark your calendars! OVHLA will hold its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday October 21, 2020 from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm via Zoom (log in details to follow).

The draft agenda is available here:

If you have any agenda items to add, please send them to me. We are also looking for fun virtual social ideas!

You can access 2019 AGM minutes here: October 2019

Please note that at the AGM we will be discussing a proposed Bylaw Amendment:

Motion to amend Article 4 – Officers: 

Current wording: 

The business of the Association shall be conducted by an Executive Committee consisting of a President, a Secretary, a Treasurer and a Continuing Education Coordinator. There will be a two-year term of office for each position. Terms of office will begin in the fall and end in the fall of the following 2 years hence. Terms will be staggered so no more than two officers will have their term expire in the same year.

Proposed wording: 

The business of the Association shall be conducted by an Executive Committee consisting of a President, a Secretary, a Treasurer and a Continuing Education Coordinator. There will be a two-year term of office for each position. Terms of office will begin in the fall and end in the fall of the following 2 years hence. The terms of the office of President and Secretary will end in odd-numbered years. The terms of office for Treasurer and Continuing Education Coordinator will end in even-numbered years.

Looking forward to seeing you then!

OVHLA Executive

2018 President’s Award: Shaila Mensinkai

Congratulations to Shaila Mensinkai for being nominated by her peers for the OVHLA President’s Award. Shaila was nominated for making a significant, long-lasting contribution to the OVHLA community through her leadership in health technology assessment librarianship, and her “behind the scenes” support of search methodology projects, presentations and resources. Thank you Shaila!

2018 Membership Renewals

It’s that time of year again, to renew your OVHLA memberships!

Membership in the OVHLA provides you with an opportunity to attend local CE events and social activities and stay connected with your local professional community. Last year’s activities included a mini symposium to share projects, our AGM and social, and clinical rounds at CHEO with Margaret Sampson.

Check out our Membership page for more information.

2017 President’s Award: Cait Ford

Congratulations to Cait Ford for being nominated by her peers for the OVHLA President’s Award. Cait served for three years on the OVHLA executive as the CE Coordinator and worked to establish the successful OVHLA mini-symposium event, now held annually. She is an enthusiastic and visionary leader, and was a key player in bringing CHLA to Ottawa in 2019. Thank you for your service Cait!