Region welcomes new Chief of Paramedic Services

Posted on Tuesday January 03, 2023

Waterloo Region – The Region of Waterloo is announcing that John Riches will be the incoming Chief of Paramedic Services. Along with a Master’s Degree in Public Policy, Administration and Law from York University, the incoming Chief has significant leadership experience in the areas of 911 response operations, community paramedicine and health outreach programs. John Riches will join the Region on January 30, 2023.

Riches has over 25 years of paramedic services experience, most recently serving as Deputy Chief of Paramedic Services with the Region of Durham. In addition to a long career at the Region of Durham, incoming Chief Riches was an instructor in the Paramedic Program at Durham College, and he spent time as a facilitator for the Central East Prehospital Care Program where he performed quality assurance, curriculum development and course delivery for paramedics and other stakeholders.

The incoming Chief brings a broad range of experience as well as strategic and progressive leadership skills to the Region of Waterloo. His leadership experience includes fleet and operations management, program administration and delivery, labour relations, change management, and the strategic fiscal management and oversight of paramedic services’ budgets. The incoming Chief also has significant experience working with health care and municipal leaders to address the pressures of ambulance offload delays.

Riches received the Governor General EMS Exemplary Service Medal in 2019 in addition to a number of other awards for his leadership.

“We are very pleased to welcome John Riches to the Public Health and Emergency Services department at the Region of Waterloo. We are looking forward to his leadership as Chief of Paramedic Services. At this time, I would also like to thank Deputy Chiefs Kevin Petendra, Jim Topham and Rob Crossan for their interim leadership over the last five months,” says Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, Medical Officer of Health.

“I am honoured to join the Region of Waterloo and work with the dedicated and hardworking staff in Public Health and Emergency Services," Riches says. "In particular, I am very humbled to serve as Chief and collaborate with the paramedics, support staff and leadership team in Paramedic Services to address the many challenges impacting the health care system. We will continue to engage our stakeholders with the goal of addressing the pressures that impact response times, resource availability, and staff wellness and morale.”

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