High Blood Pressure

July 21, 2017 • Written by

High Blood Pressure

23% of Canadian adults are affected by high blood pressure according to the 2016 Express Scripts Drug Trend Report[1]. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when the force of blood against your blood vessels is too high while circulating throughout your body.[2] Though high blood pressure is somewhat common, not everyone knows if they have hypertension. It is important to monitor your blood pressure on a regular basis and consult your health care provider with any concerns. High blood pressure can lead to various health risks if not monitored and well controlled. Possible serious health risks include:[3]

  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • Heart Failure
  • Dementia
  • Kidney (renal) disease
  • Eye problems (retinopathy)
  • Erectile dysfunction

Several causes of high blood pressure can be controlled. An unhealthy diet, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and stress are a few causes that can be controlled by lifestyle changes. Our Employee and Family Assistance Program through LifeWorks is a great resource to assist you in making these lifestyle changes.

While some causes of high blood pressure can be controlled, other causes of high blood pressure can’t be such as age and family history. Be proactive, know your family’s history of high blood pressure.[4]

For more information on high blood pressure and how to prevent or control hypertension, visit the Hypertension Canada website here.

STRATA Select Home Phone Program

The STRATA Select Program offers discounts on a variety of products and services. Through West Can, the Home Phone Program provides plans only $14.00 per month, plus 95 cents per month for 911. Plans are also available for subscribers who are heavy long distance users.

Visit your STRATA Select website for details!

Supporting Your Wellness

The LifeWorks website offers a wealth of information and resources to help you make the most of all aspects of your life. For the month of July, LifeWorks is featuring a suite of resources called It Takes a Village.

It Takes a Village showcases the variety of ways in which LifeWorks can support you through all stages of parenthood.

Be sure to visit to take advantage of the 2017 content, including videos, podcasts, audio tips and much more.

For the RRC EFAP User ID and password, please contact Human Resource Services at 204-632-2319, or refer to one of the EFAP posters around campus.


[1] Gerber, John and Po, Priscilla. Express Scripts. (2017). Drug Trend Report 2016. Mississauga, Express Scripts Canada, 2017.

[2] What is blood pressure? Retrieved from

[3] Health risks associated with high blood pressure. Retrieved from

[4] What are the causes. Retrieved from

Prescription Drugs

June 21, 2017 • Written by

Prescription Drugs

The group benefits plan provides coverage for Drugs that require a prescription and are eligible under the provincial formulary. The Manitoba Formulary is constantly changing, with Pharmacare adding and removing drugs frequently. You are encouraged to discuss with your doctor and/or pharmacist to determine whether your medication is considered formulary or non-formulary and to make sure it is the right choice for you.

There are three different levels of drug coverage under the Manitoba formulary:

  • Part 1 – regardless of the need, the prescription is covered.
  • Part 2 – the prescription is covered only when prescribed for a specific condition which must be noted; if the condition is not specified on the prescription or not eligible, the medication will not be eligible.
  • Part 3 – Exception Drug Status (EDS) medications – medications listed in this category are only eligible if you have received prior approval from Manitoba Pharmacare.

In addition, if you have high drug costs Pharmacare may pay your prescription drug costs once you have reached your annual deductible. Your Pharmacare deductible is based on both your total family income, and the amount you pay for eligible prescription drugs. Application to Pharmacare can either be made on a one-time basis or annually. For more information on Pharmacare and to calculate your Pharmacare deductible, please visit their website at

For more information or to check if your drug is eligible under the Manitoba Formulary click here.

Exception Drug Status

Approval for Part 3 medications is given on a case-by-case basis. Your doctor must submit the application on your behalf to Manitoba Health. Manitoba Health will send you a letter confirming your eligibility for coverage. If you are approved, simply send a copy of the letter to Great-West Life to have your record updated for the period of time as outlined on you letter and retain the original. Reimbursement will not be issued unless a copy of the approval is provided.

Generic Substitution

Our plan includes generic substitution, which means that the drug prescribed by the doctor will be automatically exchanged with the lowest priced generic equivalent. The only exception to this is if your doctor has indicated on the prescription that there is no substitution allowed. Please note, a generic equivalent must have the same therapeutic benefit as the associated brand name medication.

STRATA Select Choice Hotels

The STRATA Select Program offers discounts on a variety of products and services. You can save up to 15% on Choice Hotels®. Choice Hotels® has over 325 locations spanning all provinces, over 6,300 locations worldwide and includes names such as Comfort™, Quality®, Clarion® and a few others like the upscale Ascent Hotel Collection®.

Booking is easy, visit your STRATA Select website for details!

Supporting Your Wellness

The LifeWorks website offers a wealth of information and resources to help you make the most of all aspects of your life. For the month of June, LifeWorks is featuring a suite of resources called LifeWorks Can Help.

LifeWorks Can Help showcases the variety of ways in which LifeWorks can assist you with finding solutions to personal or work conflicts, locating a therapist, managing stress and reaching your financial goals, or even preparing for retirement.

Be sure to visit to take advantage of the 2017 content, including videos, podcasts, audio tips and much more.

Please contact Human Resource Services at 204-632-2319, or refer to one of the EFAP posters around campus for the EFAP User ID and password.


Aileen Najduch – Executive Director, Community and Student Services

August 19, 2016 • Written by

Aileen Najduch H.B.O.R., B.Sc., B.A., B.Ed., M.Ed. was born and raised in Winnipeg.  Aileen has undergraduate degrees from Lakehead University and Queens University and an M.Ed. from University of Manitoba. Aileen spent the early part of her career in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, starting as a classroom teacher in remote Arctic communities and progressing to the position of Territorial Curriculum Consultant for Math and Science.  Aileen’s early experience working with youth in Northern Manitoba and teaching experiences in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories has provided a grounding in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) perspectives and an understanding of the critical role education plays in the success of FNMI youth

In 1995 Aileen returned to Manitoba to work for the Department of Education developing the Kindergarten to grade 12 provincial science curriculum.  Over her 21 years with the Department of Education she was promoted from consultant, to coordinator, to director, and after 12 years with the department, to Assistant Deputy Minister for the School Programs Division. Serving as Assistant Deputy Minister for the past eight years, Aileen has provided strategic leadership in this broad portfolio, responsible for everything from curriculum development, provincial assessments, supporting students with diverse learning needs, to the delivery of distance learning opportunities.

Aileen’s skill in establishing collaborative partnerships with educational stakeholders has been crucial to the success of the Task Force of Special Needs Funding as well as earlier work on the development of the first ever-provincial report card.   Most recently, in response to a large influx of refugees from countries such as Syria, Aileen led the efforts to facilitate the establishment of supports and services in local schools that made the successful transition of these students into Manitoba classrooms possible. Aileen has served as the Manitoba representative to the Council of Minister of Education on numerous projects, including a recent initiative focussed on Student Transitions.

Outside of work, Aileen demonstrates her commitment to the community by volunteering for numerous charities including serving as Board Chair of Community Living Interlake and previously, as chair of the Manitoba Children’s Museum.  Aileen is an enthusiastic and active canoe tripper and holds a black belt in Shotokan Karate.

Arnold Boldt, O.C. – Executive Director, Academic

August 19, 2016 • Written by

Arnold BoldA sporting icon, Red River College alumni, and a leader in post-secondary education, Arnold Boldt, O.C. brings more than 20 years’ experience in senior leadership roles in post-secondary education throughout northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan. He’s well versed with learner focused education, skills and apprenticeship training, academic programming, applied research and scholarship, and government and post-secondary relations.

His years’ in post-secondary education have allowed him to serve in a variety of roles both here in Manitoba and in Saskatchewan. Prior to joining Red River College, Arnold held various senior executive roles at Saskatchewan Polytechnic including dean of technology, associate vice president, learning & teaching and interim provost and vice president, academic. He also served in several roles at Keewatin Community College (now University College of the North) over a twelve-year period: as an instructor, coordinator, chair and principal, academic programs.

In the 1970s Boldt established himself as the world’s top amputee high jumper, garnering invitations to both disability sport and able-bodied track meets. Boldt’s World and Paralympic High Jump record set in 1980 still stands at 1.96m.

Through his prosthetician, Boldt learned about sport for amputees and competed at six Paralympics for Canada winning his first pair of gold medals at the 1976 Toronto Olympiad for the Disabled. After 1976 Boldt attended the University of Saskatchewan and University of Manitoba and competed for the track team in the high jump at the CIAU (CIS) level; he set his highest indoor jump of 2.08 as a U of M Bison at the 1980 Winnipeg Tribune Indoor Games.

For his life-long contributions to sport for the disabled and advocacy for disabled people, Arnold was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada by the Governor General in 2012 and is a recipient of the Queen’s Golden (2002) Jubilee and Diamond (2012) Medals.  In 2016 he was awarded the Chair Academy’s Idahlynn Karre International Exemplary Leadership Award, San Antonio, Texas

Arnold holds a CAE from Red River College, B.Th. from Canadian Mennonite Bible College (now CMU), a B.A. (Hons.) from the University of Manitoba, and a M.Ed. from the University of British Columbia.

Riva Harrison – Executive Director, Strategy and Communications

August 19, 2016 • Written by

Riva Harrison has 25 plus years of experience and education in strategic development, senior management, communications and journalism.

Harrison comes to Red River College from CentrePort Canada Inc., where she served as Vice President of Marketing and Communications and a key member of the team that has built North America’s largest tri-modal inland port from the ground up. Harrison is also an outgoing member of the board of directors for Travel Manitoba.

Harrison previously worked for the Province of Manitoba, leading on the development of strategic communications, crisis management and on a wide range of projects and priorities including MTS Centre, downtown Red River College campus, the Red River Floodway expansion and the annual provincial budget.

Prior to joining government, Harrison worked as a reporter and columnist at the Winnipeg Sun. Harrison covered politics, news, sports, and arts and culture during her 11 years at the paper, winning two prestigious Manitoba Human Rights Commission journalism awards. Harrison is an award-winning graduate of Creative Communications at Red River College.

Ray Hoemsen – Executive Director, Research Partnerships and Innovation

July 21, 2016 • Written by

Ray HoemsenRay Hoemsen, FEC, P. Eng., has led the establishment and growth of the applied research enterprise at Red River College since 2004, when he was appointed Director, Applied Research & Commercialization. In 2016, Ray became Executive Director, Research Partnerships & Innovation.

During his tenure, a robust research enterprise has evolved, supported by many corporate, academic and government partners – leading to ~$25-million in capital investments for research infrastructure, annual research revenue of nearly $6-million, Canadian and international research partnerships, a consistent Top 10 Canadian Research College ranking, the prestigious Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council College Synergy Award for Innovation to recognize RRC’s decade-long research partnership with Manitoba Hydro “to reduce energy consumption and increase sustainability in the region”; and the Colleges and Institutes Canada Gold Leadership Excellence Award.

Ray has specialized in The Business of Science™ since 1986, after first working with Versatile Farm Equipment and the Manitoba Research Council. He has served as the University of Manitoba’s founding Director of the Industry Liaison Office, the Vice-President/Director of Operations for the University’s Smart Park Development Corporation, and the inaugural Visiting Executive/Manager of NSERC-Prairies; as well as with the Manitoba Institute of Child Health, TRLabs, and the University of Winnipeg. As President of NEXUS Manitoba, he has focused upon innovation, technology transfer and Canada’s SR&ED program. Ray has volunteered with over 70 professional, technical, sports, and community organizations.

Ray holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Agricultural Engineering (University of Manitoba) and is an alumni of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.

Tracy Cappello – Executive Director, Finance and Campus Services

July 4, 2016 • Written by

Tracy is from Misericordia Health Centre (MHC), where her most recent position was as Chief Financial Officer.  Over the last 20 years, she has held progressively responsible senior leadership positions in large, complex non-profit organizations, including MHC, Mount Carmel Clinic, Diagnostic Services Manitoba, and Donwood Manor Group. The portfolios she supervised consisted of Finance, Budgeting, Supply Chain, Information Technology, Facility Services, Food Services, Security, and Capital Planning.  Prior to entering the healthcare field, Tracy spent 15 years as an entrepreneur, primarily in the food services industry.

In her new role at Red River College, Tracy will lead a portfolio made up of Financial Services, Budgeting, Facility Management, Security Services, Ancillary Services, Food Services, and Corporate Legal, Risk Management & Insurance Services. She will draw on her experience in building strong project teams, managing projects, improving processes, and planning and implementing technology initiatives, as well as her focus on sustainability and resource utilization, to guide and mentor her new team.

In addition to her professional accounting designation, Tracy holds a Masters Certificate in Project Management and Six Sigma Training. Her community activities include serving as a Board Member of the United Way for the last three years.

Lori Grandmont – Chief Human Resource Officer

June 28, 2016 • Written by

Lori GrandmontLori joined Red River College in 2008 and has served as Acting Vice President, Human Resources & Sustainability since January 2015.

While at the college she has led Human Resources, Staff Learning & Development, Environmental Health & Safety, Discrimination & Harassment, Equity & Diversity, Compensation & Benefits, and Sustainability programs & services.

Lori has 17 years senior leadership experience in the human resource field including a member of the Executive for Family Services & Housing with the Province of Manitoba.

Lori is the Chair of the Labour Management Committee, Co-chair of the Wellness Steering Committee and a member of the Indigenous Achievement Committee. She provides leadership and oversight to the College’s Leadership Development Strategy, and the Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Strategy.

Lori has extensive training in human resources & leadership. She is the past Vice President of The Hubbell Awards Inc. Board, which fundraises to provide scholarships to Cadets. She has also served on the Board of Directors for the Manitoba Housing Authority and Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation.

Mark Hoddenbagh – Vice-President, Strategic Development

June 22, 2016 • Written by

Mark HoddenbaghTransforming students, faculty, staff and clients through education, partnerships, entrepreneurship and applied research has been Mark’s focus since joining the college sector in 2007. This has been accomplished by developing strong internal and external networks with creative, driven and passionate people; leveraging the expertise of faculty and staff; engaging students in addressing real-world problems and opportunities; and collaborating closely with industry, government and community organizations.

Prior to joining Red River College, Mark worked at Algonquin College, as their Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives. Mark has also worked for the IOGEN Corporation in Ottawa, the Alberta Research Council in Edmonton, Millar Western Pulp Limited in Saskatchewan and the National Research Council of Canada.

While at Algonquin College, Mark was privileged to be involved with sustainability, entrepreneurship, applied research and commercialization, aboriginal affairs, First Generation students, experienced workers, school board programs, labour market information, partnerships and sponsorships, and immigrants.

He served on numerous committees including the Sustainable Algonquin Steering Committee, the College Budget Committee, the Entrepreneurship Working Group and the 2017-2022 Strategic Plan Advisory Team.

Mark has over twenty-five years of academic and applied research experience in chemistry, environmental sciences, advanced materials, pulp and paper, and biotechnology.

Mark holds a Ph.D. (Chemistry), a Bachelor of Science (Honours Chemistry) and a Bachelor of Arts (Chemistry/Spanish) from Queen’s University.

Christine Watson – Vice-President, Academic

June 22, 2016 • Written by

Christine WatsonDr. Christine Watson joined RRC in 2013 as Vice-President, Community Development and has held the role of VP, Academic since July, 2016. While at RRC, she has led the development of the recent Academic and Research Plan 2016-2021, chaired the Senior Academic Committee (SAC) and founded the RRC Apprenticeship Committee.

Since 2000, Christine has worked in senior administration, leadership, teaching and research in university and college environments in three Canadian provinces. She came to Red River College from Kwantlen Polytechnic University (British Columbia) where she served as a Dean, overseeing Educational Studies, Adult Education, English as a Second Language, and programs for people with disabilities.

Previously, Christine was Division Head of University of Regina’s Centre for Continuing Education where she su led the High School Accelerated dual-credit program.

She began her post-secondary career in Saskatchewan, first as a faculty member and then Development Officer for First Nations University of Canada.

Christine holds a B.A. English (Honours) from University of British Columbia, a M.A. (English Literature) from Queen’s University, and a Ph.D. in English Literature from University of Queensland (Australia).

Contact Information

Christine E. Watson, PhD
Vice-President, Academic
Red River College
C720 – 2055 Notre Dame Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3H 0J9

Tel: 204-632-2380
Fax: 204-694-7253