Odette building
Dillon Hall

TARA CHAN receives one of the highest Canadian civilian honours



JD/MBA student Tara Chan has been a volunteer with St. John Ambulance (SJA) since 2010. Aside from performing first aid at community events, she also works with event organizers to plan the safety logistics of events and coordinates both volunteers and equipment to ensure events are safe. Over the last 8 years, she has attended and helped plan hundreds of community events. A notable event is Canada Day 150, which is the nation’s second largest Canada Day celebration. Another favourite is Pride Parade Vancouver, where it takes place over a significant portion of downtown Vancouver. Tara is ecstatic to be currently involved with BC’s largest outdoor event, Celebration of Lights international fireworks competition in Vancouver.  


St. John Ambulance is an international non-profit organization and consists of mainly volunteers. Their mission in Canada is to enable Canadians to improve their health, safety, and quality of life by providing first aid training and community services. In the event of a natural or human disaster, medically trained volunteers are expected to play vital roles in providing for the community through their emergency response management plan.


On June 23, 2018, Tara was invested into The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (the Order of St. John) at the Senate of Canada in Ottawa. The Order of St. John is one of six Canadian National Orders and one of the highest Canadian civilian honours. The appointment to the Order is sanctioned by the Governor General on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to recognize significant achievements and remarkable service. Aside from her service, Tara understands that she was invested because of the creation of a database of events to increase the safety of events and help bridge the knowledge and experience for succession planning reasons along with her contribution to greatly increasing the presence of SJA at major events at the University of British Columbia.


As a recent recipient of the Order of St. John, Tara feels extremely honoured. Her motivation to volunteer was wanting to master her first aid skills so she could be of use in times of need. She values the life lessons from this opportunity and how her desire to help has led her to receiving this honour. She believes that volunteering is an integral part of building someone’s character. Leading a team of 4 assistants, she mentors them and ensures that they are able to grow their public speaking and planning skills in their positions through ample opportunities. 


Tara really enjoys coordinating large-scale events. She enjoys planning logistics like the number of attendants and posts, the quantity and type of equipment, timing of coverage, access to food, and evacuation sites among other factors. The wide range of people that Tara needs to coordinate with could just be SJA members and the event organizers or could include the city of Vancouver, paramedics, and others. Tara is also very interested in emergency preparedness because of the overdue earthquake on the West Coast. She is a part of an amateur radio club and volunteered through them at a call center to help those directly affected by the 2016 Fort McMurray fire.


Currently finishing her MBA, she is excited to put what she has learned to improve her event planning which will hopefully translate to safer events in the community. She believes that her experience with dealing with safety logistics along with the MBA will help her with managing future team projects and initiatives as well. Tara will be returning back to the law school in September to finish both her law degree and the remaining requirements of her MBA. Tara cannot wait to start using her dual degrees to bring positive changes to her community as a lawyer.