In December 2021, we hired a chief diversity officer to lead our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts. This executive level role reports directly to the CEO and works closely with senior leadership to drive our DEI strategy.
We have established several Employee Resource Groups to provide safe spaces for employees who share common identities to build a community and sense of belonging at work. To date, we have established groups for 2SLGBTQIA+ employees; employees with visible and invisible disabilities; employees who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour; and women in senior leadership.
We are committed to Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous communities and individuals. With the guidance of employees and external consultants with lived experience, we are taking meaningful steps to address the historical and ongoing health inequities that exist for First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples across the country. We are currently partnering with Indigenous employees and communities to develop an organizational Reconciliation Action Plan to help support positive and reciprocal relationships with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. Our executive management team has also completed in-depth training on the impacts of colonization, cultural humility and cultural safety.
We have launched training for employees that focuses on building cultural awareness and providing the tools and supports needed to nurture more welcoming and inclusive environments.
We have implemented optional and anonymous self-identifying questions for candidates to help identify where we can be more inclusive in our hiring practices and ensure all applicants have equitable opportunities when applying for jobs at Canadian Blood Services.
We have made the process for career development and advancement for existing employees more transparent and accessible. Our priority is to develop the wealth of potential within our organization and ensure our highly capable people have ample opportunities to learn, grow and build rewarding careers.
We continue to take incremental steps toward cultivating environments where everyone feels included and valued. This includes a new option for employees to include pronouns on their name badges and in branded email signatures, and adding Two Spirit (2S), intersex, and asexual identities to the acronym we use: 2SLGBTQIA+.
Before the end of 2021, we will make a submission to Health Canada, our regulator, to recommend using sexual behaviour-based screening for all donors, regardless of their gender or sexuality.
In September 2021, we received approval from Health Canada for some gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men to donate source plasma at our London, Ont. and Calgary, Alta. donor centres.
We are undertaking work to make donor registration more inclusive. This includes working with our software vendor to incorporate new functionality to support the donors’ ability to register their gender in addition to the sex assigned to them at birth.
We are working to improve the ethnic diversity of our donor and registrant base, so that we can more readily meet rare blood, stem cell and other specific patient needs.
We are taking steps to build trust with equity-deserving communities and individuals, to identify all existing donor barriers and to engage stakeholders with lived experience to help us find meaningful solutions.
We are working with our partners and external stakeholders to develop community-led strategies that will help us better engage with donors and provide thoughtful and inclusive outreach.
We are listening and learning from our partners and external stakeholders to create fully accessible experiences and to remove barriers to participation.
Organizations and community groups across the country are helping to make a meaningful difference for patients through partnerships with Canada’s Lifeline. With the support of national partners like Sikh Nation, Hockey Gives Blood, Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, OtherHalf– Chinese Stem Cell Initiative and more, we are raising awareness and recruiting new donors and registrants from diverse cultural backgrounds and age groups. The dedicated efforts of our partners and Partners for Life members – from awareness building to group donations to financial giving – have a direct impact on patients in Canada and the families who love them.
Lena Mallary saw cord blood save a child’s life shortly before she welcomed her own ‘miracle baby’ with Cory GreenhalghRead the full story