New directors appointed to Canadian Blood Services board

FEBRUARY 16, 2023 (OTTAWA) – Canadian Blood Services is governed by a board of directors, which is made up of 13 members who are appointed by the provincial and territorial ministers of health (except Quebec). Directors serve for a minimum term of four years and can serve a maximum of up to two terms. As such, new members are regularly appointed when terms come to a close.

In December 2022, Canadian Blood Services bid adieu to three of our board members: Lorraine Muskwa (Alberta), Jeff Scott (Nova Scotia) and Vic Young (Newfoundland and Labrador). These three members served on the board for four, eight and four years respectively.

Their expertise, guidance and leadership in their roles on the board offered important oversight for Canada’s transfusion and transplantation system. Canadian Blood Services thanks each of them for their contributions and commitment to strengthening this vital aspect of our health system,

Two new board members have been selected to fill some of the empty seats (a third will be announced imminently). Canadian Blood Services would like to welcome Gertie Mai Muise who is based in both Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador and Marilyn Barrett who is based in Prince Edward Island.  

Meet our newest board members, Marilyn Barrett and Gertie Mai Muise, here:

As a national organization that provides lifesaving biological products to Canadian patients, the work of Canadian Blood Services is not just vitally important; it’s also very complex. Great effort is made to ensure a thorough understanding of our operation, governance and strategy as board members join the organization. It’s also essential that new colleagues or board members understand the history of tainted blood in this country, a tragedy from which our current blood system was borne. This helps to ensure an upholding of safety and patient outcomes above all else. 

So, board members are provided an extensive orientation as an introduction to their work with Canadian Blood Services. This orientation was recently held at our largest production site in Brampton. Board members were able to see some of the safety measures, logistics and planning that goes into an effective and efficient national transfusion system.

Now, a little more about each of the new members.

Meet Gertie Mai Muise

For the last three decades, Gertie Mai has worked within various jurisdictions of the Canadian health system and at executive-level functions for the last fifteen years. She is currently CEO of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres. This body represents 29 centres across the province that exist to improve the lives of urban Indigenous peoples while respecting Indigenous cultural distinctiveness.

Gertie Mai is a Mi’kmaq belonging to the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation in Western Newfoundland. She has specific interest and passion for improving access and the quality of health services for marginalized communities; particularly in remote, rural Canada.

Gertie Mai brings with her great expertise in government relations, public relations, stakeholder engagement as well as organizational design and development experience. Through her career she has also become well versed in financial sustainability, risk management policy enablement and advocacy.

Canadian Blood Services is proud to count Gertie Mai as a valuable new member of the board and looks forward to working toward great things together.

Meet Marilyn Barrett

Marilyn is a registered nurse and spent 30 years of her career in clinical practice. She is now the director of the health and wellness centre at the University of Prince Edward Island. Marilyn has worked on various health-related boards, for example with the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Atlantic Canada and, most recently, as board chair with the Canadian Nurses Protective Society.

She has extensive governance experience, has served on finance and audit committees and is strongly committed to equity, diversity and inclusion and Indigenization work. As a board member, she plays an active role in working toward governance bodies being representative of the communities they’re serving.

A passionate contributor to the health sector in Canada, Marilyn will bring a keen sense of practical, clinical-based knowledge, the needs of patients (particularly as they relate to the blood system) as well as a strong understanding and expertise around health-care governance.

Canadian Blood Services welcomes Marilyn to the board and looks forward to the many achievements that lie ahead in collaboration with her.