A roadmap to guide our reconciliation journey with Indigenous peoples and communities

Sept.29, 2022 (OTTAWA) – Canadian Blood Services is entering a significant chapter of our truth and reconciliation journey this week, with the public release of our organization’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). 

The RAP is a roadmap for how Canadian Blood Services intends to collaborate and work with Indigenous employees, donors, registrants, partners, stakeholders and communities moving forward. It provides a framework for translating our reconciliation commitments into meaningful actions that will benefit First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and communities.  

The RAP invites everyone at Canadian Blood Services to take up the important work of reconciliation, with detailed goals and commitments to: 

  • Build and sustain positive and reciprocal relationships with First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, communities and organizations;  
  • Address existing barriers to donation and improve representation of Indigenous peoples amongst our donor and registrant bases.  
  • Engage in continuous learning and education about Indigenous cultures and histories and culturally-sensitive processes and engagement activities to advance reconciliation.   
  • Support the creation of culturally-safe, welcoming and inclusive spaces and opportunities for dialogue with, and among, First Nations, Métis and Inuit employees. 
  • Develop and adapt strategies and campaigns in collaboration with First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and communities that respect Indigenous perspectives and worldviews.  

“We are dedicated to evolving Canadian Blood Services into an inclusive place where First Nations, Métis and Inuit employees can thrive, and where rare blood, stem cell and other specific needs of Indigenous patients can be more readily met,” said Dr. Graham Sher, CEO.  

“Reconciliation requires time, allocation of resources and ongoing commitment — and we are devoted to this pathway of humility, awareness, dialogue and action.” 

The development of the RAP has been an inclusive two-year learning and dialogue process. The plan has been largely informed by Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees as well as First Nations, Métis and Inuit community partners. It is meant to serve as an evolving document, and its recommendations and goals will be actioned and tailored based on continuous feedback received from Indigenous partners and stakeholders.   

“A RAP is really a roadmap for reconciliation. It’s a way of strengthening commitment towards action that is mutually beneficial for Indigenous nations, communities and organizations,” said Dr. Jeff Ganohalidoh Corntassel, a citizen of Cherokee Nation and chief operating officer at Quintessential Research Group, a consulting firm that partnered with Canadian Blood Services to develop the RAP.   

“It’s also a way of addressing the ongoing legacies of colonization, which have disrupted our families, our ways of being, our relationships to place and to each other. It’s about working consistently to restore the health and well-being of our communities.” 

Ceremonial event symbolizes our deep and ongoing commitment to reconciliation  

To demonstrate that we are embarking on our reconciliation journey in a meaningful way, an intimate ceremonial event was held at Canadian Blood Services’ head office in Ottawa on Sept. 28, to officially launch the RAP.  

During the event, Canadian Blood Services was presented with a traditional Coast Salish blanket by weaver Myrna Crossley of Songhees First Nation. The blanket symbolizes the connections between nations and the hard work of reconciliation that we are committed to.  

The event was held on Canadian Blood Services’ 24th anniversary — and just days before the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This timing is meant to symbolize our deep and ongoing commitment to reconciliation and to demonstrate how this work aligns with our core mission, vision and values.  

“Canadian Blood Services is thrilled to finally share this plan publicly after years of hard work, and its release signals a new beginning in our reconciliation journey,” said Andrew Biteen, associate director of community inclusion and engagement. 

“We’re incredibly grateful to the Indigenous employees, community members, Elders and consultants who have guided us in this critical work so far and have presented us with the opportunity to build trust and work collaboratively with Indigenous communities across Canada.”  

Download the full plan here or visit our Reconciliation Action Plan page to read an overview of our commitments to reconciliation.