Daily COVID-19 digest
A message of thanks from the board of directors: Canadian Blood Services board chair, Mel Cappe, wanted to share with Canadian Blood Services staff the unanimous sentiments from board members about our organization’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the words of one member, “I am overwhelmingly impressed by the organization’s management of this hugely unusual circumstance.” He further wanted to share this message: “The world we live in has undergone many changes this year and Canadian Blood Services has had to be agile in responding to rapidly evolving circumstances. That means you’ve had to be agile, too, and the successes the organization has seen thus far speak to your commitment, passion and flexibility. We acknowledge your profound dedication and tireless work during these very challenging circumstances.” Read the full message on Connect.
An update on masks: Earlier today, our CEO Dr. Graham Sher sent a message to all employees to provide an update on the masks we supply at our sites. After hearing reports of masks around the globe not meeting advertised standards, we initiated and paid for third party testing for our supply. Through this process, it came to our attention that while the Gansu masks we procured protect far beyond what a cloth mask would, they are not quite at the Level 1 standard advertised by the manufacturer. We have completed a risk assessment and we want to put your mind at ease that this development does not put employees, your health or the health of donors at risk. Even though our current supply of masks protects well beyond what is recommended by public health for our operations, the fact of the matter is, we paid for Level 1 masks, we told staff this is what we would supply, and this is what we expect to receive from the supplier. Sites have already started to receive new masks and we expect this work to be completed during the week of June 29. Read the full message from Graham on your COVID-19 employee portal.
Stories from our frontline: Bert Rodrigues is a building technician in Ottawa. He has made many memories at Canadian Blood Services since he joined in 2005, such as heading to our production facility after the 2018 tornado caused widespread power outages. He also recalls a very memorable speaker at an event during his first winter with us. “There was a woman who talked about how blood products had saved her daughter’s life. It really touched me,” says Bert. “After that, this became much more than a job to me.” Read more about Bert’s story on blood.ca/stories.
Happy Pride! Pride Day (June 28), which usually marks the end of Pride Month, is a time for us to recognize the impact of the LGBTQ+ community in our society and raise awareness around the issues they face. This year’s celebration is unique because the world is experiencing a shift in consciousness as people take part in movements, marches and protests for the safety of Black lives. At the same time, we have an opportunity to connect and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community’s resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to ensuring that everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and we want all LGBTQ+ employees and volunteers to feel they can be their true selves at work. Over the past year, we’ve introduced new programs to raise awareness about issues such as accessibility, unconscious bias and workplace harassment, and to illuminate the perspectives of specific groups — notably the LGBTQ+ communities. Learn more on Connect.
Question of the day: Can you please provide an update on the plasma research program for men who have sex with men (MSM)?
The MSM plasma research program has just approved and funded four new research projects that will specifically aim to generate enough evidence for alternative screening approaches for plasma donors. This could evolve the current deferral policy for men who have sex with men while maintaining safety of the blood supply.
To achieve this objective, the research program will support feasibility assessments and pilot testing of new approaches for plasma donation in consultation with key stakeholders, including patients who depend on plasma and LGBTQ2+ communities.
Our initial pilot efforts will be focused on the two large-volume source plasma collection sites in London and Calgary
About the daily digest
This daily digest will highlight the latest policy and employee support measures, resources to help you manage our new reality and original content like articles and videos to remind us that what we do matters. Things are moving quickly, so you can expect to hear from us daily. No access to email? No problem — all this information and more can be found on blood.ca/employees from any device, no login required.
Click here to read past editions of the daily digest.
Have questions? Check out blood.ca/employees or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.