Vaccination policy information for employees

We are thankful to all employees for their continued dedication to our important work during the ever-changing pandemic and grateful to those who have stepped up and received their COVID-19 vaccinations.

As of October 31, 2021, we are a fully vaccinated workplace. Moving forward, we expect all new Canadian Blood Services employees, including fee-for-service contractors, volunteers to be fully vaccinated (meaning the complete COVID-19 vaccine dosage as approved by Health Canada)

Policy FAQs

It was stated earlier that Canadian Blood Services would likely not require vaccinations for employees. What has changed?

The COVID-19 landscape is constantly changing. We are continuously monitoring and considering how best to keep employees safe and ensure the security of our essential operations. There is extensive scientific data that demonstrates vaccines to be the most effective way to reduce the risk of COVID-19. This, combined with surges of highly contagious variants circulating, is the reason we have decided to move towards a fully vaccinated workplace. A fully vaccinated workplace is essential to safeguarding employee health and wellness, in addition to protecting our operations.

How we will collect, use and store COVID-19 vaccination information?

The protection of your information is and will be of utmost importance. We have developed processes and tools that align with security requirements, applicable privacy legislation and our corporate Employee Personal Information Protection Policy (POL013).

We will only collect information that is necessary and any information you provide will be securely stored on our internal systems. Only Canadian Blood Services staff who need to know your vaccine status information will have access to it.   

Canadian Blood Services will use your vaccination status information to verify whether you are able to come onsite, to follow-up with those who are not fully vaccinated, to determine compliance with the COVID-19 vaccination policy and manage its relationship with you as an employee or fee-for-service contractor. Canadian Blood Services may also use your vaccination status information for COVID-19 case management and risk management purposes (e.g., if there is a positive case of COVID-19 at a site, Canadian Blood Services may use the information to quickly identify and notify those employees and contractors at highest risk and assess/manage the impact on staffing and operations).   

In addition, if you are required to be at any other location to perform a Canadian Blood Services job function, Canadian Blood Services may share your COVID-19 vaccination status information with that site, as required. In line with our corporate Employee Personal Information Protection Policy, this information may also be disclosed where permitted or required by law, otherwise, we will not disclose this information without your consent. 

 

What about employees who are on long-term leave?

Employees on long-term leaves shall work with their leaders to determine a specific compliance timeline related to their return to work date.   

Proof of Vaccination (POV) FAQs

Employees and fee-for-service contractors already attested to the fact that they are vaccinated. Why do they have to provide proof?

The vaccine policy evolves as we continue to respond to the pandemic, and we are learning and adjusting along the way. This phase of our vaccination policy is a verification step, similar to the validation of other records evidencing critical requirements or processes in the organization. This step will also ensure CBS is compliant with government orders and hospital policies that require CBS to retain proof of vaccination. In addition, the organization rolled out the vaccine policy in August 2021 when inconsistent vaccination receipts were available. Now vaccination receipts and provincial vaccination QR codes are standardized and more readily available for employees.

What will happen if don’t provide POV even if I attested to the fact that I have been vaccinated?

If an employee is not willing to provide proof of vaccination, their manager will select “Requested – not provided” in MEDA. Depending on the situation, a member from PCP or EHS will follow up with the manager and/or employee and take further action. 

How will my manager verify proof of vaccination?

Managers will schedule a private meeting with each direct report, either in-person or virtually through Microsoft Teams. Before the meeting, have available your COVID-19 immunization record issued by a Canadian government, QR code (preferred) or other proof of vaccination documents at the meeting. Do not send your POV ahead of time through email or Teams chat.  

How will my POV be verified?

At the scheduled meeting, review of POV documentation can be done using one of the following options:  

  • QR Codes issued by a Canadian government:  Your manager will download one of the provincial Verifier apps onto their phone and scan the QR code through Teams.  
  • Alternatively, visually read the QR screen to confirm the name of the employee and the vaccination status.  
  • For printed or electronic receipts issued by a Canadian government: Visually check the name of the employee on the POV and the vaccination details.   

What is the definition for fully vaccinated?

An employee is considered fully vaccinated if they have received the complete COVID-19 vaccine dosage as approved by Health Canada, or any combination of such vaccines:   

  • two doses of Moderna (now named Spikevax), Pfizer-BioNTech (now named Comirnaty), AstraZeneca (now named Vaxzevria), including Covishield in any combination   
  • one dose of Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)  
  • one or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine not authorized by Health Canada followed by one dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine authorized by Health Canada (Moderna or Pfizer)  

If the individual has received different vaccines their POV can be reviewed by EHS.  

How is my POV review captured in MEDA?

After your meeting, your manager will access the COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination app in MEDA and select the appropriate option in the drop-down menu to indicate they have reviewed or attempted to review your POV:  

  • Scanned through provincial QR verifier app” indicates they have scanned the employee’s QR code which shows they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  
  • Reviewed - visually” indicates they have visually viewed the employee’s POV which shows they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  
  • Requested – not provided” indicates they have requested the POV from the employee and they could not or were unwilling to provide appropriate POV to them. 
  • “N/A - for FFS only” is to be used for a small subset of contractors working from outside the country and the FFS parent company has provided documentation through the procurement process.  

How can managers be sure that what they are shown is a legitimate document?

If verifying through a QR code and app, the app will confirm that the QR code is valid. Provincial QR codes have a standard consistent format, additional information is available here. If you are unsure about the validity of printed or electronic receipts issued by a Canadian government, contact communications@blood.ca

What new information is being collected and stored about each employee or fee for service contractor? How long will this information be kept on file?

An employee’s proof of vaccination is to be viewed only by their manager or their manager’s delegate, or in limited circumstances, Employee Health Services. Copies of proof of vaccination should not be sent electronically to managers and this information should not be retained. Only your name and information confirming vaccination status will be required to be viewed. Any other personal information (e.g. date of birth, health card number, booster shots, etc.) can be blocked. If government verification apps are used to confirm vaccination status, your personal information will not be saved on the device used to scan the QR code.

Do they need to provide proof-of-vaccination for booster shots?

Proof of vaccination for booster shots is not required at this time. Access to and timing of additional doses, beyond your first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is the responsibility of local and regional public health authorities. We encourage staff to monitor updates in your area and seek the opportunity to get additional doses of the vaccine when available and appropriate as determined by local public health authorities. 

What if I do not want to show my proof of vaccination?

Your manager will simply verify that you received their vaccination(s) by viewing your name and vaccination details or seeing a green check mark on the app once the QR code is scanned, similar to how status is verified to enter certain public venues. If you still do not want to share POV, your manager will select “Requested – not provided” in MEDA and you will be contacted by PCP or EHS.

POV support: 

Question 

Contact 

I have comments or questions on our policy, the program, or the collection of information. 

communications@blood.ca  

I am having trouble logging onto MEDA or there is a technical issue with the app or need to get an Entrust card to be able to logon remotely. 

National Service Desk at x2500 

An employee does not want to show their POV to me, or I am unable to confirm full vaccination based on the documentation shown. 

Mark “Requested – not provided” in the MEDA tool. (EHS will follow up with the manager / employee.) 

As a manager/supervisor, I can see employees on the app which do not report to me. 

National Service Desk at x2500 

I entered my status, but now I need to go back in and change it. Is this possible?

As you move through the process to become fully vaccinated you will need to keep your status updated. To update your status you can either go into the app on meda.blood.ca and make the updates directly or if you have exhausted all means to access meda.blood.ca to enter your status, a fillable form can be downloaded from Connect, either filled in online or printed and filled in. This form can then be emailed to ehs@blood.ca or faxed to 613-260-4020 for entry.  

What will Canadian Blood Services do with my vaccination status information? 

The protection of your information is and will be of utmost importance. We have developed processes and tools that align with security requirements, applicable privacy legislation and our corporate Employee Personal Information Protection Policy (POL013).  Canadian Blood Services will use your vaccination status information to verify whether you are able to come onsite, to follow-up with those who are not fully vaccinated, to determine compliance with the COVID-19 vaccination policy and manage its relationship with you as an employee or fee-for-service contractor. Canadian Blood Services may also use your vaccination status information for COVID-19 case management and risk management purposes (e.g., if there is a positive case of COVID-19 at a site, Canadian Blood Services may use the information to quickly identify and notify those employees and contractors at highest risk and assess/manage the impact on staffing and operations). 

In addition, if you are required to be at any other location to perform a Canadian Blood Services job function, Canadian Blood Services may share your COVID-19 vaccination status information with that site, as required. In line with our corporate Employee Personal Information Protection Policy, this information may also be disclosed where permitted or required by law, otherwise, we will not disclose this information without your consent. 

Who at Canadian Blood Services will need to know or have access to my vaccination status information?

Only Canadian Blood Services staff that need to know your vaccination status for reasonable purposes related to managing the employment relationship, including to verify whether you are able to come onsite, to follow-up with those that are not fully vaccinated, to determine compliance with the COVID-19 vaccination policy, and for COVID-19 case management and risk management purposes, will have access to your vaccination status information.

How were COVID-19 vaccines developed so quickly?

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Do COVID-19 vaccines have side effects?

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Volunteers, Contractor, and Visitors FAQs

How can you ensure volunteers are vaccinated?

We are collecting vaccination information from volunteers. After October 1, volunteers will need to have received their required dosage of an approved COVID-19 vaccine before volunteering with Canadian Blood Services.  

How can you ensure contractors are vaccinated?

Starting October 6, 2021, contractors with an agreement with Canadian Blood Services must be fully vaccinated before accessing any Canadian Blood Services sites. Fully vaccinated means that any such person must have received the required dosage of a COVID-19 vaccination approved by Health Canada.

  • In September 2021, the procurement department sent out letters to contractors and service providers to advise of the policy and request confirmation of compliance. A central list of companies who have agreed to comply is being maintained and will be referenced before allowing a company representative entrance to a Canadian Blood Services site. If a letter is not on file staff at operational entrances are required to verify vaccination status for vendors/contractors/service providers. We are working through alternative options for any critical contractors who are unable to comply. Please note if you or your staff get any questions on the policy, you can advise vendors to submit their questions to COVID19VendorQuestions@blood.ca

How should short in and out instances, including deliveries from contractors, be handled?

Short contact or in and out services including deliveries, drop-off, pick-up, or providing signatures where the contractor is not entering the facility are excluded from the vaccination verification step. Typically, these engagements are less than 15 minutes and do not require further access into a site. COVID-19 measures such as physical distancing and wearing masks apply. Where feasible, our staff should work with contractors to establish contactless delivery options. The goal would be to minimize contact with delivery company employees wherever possible.

If contractors show proof of vaccination, do they still need to pass the Wellness Checkpoint?

Yes. Completion of the COVID-19 Wellness Checkpoint and the vaccination verification step are both required and the Wellness Check should happen first.

Will landscapers, snow removal and waste pick-up trucks be required to complete vaccination verification?

Where there is no requirement to be inside a site or building, there is no requirement to verify the vaccination status of those outside on the property. If there is a requirement to be inside a site or building for more than 15 minutes, these contractors would be subject to the same proof of vaccination requirements as other contractors. If these contractors are inside a site or building briefly, under 15 minutes, they would not have a requirement to provide proof of vaccination. 

Who can request to see vaccination status for contractors?

A small and streamlined number of persons who are staffing operational entrances are required to respectfully verify vaccination status for vendors/contractors/service providers: those who are staffing operational entrances such as Facilities, Security, Shipping/Receiving, Clinic Manager/Supervisor, and employee overseeing the Wellness Checkpoint.

What about contractors entering mobile sites?

Contractors under agreement directly with Canadian Blood Services that are completing work at leased sites or mobiles are required to comply with vaccination verification.

Requirements for contractors and cleaners provided by the leased or mobile site are still being developed and will be communicated at a future date.

What about construction sites?

Sites deemed construction sites that are under the care, custody, and control of construction contractors do not have Canadian Blood Services operational entrances and are excluded from the Canadian Blood Services vaccination verification until formal turnover/handover to Canadian Blood Services occurs.

What constitutes as a visitor?

Visitors include those who have received an invitation from a Canadian Blood Services’ employee to any Canadian Blood Services’ property or mobile donor event. Visitors considered in scope of the policy are those individuals who are not employees, volunteers, third-party contractors and/or donors. Some examples include: unpaid students, medical residents, committee members, research participants, Alliance of Blood Operators (ABO) partners, media and non-government inspectors/auditors. Emergency services and donor support persons are excluded from the scope of this policy. Children who are not yet eligible for vaccination will not be permitted on site.

Who is responsible for verifying the vaccination status of visitors?

The Canadian Blood Services employee (applicable director or designate) liaising directly with a visitor is required to provide guidance to the visitor to ensure they follow and comply with all COVID-19 safety measures as appropriate when visiting Canadian Blood Services sites. (See Guidelines for Visitors).

The employee (applicable director/designate) or those managing entrances will be accountable for verifying the visitors proof of COVID-19 vaccination upon arrival, and/or; a signed letter acknowledging that all representatives from their party are fully vaccinated.

Visits should be planned in advance and a Canadian Blood Services employee (applicable director or designate) accompanies the visitor(s) for the duration of their visit.

Where do we check a visitor's vaccination status?

The vaccination verification step will take place at operational entrances (not at property perimeter) along with the Wellness Check. These operational entrances include: 

  1. Reception main entrances. 
  2. Collections site main doors /doorways where people enter Canadian Blood Services space. Excluded are any perimeter entryways such as mall entrances. 

Vaccination information will not be retained.  

What proof of vaccination is acceptable for visitors?

Proof of vaccination for COVID-19 should include:

  • Government issued identification confirming identity and one of the following forms of proof of vaccination: 
    • Provincial standardized proof of vaccination (e.g. QR Code), or
    • A receipt issued by the public health authority, pharmacy or clinical provider that proves that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19

Note the individual should demonstrate they have satisfied provincial requirements to be deemed fully vaccinated (all required doses of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine), including having received the final dose at least 14 days prior.

For visitors who have received COVID-19 vaccinations outside of Canada: A paper or digital vaccination record of an individual’s COVID 19 immunization date(s) issued by the government of the state or country in which they were immunized. Vaccination documents in languages other than in English or French must receive a certified translation into English. 

What about visitors who do not provide proof of vaccination?

For those visitors who do not provide proof of vaccination, alternate virtual engagements will be offered.

If a visitor shows proof of vaccination, do they still need to pass the Wellness Checkpoint?

Yes. Completion of the COVID-19 Wellness Checkpoint and the vaccination verification step are both required and the Wellness Check should happen first.

Donor FAQs

We are experiencing inventory challenges. Is it a good idea to exclude donors at this time? 

We recognize there are inventory challenges at the moment and we are closely monitoring the situation. Given that our data from surveys and studies indicates that the vast majority of our donors are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and after assessing the positive feedback from our test sites, we believe we can move forward with implementing this next step and continue delivering the blood products Canadians rely on. In addition, we are actively recruiting new donors that will help boost the current inventory. As we continually respond to the impacts of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic our top priority is to provide a safe workplace while also minimizing any disruptions to our collections and inventory.

My province has removed vaccine mandates, why is Canadian Blood Services encouraging donors to be vaccinated?

We recognize that some provinces are changing their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are closely monitoring what those changes could mean in relation to our donor vaccination messaging. We are encouraging donors to be fully vaccinated before entering our collection events. We do not require donors to provide proof of vaccination and we will not turn away unvaccinated donors. We continue to respond to impacts of the pandemic based on the rapidly evolving COVID-19 epidemiology. Our top priority is to provide a safe workplace while also minimizing any disruptions to our collections and inventory. 

COVID-19 is increasingly impacting those who are vaccinated, so does this approach make sense? Shouldn’t we continue accepting all donors and focus our efforts on implementing more protective measures like rapid screening and N95 masks? 

Vaccination remains the strongest level of protection against COVID-19, and although we are seeing more positive cases among vaccinated individuals, we feel this approach will provide extra assurance to employees, volunteers and donors that we continue to have health and safety of our workplace top of mind. In addition, we have a steady supply of N95 masks and rapid screening test kits available to our frontline teams. N95 masks can be provided to donors who ask for one, if supply allows. We are unable to implement a donor rapid screening program.

Why are we taking this approach now? We should have done this long ago. 

As we continually respond to the impacts of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic our top priority is to provide a safe workplace while also minimizing any disruptions to our collections and inventory. When vaccines became widely available, we focused our attention on implementing a mandatory vaccination policy for our employees, fee-for-service contractors, volunteers and visitors. Once these policies were implemented, we started looking at how we could approach a donor vaccination policy, while considering the potential impact to collections and inventory. Having a complete understanding of how this could affect donors and the organization is critical before taking any action.  

We understand some provinces are lifting restrictions including requirements to show proof of vaccination. Our encouragement of donors to be fully vaccinated is not a mandate and we are not checking proof of vaccination or turning unvaccinated donors away. Our approach remains consistent with scientific data that emphasizes the importance of vaccination in response to this pandemic. As always, we continually respond to the impacts of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and will adjust our approach as necessary. 

How will this approach be communicated to donors? 

Donors will receive the message, encouraging them to be fully vaccinated before entering our sites, through recruitment emails, reminder emails, our website, the donor portal and the Give Blood app. As an extra measure, a poster on each site’s door will convey the message for donors when they arrive.

What does “fully vaccinated” mean? 

To be fully vaccinated means having the complete COVID-19 vaccine dosage determined by a Canadian government. Boosters or third doses are not included in the scope at this time.

When will this approach be implemented? 

We plan to implement these messages nationally in mid-February. 

Will proof of vaccination be required?  

No, we will not ask donors to show proof of vaccination.

What happens if a donor arrives and states they are not vaccinated? 

If an unvaccinated donor decides to go ahead and enter our site, they will be permitted to do so. However, as with all donors, they will be required to follow our established, COVID-19 measures that have been effective in preventing outbreaks in our spaces throughout this pandemic.

Is the eventual goal to implement a mandatory vaccination policy for donors?  

We are encouraging donors to be fully vaccinated before entering our sites. The goal is to further safeguard others and our environments. As always, we continually respond to the impacts of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and will adjust our approach as necessary.

If we are allowing unvaccinated donors to come in anyway, how does this accomplish the goal of protecting our environments? 

We ensure  a safe and healthy workplace by continuing to have COVID-19 measures/protocols in place. This includes measures such as a wellness screening checkpoint, mandatory masks, physical distancing measures, enhanced and frequent cleaning practices, a fully vaccinated workplace and encouraging blood donors to be fully vaccinated before entering our sites. All donors, including unvaccinated, will be required to follow our established, COVID-19 measures that have been effective in preventing outbreaks in our spaces throughout this pandemic. As always, we continually respond to the impacts of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and will adjust our approach as necessary.

What about donors who claim they are exempt from vaccinations? 

We will not turn donors away if they say they are not vaccinated. They will still be allowed to enter our site. Please remind them to follow our established, strict COVID-19 measures.

Does this approach apply to donors with rare blood types or matched donors?  

We will not turn any donors away if they say they are not vaccinated. They will still be allowed to enter a site. Please remind them to follow our established, strict COVID-19 measures.

What should we do if a donor becomes upset or aggressive? 

If someone is unhappy with this approach and becomes aggressive, notify your supervisor and follow our usual protocols for escalation. If the situation escalates where you are concerned for your safety, please call 911. Ensure the situation is reported and escalated to your Manager and Director. 

Are we concerned that not making vaccination mandatory for all donors might discourage some donors from booking appointments? 

We recognize that some of our regular donors may have decided to pause on donating blood during the pandemic to avoid public spaces. We ensure a safe and healthy workplace by continuing to have COVID-19 measures/protocols in place. This includes measures such as a wellness screening checkpoint, mandatory masks, physical distancing measures, enhanced and frequent cleaning practices, a fully vaccinated workforce and encouraging blood donors to be vaccinated before entering our sites.

As always, we continually respond to the impacts of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and will adjust our approach as necessary.

Where can we direct people for more information around this decision?

If someone has any questions or feedback regarding this decision, please ask them to contact feedback@blood.ca or call 1-888-2-DONATE.  

What is the guidance for mobile sites that require donors be vaccinated to enter?

Canadian Blood Services has been confirmed as an essential/critical health services provider by the federal and provincial governments for purposes of the COVID-19 pandemic. Provincial proof of vaccination requirement for non-essential services do not apply to Canadian Blood Services’ blood donor events. These events are held for the health-related purpose of allowing us to collect blood required for Canadian patients, rather than for a discretionary or recreational purpose. 

A donor’s vaccination status is not a requirement for entry to Canadian Blood Services’ blood collection events. A letter detailing the exemption will be provided to owners of sites (mobile sites/ permanent sites not owned by Canadian Blood Services) within which a blood collection event is being planned. The site owner will be asked to acknowledge the letter. In situations where the site owner declines to acknowledge the exemption, the following guidelines will apply: 

  • For donors with appointments to attend a collection event, Canadian Blood Services will provide advance notice regarding the site entry requirement requested by the property owner, and emphasizing that donors’ proof of vaccination information is not required, collected or retained by Canadian Blood Services. 
  • The process by which proof of vaccination will be checked prior to entry will be the responsibility of the site location owner, and will not be conducted by Canadian Blood Services employees. 

If you have any questions regarding donor proof of vaccination to enter blood collection events , please contact communications@blood.ca.