Get ready to celebrate National Blood Donor Week
This Sunday will mark the start of National Blood Donor Week (June 13–19). It’s a time where we come together to celebrate the vital role of all the incredible blood donors across the country who give generously to help save lives. This year, as we look back on the last 12 months of the pandemic, we are feeling especially grateful for donors of all kinds — blood, plasma, stem cell, organ and tissue and financial donors — for continuing to support patients in need during these difficult times. As you prepare to celebrate next week, be sure to check out our 2021 National Blood Donor Week portal. Here you’ll find social media tiles, profile photo frames and other assets to share on your social media platforms, along with key messages and other information to help you celebrate donors and show how much we appreciate their commitment to patients.
Words matter: How you can use and promote inclusive language
Don Lapierre, manager of our MSM plasma program, still vividly remembers an exchange he had in his 20s with a new colleague that left him speechless. “He was taking his time to meet all of us, doing little one-on-ones so we could get to know each other. And no one had ever asked me this before, but he asked me if I had a partner, a girlfriend or a boyfriend, and he included both options. He created that opportunity and it meant a lot to me. We became very good friends,” says Don. Visit Connect to hear more from Don about what inclusive language is and how you can incorporate more of it into your everyday life.
Landlord notifications of positive COVID-19 cases
A new feature has just been added to the COVID-19 case management page on Connect, to help keep employees and volunteers who work in multi-tenant buildings notified of confirmed cases of the virus. We will be posting notifications from landlords of facilities where we share space with other tenants, in instances where a COVID-19 case has been confirmed. Please note: If you do see a notification posted regarding your facility, no action will be required unless you are contacted directly by your manager or your local public health unit. Visit Connect to learn more.
Two doses are better than one
Dr. Mark Bigham, medical officer with Canadian Blood Services, lends his wisdom and expertise in our latest video on vaccines, which tackles the importance of getting your second dose. In most of the country, the third wave of the pandemic is on the decline. We still have some work to do, however, to get COVID-19 under control and to get back to normal. The priority is to get everyone who is eligible fully vaccinated and Mark encourages employees to take advantage of any opportunity to get their second dose. To watch the video, visit blood.ca/employees/vaccines.
During last week’s live town hall, we received the important and thoughtful question below from an employee. In the interest of time and to ensure that Graham and our panel could answer as many submitted questions as possible, this question was edited for length. We felt it was important to follow up and share the question in full, however, along with a more detailed response.
Question of the day: Many trans donors have provided feedback saying that our screening processes are damaging to their health. Some examples of these harmful processes include asking someone to say their birth name out loud; telling folks who have not undergone gender-affirming bottom surgery they must answer questions based on their sex-assigned-at-birth without a careful explanation as to why this is needed that still affirms who they are; using a birth name in our communications when a chosen name is on file. We have also heard that a sincere acknowledgement about how our binary intake system and binary ways of donor care are far from ideal for trans donors is more meaningful than defending processes that we know risk causing harm to transgender donors. This question is two-fold: What are we doing to change our tools, systems, processes to make the donation process more inclusive for trans and nonbinary donors? How are we supporting our employees to facilitate positive interactions?
We hear you that some of our current screening and donor registration practices cause pain for trans and non-binary donors. As part of our commitment to DEI we are focused on reviewing our systems and processes to be as inclusive as possible.
In the meantime, there are ways we can talk with trans and non-binary donors that can improve interactions when they have questions or concerns about their donation experiences.
An important first step is to thank the donor for their feedback and to offer a sincere acknowledgement that we hear them and we know that our current screening criteria and limited gender intake options in our software are far from ideal for trans donors.
A sincere acknowledgement can go a long way in allowing our staff to understand the pain transgender and non-binary donors experience due to these current limitations and to convey that we know there is more work to do in this space and we are committed to doing this work.
Acknowledging this pain is more meaningful to donors than defending screening and registration processes that we know are less than ideal and risk causing harm to these donors.
Note: It is okay to acknowledge that we have work to do to modernize our donor criteria and donor registration system and that we are committed to doing this.
Tools are available to support employees in having better conversations with trans and non-binary donors. We have also recently refreshed our trans awareness e-learning. It is available on the DEI resource page on Connect.
An employee FAQ/tool focused on all aspects of MSM eligibility, including trans interactions is also available on Connect.
As a partner of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, we have access to a variety of resources to raise awareness around respectful interactions with LGBTQ+ community members, including a toolkit and webinar (June 22) on gender expression and gender identity.
We encourage you to check out these resources to expand your understanding of the distinctions around gender-based interactions and advance your allyship journey with the LGBTQ+ and trans community.
About your digest
This 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. No access to email? No problem — all this information and more can be found on blood.ca/employees from any device, no login required.
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