In honour of Employee Appreciation Day on March 5, our CEO shares his gratitude for our incredible teams: This week, we are celebrating Employee Appreciation Day with fun activities all week long. “There will be several opportunities to pause to celebrate with each other to thank your colleagues and show your appreciation to them. But I wanted to take this moment to express my personal appreciation,” says Graham Sher, CEO. Graham has recorded a video message for employees as we kick off this week of fun. Watch his full video message here.
Winter Wellness Challenge — share gratitude to lower stress: Many studies have shown that positive thinking can have encouraging effects on a person’s overall well-being. Week three of the Winter Wellness Challenge is all about flexing our positivity muscles and promoting peer appreciation, with Employee Appreciation Day rounding out the week on March 5. For Belinda Tomiyama, talent acquisition specialist in Calgary, Alta., positive thinking is closely tied to expressing gratitude. “Human connection is the thing that’s going to get us through this pandemic. That and finding the thing that refills your cup, whatever it is,” she says. “I’m a big believer that if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others.” Read more on Connect.
How stem cell transplants continued through a COVID-19-related shutdown: After we temporarily suspended most operations at Ottawa’s Concourse Gate facility, a small but dedicated team of lab specialists were among a small group of employees who kept heading to work because lives depended on it. Five medical laboratory technologists and two supervisors rotated through shifts — two at a time — to process stem cells for 17 patients awaiting transplants. “I’m really proud of them, and grateful that they were able to come in and continue this work for the patients,” says Dr. Heidi Elmoazzen, director of stem cells. “We have such amazing staff, and they’re always thinking about the patient first.” Read more on blood.ca/stories.
Black History Month comes to a close but our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work is just beginning: In his latest Snapshots blog post, our CEO reflects on Black History Month and the importance of our ongoing DEI work. "If we are to truly fulfil our role as Canada’s Lifeline, it is our duty to acknowledge our past, to engage with all aspects of our diversity, and to meaningfully build a more inclusive and equitable future for all." Read more on Connect.
‘I hope we keep the momentum going': Last year, Akintunde Adeniyi, information security analyst in Ottawa, and his wife were blessed with the arrival of their first child Tobi amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Tobi’s birth coincided with the Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and racial injustice in early June. Akintunde recalls watching the searing video of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man whose death in police custody caused great anger around the world. “Like me and my wife, Tobi has brown skin and dark curly hair, so naturally we already started worrying about his safety the moment he was born,” says Akintunde. “No one wants their child to ever go through racism or discrimination of any kind.” But Akintunde was hopeful. He saw organizations and groups come out to publicly condemn racism. He was already aware of some projects that were being launched at Canadian Blood Services to make it more diverse and inclusive. And although he was initially unhappy with the slow pace of the diversity, equity and inclusion work here, he became excited when it ramped up and became a focus. Read more on blood.ca/stories.
Question of the day: I’ve heard that some experts are moving towards recommending double masking. Does Canadian Blood Services recommend that employees wear double masks to limit the spread of COVID-19?
As the global community continues to respond to the COVID-19 landscape, research and scientific evidence on the benefits of double masking are evolving. Although some researchers are suggesting that double masking may be advantageous, a consensus among global public health officials has not been determined.
At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) does not recommend double masking as an effective way to limit the spread of COVID-19. In line with this guidance, Canadian Blood Services does not recommend or require employees, volunteers, contractors or donors to wear double masks in our environments.
Canadian Blood Services supplied surgical masks are mandatory for all donors, employees, contractors and volunteers. We are confident that when worn properly they provide effective protection against COVID-19. Our surgical masks are certified to at least ASTM Level 1, meaning they are tested to meet certain requirements for filtration efficiency (minimum 95 per cent filtration) and breathability. To protect yourself and others, it is important to ensure that your surgical mask is well-fitting. It should be large enough to completely and comfortably cover your nose, mouth and chin without gaping.
We’ve had some employees ask whether they can wear double masks while at work. Although double masking is not required in our environments, we’ve updated our mask policy to provide guidance if an employee or volunteer chooses to double mask:
- If you choose to wear two masks, you should wear a Canadian Blood Services surgical mask closest to your skin and a cloth mask as the outer layer. You should not wear two surgical masks since the evidence of improved mask performance is based only on using a surgical and cloth mask together.
- If you find that the double masking interferes with comfortable breathing, you should return to wearing a single Canadian Blood Services provided surgical mask. If you are unable to tolerate a surgical mask directly against your skin, you continue to have the option to wear the Canadian Blood Services supplied surgical mask over a cloth mask.
For more information on mask requirements at Canadian Blood Services, visit blood.ca/employees/ppe.
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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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