Canada’s Safest Employers award
Canadian Blood Services has achieved an award of excellence in the public sector/non-profit employer category for the 2021 Canada’s Safest Employers Awards (CSEAs). This is an independent awards program in the occupational health and safety (OHS) profession recognizing achievements, leadership and innovation over the past 12 months. Even though the pandemic presented the organization with new and unexpected challenges, our employees’ unwavering commitment to the health and safety of donors and colleagues remained steadfast.
Thank you to those who shared feedback during the nomination process and for acknowledging that health and safety is everyone’s responsibility. If you have a question or comment about safety issues, contact your local OHS coordinator, or email Ask.OHS@blood.ca anytime.
Site chosen for new donor centre in Scarborough
While searching for the right location for a new fixed donor centre in Scarborough, Ont., the site project team wanted to ensure that it would be modern, inviting, easily accessible for employees and volunteers and centrally located for donors. Among those and other great features, the chosen location has 8,100 sq. ft of bright workspace with ample free parking, proximity to transit and a separate delivery entrance. The anticipated opening of the centre, which will have capacity for eight whole blood beds, two platelet beds and eight beds to collect large volume source plasma, is slated to open at the end of 2022. Read more and see site photos on Connect.
The ABCs of 2SLGBTQIA+
As we progress along our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) journey, we are working toward cultivating a workplace where everyone feels included and valued. Thanks to the input of members in our 2SLGBTQIA+ employee resource group, we have adopted a revised acronym that is already in use by various individuals, communities and organizations. Going forward, the full acronym we will now be using across all Canadian Blood Services channels is 2SLGBTQIA+.
Adding the ‘2S’ acronym in front acknowledges and respects that Two Spirit Indigenous people were the first sexual and gender minority people in North America. We have also added ‘I’ and ‘A’ to acknowledge intersex and asexual identities. Language is constantly evolving, as is our understanding of identities, sexualities, and other aspects that make us all unique. You can find more information, and a glossary of terms, on Connect.
Question of the day: Is there anything we’re doing as an organization to immediately take action on issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)?
We are currently taking tangible and ongoing steps to modify our practices and policies and to cultivate a donor base and workforce that more fully and equitably reflects Canada’s diverse population. These steps include:
- Hiring of a chief diversity officer, who will report to the CEO. This executive level role will also work closely with senior leadership to drive our DEI strategy and cultivate a more supportive and inclusive work environment and donor experience.
- Supporting 19 research projects that are investigating donors’ eligibility criteria and screening processes. Many of these research projects have contributed to the evidence we need for our upcoming submission to our regulator, Health Canada, to use sexual behaviour-based screening for all donors regardless of their gender or sexuality. We intend to make this submission by the end of 2021. In September 2021, we also received approval from Health Canada for some gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men to donate source plasma at our London, Ont. and Calgary, Alta. donor centres.
- Undertaking work to make donor registration more inclusive. This includes working with our ePROGESA software vendor to incorporate new functionality to support donor’s ability to register their gender in addition to the sex assigned to them at birth.
- Implementing optional and anonymous self-identifying questions for candidates to help us identify where we can be more inclusive in our hiring practices and ensure all applicants have equitable opportunities when applying.
- Taking ongoing and incremental steps toward cultivating a workplace where everyone feels included and valued, including adding 2S, I and A to our acronym (2SLGBTQIA+) and introducing a new option for employees to include pronouns on name badges and in branded email signatures.
- Launching training for employees that focuses on building cultural awareness and providing the tools and supports needed to thrive in our environments. In Q4, all people leaders across the organization will also be participating in a mandatory DEI workshop. This interactive session will help leaders identify, manage and challenge bias.
- Taking meaningful steps as an organization toward addressing the historical and ongoing inequities that exist for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples across the country. This includes in-depth training for our executive management team on the impacts of colonization, cultural humility and cultural safety. We are also partnering with Indigenous employees and communities to develop our own Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Through the RAP, we will establish strategies for how we can strengthen our connections with Indigenous communities and organizations in lasting and meaningful ways.
- Establishing several employee resource groups to provide safe spaces for employees who share common identities to build a community and a sense of belonging at work. To date, we have established groups for employees with visible and invisible disabilities; employees who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour; 2SLGBTQIA+ employees and women in leadership roles.
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