Townhall recording now available: Thank you to everyone who participated in this week’s townhall. A recording of the event is now available on your COVID-19 employee portal. Interested in a specific question? Jump-to options are available directly below the recording. Please let us know what you thought about the event by taking a moment to fill out this short survey (three minutes). Your input is valuable and helps us improve your experience. The survey will remain open until Tues. Oct. 25 at 4 p.m. ET.
New employee resource groups for BIPOC and employees with disabilities: Employees told us through the diversity, equity and inclusion survey that they wanted to see more employee resource groups (ERGs) in our organization. On Tuesday, we launched two ERGs for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) and for employees with disabilities. The purpose of creating these new ERGs is to provide employees with a formal structure that supports their unique needs and nurtures these communities within our workplace. These groups are voluntary and employee-led, and they foster a diverse and inclusive workplace that’s aligned with our mission, values and objectives. The BIPOC ERG will hold their inaugural meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 25 and the Employees with Disabilities group will hold theirs on Thursday, Nov. 26. If you would like to join, please contact Thrive@blood.ca. Learn more on Connect.
Update on phase one of Return to Office: At the onset of the pandemic, employees who were able to work virtually were encouraged to do so to reduce our numbers on site. Phase one of the Return to Office program is now underway, and our facilities will be welcoming back employees who need to return for an operational or personal reason. This small group represents 287 employees across 28 sites. As they plan to return, the health and safety of all our employees remains our number one priority. Assessments are being followed at each site to ensure the safety of all employees and mitigate risks of disruptions to our core operations. Phase one employees have been notified and will be allowed to return starting on Mon. Oct 26 through to the end of the year based on site readiness. If you are currently working onsite, or are returning as part of phase one, we encourage you to review our return to office administrative spaces guidelines available through your COVID-19 employee portal.
As a pandemic second wave hits, we’re prepared with PPE: With many provinces in the throes of a second wave of COVID-19, we can take some comfort in the fact that our national inventory of protective gear is strong. But getting to this point has been no easy feat. “It took a village,” says Peter Saunders, associate director of logistics planning. Employees across the organization have faced new procedures and responsibilities because of the pandemic. For those in procurement and logistics, it’s meant scrambling to source and distribute new kinds of gear — gear that was in short supply around the world, especially in the first few months of COVID-19. That’s why Peter and his team have worked not only to source PPE, but to develop systems to forecast demand and track supply. That includes check-ins with suppliers, to ensure they are not experiencing problems with their own supply chains, and in some cases, to ensure they’re keeping required levels of inventory within Canada. Read more about the team’s journey on Connect.
Gyms at Canadian Blood Services:
We know that employees across the country are frustrated that gyms at our sites continue to be closed. As we enter what is being called a “second wave” in many provinces, our organization is evaluating our processes to ensure we can continue to safeguard our teams, donors and operations. The closure of gyms was recently reviewed by the COVID-19 Program, where a difficult decision was made to continue to keep our gyms closed across the country. This decision was not taken lightly. However, we could not in good conscience open these spaces and increase the risk of putting our teams’ safety in jeopardy. For more information on this decision, please visit your COVID-19 employee portal.
We recognize that physical activity is crucial for our mental health. We’ve extended our virtual fitness classes with Goodlife through the winter and are adding additional classes to ensure that employees — in particular our frontline teams — can access this important resource. We also encourage our teams to take advantage of the other wellness resources available to them, including our employee assistance program (EAP) which includes free therapy sessions with a licensed professional, as well a wide array of other resources available through your employee wellness portal. As part of our evaluation on gyms, we welcome employees to provide us with their views. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “GYMS.” These comments will be sent to the COVID-19 Program to help inform future decisions on the re-opening of gyms.
New updates to COVID-19 case management dashboard: To be as transparent as possible the COVID-19 case management dashboard has been updated to reflect five new cases involving employees and donors across the country. While this tool is an important vehicle to provide information to employees across the country, you should remember that you will be contacted by public health and/or Canadian Blood Services should you meet public health criteria for exposure. This page also provides you with information on our case management process, so you know what to expect should a positive case arise. Learn more on Connect.
Question of the day: Why are we providing infrared thermometers to employees and not donors?
We understand that donors are eager for Canadian Blood Services to replace the Carescape oral thermometers with infrared devices. Although infrared technology has evolved and considered precise when used as recommended, the long-term accuracy and reliability are not fully understood, and so at this time the Carescape oral thermometer is considered the most accurate way to take temperature.
We are in the process of securing a contactless solution, however it will require an extensive assessment of the technology available to ensure we are meeting Canadian Blood Services operational needs as well as regulatory requirements from Health Canada and can continue to meet patient needs for years to come.
Although this process is underway, it will be some time before new devices are available to take donor temperatures. While we undergo the evaluation for infrared devices, donors can be assured that enhanced safety measures are in place, including the disinfection of the Carescape device between uses, to keep them, our teams, and ultimately the patients we serve safe.
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