COVID-19 information for employees and volunteers

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Click the questions below to jump to the responses within the Live employee Q&A:

  1. I think the Grifols agreement is critical to securing the plasma products supply in Canada and I'm happy it is happening. However, I struggle to understand why we cannot go all the way and compensate our plasma donors? How do I explain this parallel system to a donor who might get 100 dollars at the Winnipeg Grifols location but no compensation from CBS when both methods are safe?
  2. There has been a considerable response from the public and from donors about our decision to partner with Grifols. Do we have plans to track donor reactions to this decision, and the actual impact on donation?
  3. Where was the public and stakeholder input before such a dramatic change in our blood system?
  4. The Canadian Health Coalition has asked for you and the Board to resign. Seems like the rest of the health care sector doesn't agree with your strategy. How do you respond?
  5. There has been so much irresponsible reporting and misinformation in the media around our plasma announcement. My question is two-fold: 1) What are we doing to protect our corporate reputation when this sort of irresponsible reporting/public discourse becomes widespread and 2) Are we anticipating our inventory/donor perception will be impacted by this public discourse around our involvement with "privatizing" health care?
  6. How will Grifols be able to maintain the standard of donor care that our donor centres provide? Are they concerned with Canadian’s health or shareholder profit?
  7. Do we have any concerns that the Grifols/CBS system will create a two-tiered system of donors, where CBS plasma donors are those who can "afford" to donate without remuneration and Grifols donors become those in precarious socio-economic situations who need the money? Will this limit our ability to diversify our plasma donor base?
  8. I am incredibly proud of the changes that will be implemented on Sept 11. However, I am confused by why we keep using the word "discriminatory" as all of our guidelines and criteria have been evidenced based? In the past we excluded donors simply based on where they were born. Thankfully that has changed. We did not use the word discriminatory at that time.
  9. We just heard Queen Elizabeth passed away - how will we acknowledge her passing? Will we lower flags?
  10. Make All The Difference Launch Video

What employees need to know: Your Digest

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Your digest archives

September 23, 2022

Here are the latest updates from Canadian Blood Services. Every Tuesday and Friday, we invite you to read important updates, valuable information, and inspiring stories from across our organization. Please reach out to communications@blood.ca with your questions and suggestions on how we can better inform and support you.

Here are the latest updates

Employee is first in St. John’s to donate following SBBS implementation 

Since the new sexual behaviour-based screening (SBBS) criteria changed almost two short weeks ago, some employees who are now eligible to donate have done so at their local donor centres. In 1993, Gord Skiffington self-deferred after being a regular blood donor for a few years. The “men who have sex with men” or MSM policy at the time meant that he was not eligible to donate. As a St. John’s, N.L. donor relations recruiter, Gord was elated when the change happened, and he became able to donate again.  Gord was the first member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to donate in St. John’s under the new policy. “The change was a long time coming, but now, after 22 years working in donor recruitment, I can once again walk the talk,” he says proudly. Visit Connect to read Gord’s story.  

Hurricane Fiona’s impact in the Atlantic region 

As many of you have seen in the news, there is a hurricane watch currently in effect in the Atlantic region, which may impact many of our employees, donors and volunteers in N.S., P.E.I., N.B and N.L. Our operations and collections teams have been preparing for possible closures and the potential loss of power next week. While some donation events have already been postponed or cancelled, we will manage blood inventory by leveraging our national reserves, if needed, to ensure hospital and patient needs are met. Our thoughts are with our colleagues in the affected areas and we are grateful for emergency personnel and crews who are preparing for the anticipated issues and solutions. Local emergency response teams are monitoring the situation closely. The NS/PEI and NB storm lines will be updated if there are any interruptions to operations on Monday. Nova Scotia/PEI employees can call 902-480-5755 and New Brunswick employees can call 506-648-5022. 

New CEO blog post shares learnings from a recent conference in South Africa 

Our CEO, Dr. Graham Sher recently attended a conference in Durban, South Africa where he delivered a series of keynote talks in the town he used to vacation in as a child. “I guess it is close to 45 years since I was last in Durban,” he writes. “On some levels, not much had changed at all. At the same time, it felt somewhat foreign and strange. I was attending a medical convention as an invited dignitary, not a kid on summer break. And, perhaps most strikingly, I was engaging with a side of South Africa I had never truly experienced: the complex, fascinating, dynamic and challenging world of health care, business and geopolitics of post-Apartheid South Africa.” Read more on Connect about the topics Graham covered at the conference, and the inspiring learnings he took with him.

Question of the day

What will happen to Grifols’ clinics in the future? Will they eventually close to make way for Canadian Blood Services’ clinics? 

The length of the initial term of the agreement is 15 years. Grifols cannot operate in Canada outside of this agreement. Before the term ends, Canadian Blood Services will reassess Canada’s sufficiency needs for immunoglobulins and determine next steps to ensure patients’ needs continue to be met long term.

A long time coming Geraldine quote

 

 

Q&A: Removal of Masks and Physical Distancing (effective July 25, 2022)

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Why are we removing these measures now?

The organization’s journey since the beginning of this pandemic has been cautious and measured. All decisions have been made in consultation with our medical and epidemiology experts and at minimum, meeting applicable public health requirements.   

In recent months, we have seen restrictions being eased in many community venues and workplaces across the country. Similarly, over the last few months Canadian Blood Services has rolled back some of our own COVID-19 measures. Wellness checks at our entrances have evolved, in-person recruitment has resumed, media has been allowed back into collection events, we’ve brought snacks and hydration back inside our sites, we’ve determined pandemic leaves are no longer required and we have also reduced our enhanced cleaning measures.   

We’ve determined it’s the right time for additional adjustments to some of the remaining COVID-19 protocols. Our suspension of these measures aligns with epidemiological advice: that we are at a stage in this pandemic where we can shift from mandatory to optional measures. This can happen because the majority of Canadians are fully vaccinated, and illness now caused by COVID-19 is far less severe in most cases.  

We have been committed to monitoring and assessing our COVID-19 measures and we have been responsive to changing scientific knowledge and epidemiological conditions. We will continue to closely monitor the epidemiology and scientific knowledge so that we remain agile to reintroduce mandatory masks and physical distancing if necessary.  

Why would we remove both measures at the same time? Wouldn’t it be prudent to remove one at a time? It seems like a lot of changes at once. 

In recent months, we have seen restrictions being eased in many community venues and workplaces across the country. Our suspension of these measures aligns with epidemiological advice: that we are at a stage in this pandemic where we shift from mandatory to optional measures. This can happen because the majority of Canadians are fully vaccinated, and illness now caused by COVID-19 is far less severe in most cases. 

Will we still make masks available to employees, donors, volunteers and visitors?

Will we still make masks available to employees, donors, volunteers and visitors?

Does this mean we are going back to normal, and our sites will operate like it did before the pandemic? 

Although we are suspending some of our COVID-19 measures, our sites will continue to have some in place. We are committed to both safety and agility for this transition. Masks and physical distancing are still encouraged and welcome. Frequent cleaning will continue on surfaces that come in contact with donors. We ask employees to make sensible choices when booking gatherings and meetings.  Although physical distancing requirements are being suspended, our sites will continue to manage workspace booking through the Condeco booking system until further notice.  A change such as this requires a lot of work behind the scenes. We appreciate your patience as we make these adjustments. 

I thought we considered ourselves a healthcare setting?

Canadian Blood Services is a unique organization. Although we provide life-saving products to hospitals, we are not a hospital or healthcare setting. We consider ourselves a community setting and determined we are at a stage in this pandemic where we can shift from mandatory to optional measures. 

What if we experience another wave in the pandemic? 

We have been committed to monitoring and assessing our COVID-19 measures and we have been responsive to changing epidemiological conditions and scientific knowledge. We will continue to closely monitor the epidemiology and scientific knowledge so that we remain agile to reintroduce mandatory masks and physical distancing if necessary.

I have a health condition and will need to continue wearing a mask to protect myself. I would feel safer if everyone else around me would to.

Employees who have concerns related to workplace safety matters should discuss them with their supervisors or PCP business partner. The OHS & EHS teams (ask.ohs@blood.ca) are available to respond to any safety concerns. Any concerns related to accommodation needs related to medical considerations can be discussed with EHS Coordinators. Your well-being is a priority, and we are here to support you through this transition.  Everyone is welcome to and encouraged to continue wearing a mask and to physically distance where feasible in our sites.

I don’t feel comfortable working so close to donors who choose not to wear a mask. 

We understand that after two years of mask-wearing, you may feel uneasy being around others who are not wearing masks. Employees are encouraged to wear masks when they are close to other people. Being a fully vaccinated workplace and knowing that the majority of donors are also vaccinated supports epidemiological advice that we are at a stage in this pandemic where we can pull back on these requirements.  

Employees who have concerns related to workplace safety matters should discuss them with their supervisors or PCP business partner. The OHS & EHS teams (ask.ohs@blood.ca) are available to respond to any safety concerns. Your well-being is a priority, and we are here to support you through this transition. Canadian Blood Service has a number of programs available to help employees, including free access to licensed mental health professionals, mindfulness tools and monthly wellness workshops.    

For more information on these programs and how we are supporting employee wellbeing, visit https://connect.blood.ca/about-you/your-well-being.  

We are removing these measures, right before our pandemic leave supports expire. What if I get sick with COVID-19 and need to access paid leaves?

With the pandemic landscape changing, we recently reviewed the various COVID-19 paid leaves and determined these leaves are no longer necessary and can be removed. COVID-19 paid leaves may be re-instated in future depending upon circumstances.    

People, Culture and Performance (PCP) and Employee Health Services (EHS) have been monitoring the utilization rates of the COVID-19 leaves. Over several months, the rate of usage has declined steadily. This could be attributed to a decline in COVID-19 illness and severity of symptoms, shorter periods of quarantine requirements and being a fully vaccinated workplace.      

Various paid leaves still exist to support employees for a variety of scenarios, including sick leave, appointment leave, family leave and more. Please refer to your applicable collective agreement or non-union terms and conditions of employment. For more information on your situation and whether you are eligible for other paid sick leave, please reach out to your PCP Business Partner.  

What will removing physical distancing measures look like in our collection sites? Will we be able to add more donor beds and welcome walk-ins? 

As of July 25, you are no longer required to maintain 2 metres of physical distance from others while working. You may choose to still consider physical distancing from others where feasible but it is no longer mandatory or enforced.  

This applies whether you work in a donor centre, production centre, or an administrative office.  This change also applies to our mobile events, trucks and buses.  

Our integrated supply chain planning teams will look at opportunities to increase beds in our collection events and open up more appointments. We will look at adding more chairs and tables in our refreshment areas, and pre-donation snacks and hydration will be able to be consumed inside our sites.   

Although we will be removing physical distancing requirements, we do not plan to bring back walk-in appointments. However, we do have same-day appointments which we will promote to donors who are looking to donate blood that day. Over the last two years, we have recognized a benefit to keeping an “appointments only” policy. Appointments allow prospective donors to complete a pre-screening questionnaire before they arrive at a donor centre, allowing them to self-defer if necessary. It helps manage donor flow and improved the check-in process and we have received very positive feedback from our frontlines about this silver lining to the pandemic.    

A change such as this requires a lot of work behind the scenes. We appreciate your patience as we make these adjustments to implement this change. Although you may see an immediate change in physical distancing as of July 25, it will take time for the organization to adjust some aspects of our operations.  

What will removing physical distancing measures look like in our administrative sites? Will we be able to welcome more people into the office? 

As of July 25, you are no longer required to maintain a 2-metre physical distance from others while working. This applies whether you work in a donor centre, production centre, or an administrative office. This change also applies to our mobile events, trucks and buses.   

Suspending physical distancing requirements means more space will be available in our break rooms, bathrooms and meeting spaces. You may choose to consider physically distancing from others where feasible. Although physical distancing requirements are being suspended, our sites will continue to manage workspace booking through the Condeco app. In the event more employees want to return to our spaces, Condeco can make spaces available.    

A change such as this requires a lot of work behind the scenes. Although you may see an immediate change in physical distancing as of July 25, it will take time for the organization to adjust some aspects of our operations. We appreciate your patience as we make these adjustments to implement this change.   

What if we start seeing an increase in positive COVID-19 cases among employees and absenteeism?

Our suspension of these measures aligns with epidemiological advice: that we are at a stage in this pandemic where we can shift from mandatory to optional measures. This can happen because the majority of Canadians are fully vaccinated and illness now caused by COVID-19 is far less severe in most cases.  

When the large spikes in positive cases resulted in employee absenteeism during the Omicron wave, we were agile and adjusted. If we see an increase in absenteeism after removing our mask and physical distancing requirements, we will be prepared to respond. We do not anticipate a significant increase in staff absenteeism at this stage of the pandemic.  

Various paid leaves still exist to support employees for a variety of scenarios, including sick leave, appointment leave, family leave and more. Please refer to your applicable collective agreement or non-union terms and conditions of employment. For more information on your situation and whether you are eligible for other paid sick leave, please reach out to your PCP Business Partner.  

We no longer actively screen donors upon entry and now we are removing measures that are supposed to prevent transmission in our sites. Aren’t you worried about risks? 

Our suspension of these measures aligns with epidemiological advice: that we are at a stage in this pandemic where we can shift from mandatory to optional measures. This can happen because the majority of Canadians are fully vaccinated and illness now caused by COVID-19 is far less severe in most cases. The organization’s journey since the beginning of this pandemic has been cautious and measured. All decisions have been made in consultation with our medical and epidemiology experts. The decision to remove masks was not taken lightly and risks, opportunities and challenges were considered and analyzed.   

We have been committed to monitoring and assessing our COVID-19 measures and we have been responsive to changing epidemiological conditions and scientific knowledge. We will continue to closely monitor the epidemiology and scientific knowledge so that we will remain agile to reintroduce mandatory masks and physical distancing if necessary.  

If there are no physical distancing restrictions in the office, why do we still need to book space through the Condeco app? 

Condeco was developed to support the return to office project to manage space and demand. With that system now established, we are seeing the benefits of managing and understanding space usage. Although physical distancing requirements are being suspended, our sites will continue to manage space booking through the Condeco app to be agile in responding to changes in the pandemic. We will continue to closely monitor epidemiology and scientific knowledge in the event that we need to reintroduce physical distancing or other measures.  

In the event more employees want to return to our spaces, adjustments in the app can be made. The objective is to understand employee and department needs as the Future of Work project continues.  The Future of Work outcomes are expected to inform the design and use of administrative spaces.  

We ask administrative employees to support our future space planning by consistently using the Condeco app.   

Does this mean our regular cafeteria/canteen service will resume? 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, canteen service that existed in three sites (Alta Vista, Brampton and Winnipeg) was impacted. The changes in 2 metre distancing and masking means we can update plans regarding the delivery of food service at these sites again. We appreciate your patience as we firm up details.

I’m not required to wear a mask to do my job, but my role takes me into other external sites.  

If your work takes you into a setting that requires masking (for example, a hospital) we ask that you respectfully comply with that site’s requirements.

If employees, volunteers, contractors and donors decide they want to wear a mask, do they still have to wear one of ours? 

No, if anyone chooses to wear a mask, they are free to wear their own. However, we will have surgical masks available and would encourage people to take ours if they’d like. 

Will the wellness poster checkpoint and handing out of the masks be self-serve since they are optional? 

There are a number of details, including these, that we are still working through. A change such as this requires a lot of work behind the scenes. Although you may see an immediate change to some things as of July 25, it will take time for the organization to adjust other aspects of our operations. We appreciate your patience as we make these adjustments to implement this change. We will continue to provide updates as they become available. 

Are the acrylic barriers at our donor centres in screening, and refreshment and waiting areas remaining on site or will these be removed with these changes? 

There are a number of details, including these, that we are still working through. We are assessing where we currently have acrylic barriers throughout our sites and determining where to keep them or remove them, depending on how and where they are being used. A change such as this requires a lot of work behind the scenes.  We appreciate your patience as we make these adjustments to implement this change. We will continue to provide updates as they become available. 

What if a donor asks me to wear a mask? 

It is entirely up to each individual employee to decide if they want to wear a mask when interacting with a donor.  If you decide to not wear a mask, explain that wearing a mask is a personal choice in our site at this time. The donor is welcome to wear a mask and we can also provide them with an N95 if they prefer. You may let them know that Canadian Blood Services is a fully vaccinated workplace. Evidence shows that transmission likely occurs with prolonged exposure (at least 15 minutes) and that our staff are rarely in close proximity to donors for that amount of time.

Can food and beverages be consumed anywhere within our collection events now? 

Yes, now that masks and physical distancing are not required at this time, food and beverages can be consumed anywhere within our collection events. This includes the pre-donation salty snacks and water, and the post-donation refreshments. Donors are also welcome to hydrate throughout the donation process. 

Can we re-introduce coffee and foods that are not pre-packaged?

Yes, those donor events and sites that choose to serve coffee and open food again are welcome to.   

What does this change mean for staff buses? 

Staff buses can resume to pre-pandemic capacity at this time. Although it is not mandatory to wear a mask or maintain physical distancing in our staff buses at this time, employees may choose to where possible. Suspending physical distancing means we  are able to eliminate the need for third-party coach buses that were required to  accommodate our physical distancing requirements. Please note this change may not be immediate, as each region may need more time to honour existing contracts with third-party bus companies, in addition some regions may be required to continue the use of charter buses for reasons not related to the pandemic. 

What does this change mean for Life Buses? 

Life Buses can resume to pre-pandemic capacity at this time. Although it is not mandatory to wear a mask or maintain physical distancing in our Life Buses at this time, people may choose to where possible. We continue to offer masks to donors who wish to wear one.     

Can we now go back to usual in-field recruitment activities for blood, plasma and stem cells? Are we required to follow any COVID-19 guidance? 

Suspending physical distancing means we will have more opportunities when it comes to in-field recruitment. At this time, there are no restrictions for most blood, plasma and stem cell recruitment. Donor relations is assessing all recruitment activities and how they will look as of July 25. If you have questions about specific recruitment activities in your region, please consult with your manager.   

Will the rapid screening program continue? 

Yes, the voluntary rapid screening program continues to be available for any employee who works on-site. More information on the program can be found on the employee portal. 

Will our wellness screening process at our entrances change? 

Wellness criteria posters will be posted at our entrances. People are asked to review the criteria questions, and if they answer “yes” to any, they cannot enter our building. If they are donors, they are asked to rebook their donation appointment. 

There are a number of details, including these, that we are still working through. A change such as this requires a lot of work behind the scenes. Although you may see an immediate change to some things as of July 25, it will take time for the organization to adjust other aspects of our operations. We appreciate your patience as we make these adjustments to implement this change. We will continue to provide updates as they become available.  Donor centres will adjust by removing posters and requirement to query donors about reading the wellness poster.  

Does this mean children of donors can be allowed back into our collection events? 

Yes, effective July 25, children of donors will be permitted inside collection events. The same guidelines apply as before the pandemic: Unsupervised children who are 10 years of age or older and children under the age of 10 who are accompanied and supervised by a third person of at least 12 years of age are welcome to wait in the refreshment area. Guidelines can be reviewed on the employee portal. 

Can we resume offering mugs to donors?

Yes, now that we can serve coffee once again, we can provide re-usable coffee mugs to donors.  

Who can I talk to if I have concerns?  

Changes to routines, especially after the last two years, can feel uncomfortable. Employees who have concerns related to workplace safety matters should discuss them with their supervisors or PCP business partner. The OHS & EHS teams (ask.ohs@blood.ca) are available to respond to any safety concerns and you can email any questions or concerns to communications@blood.ca. Your well-being is a priority, and we are here to support you through this transition. Canadian Blood Service has a number of programs available to help employees, including free access to licensed mental health professionals, mindfulness tools and monthly wellness workshops.   

For more information on these programs and how we are supporting employee wellbeing, visit  https://connect.blood.ca/about-you/your-well-being  

Q&A: General COVID-19 Information

How do I access credible information on COVID-19?

With so much misinformation out there, it is important that you have access to trusted and credible sources of information. We recommend the following sources:  

If you have a question on COVID-19 that we have not answered, please contact us at communications@blood.ca.  

What is the process of returning to work after I have been ill?

Return to work after a COVID-19+ diagnosis

Any employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 should advise Employee Health Services. Recovering employees may have COVID-like symptoms, such as a residual cough, which would normally restrict them from passing through the wellness checkpoint. Therefore, Employee Health Services will issue the employee a letter advising that they are safe to report to work. Employees should bring the EHS letter with them each time they report to work.

Return to work after COVID-like symptoms

Employees who have had COVID-like symptoms should only return to work following the applicable regional public health authority guidance. If the employee has residual symptoms that would normally restrict them from passing through the wellness checkpoint, a written declaration from their physician will need to be provided to Employee Health Services in order for a letter to be issued advising that they are safe to report to work. Employees should bring the EHS letter with them each time they report to work.

Employees with COVID-like symptoms due to another medical issue

Some employees may have COVID-like symptoms that are caused by another medical issue such as allergies or asthma. A declaration from their physician will need to be provided to Employee Health Services in order for a letter to be issued advising that they are safe to report to work. Employees should bring the letter with them each time they report to work.

If you have questions, please contact your Employee Health Services representative.

How will employees be informed if a colleague has tested positive for COVID-19?

Please visit the case management page on your COVID-19 employee portal for more information. 

What PPE and other safety measures are in place at Canadian Blood Services?

Please visit our wellness page on blood.ca and our PPE page on your COVID-19 employee portal for more information.

Is Canadian Blood Services authorizing employees to conduct personal or business travel?

The Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) travel health notices outline potential health risks to Canadian travellers and recommend ways to help reduce them. No matter where you plan to travel, make sure you check the Travel Advice and Advisories (TAA) page for your destination.  

We are asking employees to do their part to keep our teams, donors and operations safe. Please follow all federal and local public health guidance related to travel. Below is an overview of how Canadian Blood Services is handling business travel requests:   

Business travel   

Business travel remains an important part of our work at Canadian Blood Services. It enables relationship building, understanding of our operations on a deeper level, strengthens connections with co-workers and stakeholders and allows us to deliver on projects nationwide.  

The organization has now entered a pandemic transition phase and as we move into the weeks and months ahead and continue to see government restrictions lifted, we recognize that there is work that is important to our operations that may require travel.   

COVID-19 continues to circulate, and risks will vary by the variant in circulation, from one destination to another, and for one individual over another. Therefore, every effort should be made to conduct business virtually, however, when travel is considered the best option, please follow the guidelines below.  

SPECIAL COVID-19 PANDEMIC AUTHORIZATION IS NO LONGER REQUIRED 

  • Necessary, important and essential travel is allowed.  
  • Rather than travel, consider alternate methods to achieve your business objectives.  
  • If travel is required, approval will be obtained through a standard Concur Request, additional authorization is no longer required.   
  • Before travelling consider the following:  

TRAVELLERS: 

  • Consider your own health risk profile for serious outcomes due to COVID-19. Monitor yourself for symptoms before you travel. If uncertain, consult your doctor or other medical advisor. Do not travel if you feel it is unsafe to do so.  
  • Near the travel date, review COVID-19 measures at all points of your travel.  
  • Determine whether there are entry and exit requirements or restrictions at your departure and destination. Is testing required? Is there a form that needs to be submitted to a governing body before you travel? Are vaccinations and/or boosters required?  

APPROVERS: 

  • COVID-19 is still circulating and presents a risk to our travelers. Is this travel necessary, important or essential or could the work be completed remotely instead of traveling?  
  • Consider the state of the pandemic epidemiology in the locations of travel and any restrictions that may affect the traveler.  
  • Some employees are hesitant or nervous about traveling. Please ensure that the employees are comfortable with traveling for business currently.  

Is Canadian Blood Services providing COVID-related financial leave support to employees?

After providing pandemic-related leaves for the last 28 months, we recently reviewed the various COVID-19 related paid leaves and determined these leaves were no longer necessary and can be removed.  PCP and EHS have been monitoring the utilization rates of the COVID-19 leaves. Over several months, the rate of usage has declined steadily. This could be attributed to a decline in COVID-19 illness and severity of symptoms, shorter periods of quarantine requirements and being a fully vaccinated workplace.

Various paid leaves still exist to support employees for a variety of scenarios, including sick leave, appointment leave, family leave and more. Please refer to your applicable collective agreement or non-union terms and conditions of employment for a description of paid leaves. For more information on your situation and whether you are eligible for other paid leave, please reach out to your PCP Business Partner.

Are gym spaces within CBS facilities re-opening?

The plan to re-open our fitness rooms has been underway with site-by-site openings over the summer months. Ventilation and air quality has been assessed and a booking system has been developed.

At this time, we have determined seven fitness rooms can be opened, with several conditions in place. Calgary, Winnipeg, Brampton, and Dartmouth opened on July 25. Saint John, St. John’s, and Vancouver will open on September 16. To manage use of the space, these gyms will be searchable and bookable on the Condeco app. Employees will be required to sign a waiver, available at reception/security or by using the Gym Fitness Waiver on Connect, before key or key card access is activated.   

We will provide updates on the remaining fitness rooms as soon as possible. We thank everyone for their continued patience as we work on this important aspect of the Return to Office project.  

Are you worried about COVID-19 spreading through the use of fans or portable air conditioners? 

The use of portable fans and portable/directional air conditioner units at fixed donor centres and mobile events should be avoided as they may spread droplets further than 2 meters. 

If temperature concerns arise at our owned/leased sites, please contact Facilities Management to respond. 

If fans are determined to be absolutely required to maintain operations, please review the Guidelines on Use of Portable Fans and Air Conditioner Units

Q&A: Collections events

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What enhanced measures are in place in our donor centres?

Although no longer required, masks are welcome in our environments and available to anyone who chooses to wear them.     

At this time, it is not mandatory to maintain six feet of distance, but  individuals may choose to consider physically distancing from others where possible while at our facilities and collection events.     

Hand sanitizer is available throughout our collection spaces.    

Before entering our facilities and collection events, everyone must review our wellness questions available at the entrance. Donors, employees/volunteers are asked not to enter if they are feeling unwell, experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or said ‘yes’ to any of the questions on our wellness poster.   

High-touch surfaces are cleaned regularly and donor beds are wiped down after each use.     

Employees and volunteers at Canadian Blood Services are vaccinated against COVID-19. To help safeguard our environment, we strongly encourage all donors entering our collections events to be fully vaccinated too.     

Thank you doing your part to limit the spread of COVID-19 and for respecting each person’s choice to wear a mask or practice physical distancing.   

Why are we changing our cleaning practices?

As we continue to navigate the changing COVID-19 pandemic landscape, we constantly review and revise our safety measures and protocols. The COVID-19 Program, informed by the Surveillance Medical Issues (SMI) working group has determined that we can safely reduce some of our enhanced cleaning measures. Based on evidence, the SMI working group, made up of our medical and epidemiology experts, concluded the risk of COVID-19 transmission through surfaces is very low. Enhanced cleaning protocols implemented at the start of the pandemic were reassessed and it was determined that we can return to pre-pandemic levels of routine cleaning with the exception of a few surfaces donors touch, which will continue to be cleaned more frequently.

Are there guidelines for running a mobile clinic near the vicinity of a COVID-19 testing centre?

Yes. Please visit our guidelines for mobile clinics and COVID-19 testing sites for more information on COVID-19 testing in an adjacent site (e.g.-in a parking lot); and COVID-19 testing in the same building.

Can I reintroduce promotional items for donors in our collection events?

Yes. Promotional items can now be reintroduced in our donor environments.

Am I allowed to carpool into work?

Yes, with the suspension of physical distancing, employees can carpool to and from work using any necessary precautions they feel comfortable with, such as masking and limiting passengers. Employees should continue to follow local public health guidance and not come to work if they are sick.

Are you worried about COVID-19 spreading through the use of fans or portable air conditioners? 

The guidance from COVID-19 Program, informed by the Surveillance Medical Issues working group, remains.  The use of portable fans and portable / directional air conditioner units (excluding central air conditioners) at any Canadian Blood Services site (including fixed donor centres and mobile collection events) should be avoided.  If fans are determined to be absolutely required to maintain operations, please review the Guidelines on Use of Portable Fans and Air Conditioner Units. If temperature concerns arise at our owned / leased sites, please contact Facilities Management to respond.  

Are there travel deferrals related to COVID-19?

At the start of the pandemic, people who have returned from travel outside Canada within the previous 14 days have been ineligible to donate blood or plasma. This was put in place to align with requirements or recommendations to self-isolate after travel. With public health restrictions changing when it comes to travel, we made a submission to remove this 14-day temporary donor deferral from the Donor Selection Criteria Manual (DSCM) for travel outside of Canada as it relates to COVID-19. A request was submitted to Health Canada for an expedited review, and we have received approval The deferral is removed from the Donor Selection Criteria Manual (DSCM) along with references on our website, posters at our donor events, and all donor communication.

Q&A: Donor snacks and hydration

What if a donor decides they do not want to consume their post-donation snack and drink inside? 

If a donor does not want to consume their snack and drink inside, they are welcome to stay and rest and will be encouraged to eat and drink when they leave the site.