Together we make a difference pins — your questions answered: Earlier this month, we let you know that all employees would receive commemorative pins, acknowledging your commitment to Canada’s Lifeline during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pin is a reminder that because of you, we were able to continue to deliver on our promise to patients. Some of you have had questions about the pins, including when you will receive them and how to access a French version. To help, we sat down with senior diversity and inclusion consultant, Katie O’Brien, to answer some of your most common questions. Learn more on Connect.
External vendors on-site: There are times when external vendors from out of province or region are required to be in our sites to maintain or repair equipment. Doing so limits any disruptions to our critical operations, but we know employees have had questions about why we need to outsource this work. These individuals are essential workers who perform specialized work that isn’t available through local resources. They are required to follow all local and provincial requirements for interprovincial travel and must undergo rigorous screening via our wellness checkpoints before they enter our sites. Learn more about these requirements on your COVID-19 employee portal.
Employee perspective — matching our values to our career goals: Dujon Donaldson, a quality assurance manager in Brampton and an avid soccer player, understands the importance of rallying a group of colleagues around a common goal. “You have to have a team spirit in soccer,” he says, “and I try to bring that to work as well. If I’m not committed or passionate about my job, how can I expect the same from the team I lead?” Since joining Canadian Blood Services in 2012 as a medical laboratory technologist, Dujon has seen a lot of changes in the organization. One that stands out for him is our strengthened commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. “Making this a place where everyone feels included and is treated with dignity, fairness and respect is deeply meaningful to me,” he says. “What gives that commitment momentum is a workplace culture grounded in shared values.” Read more about Dujon’s experience and perspective on blood.ca/stories.
Medication made from plasma donations helps fight bleeding disorder: Brandon Cotesta was a sports-loving 12-year-old when he developed troubling symptoms during the winter school break including spots on his legs and body and lethargy. During a visit to the emergency room on Boxing Day, he developed a nosebleed lasting 48 hours. Bloodwork confirmed Brandon had immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), a disease in which blood doesn’t clot because of an unusually low level of platelets. Fortunately, doctors were able to treat Brandon with immunoglobulin. “Without it, we don’t know what we would have done” says his mother, Louise. While some conditions require lifelong treatment, Brandon has not required additional doses since that frightening episode in hospital two years ago. He still needs to have his blood tested regularly and because he bruises easily, he needs to take care to avoid injury — especially when playing sports. Read more about Brandon’s story on blood.ca/stories.
Question of the day: What are some examples of steps Canadian Blood Services has taken in order to achieve our goals on the diversity, equity and inclusion journey?
When we began our diversity, equity and inclusion journey in 2017, our activities focused on creating awareness at all levels of the organization, beginning with the Board and EMT. We updated our Human Rights and Respect in the Workplace, Violence and Harassment Prevention policies, and created a diversity, equity and inclusion intranet with education and resources to support employees. We’ve also made e-learning on LGBTQ+ awareness and inclusion for persons with disabilities available to employees and made bias awareness training mandatory for our recruitment team.
Our diversity, equity and inclusion strategy has led to the creation of four employee resource groups (ERGs) for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC), employees with disabilities, LGBTQ+ and the women’s senior leadership network. The purpose of creating these ERGs is to provide employees with a formal structure that supports their unique needs and nurtures their communities within our workplace.
We still have work to do and we are sincerely committed to doing better. The employee survey we conducted in the summer was a critical step to the work that we will be undertaking in the coming months. Already, we have launched a diversity, equity and inclusion page on blood.ca to share our public commitment, encourage Canadians to join us on our journey and hold us accountable. Stay tuned on Connect to keep track of our progress.
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