Expanding plasma donation to become more inclusive
Our CEO, Dr. Graham Sher, shared some news earlier today marking an important milestone in our organization’s journey towards cultivating a donor base that more fully and equitably reflects Canada’s population. Beginning on Monday, Sept. 27, our plasma donor centres in Calgary, Alta. and London, Ont. will begin welcoming gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) as source plasma donors. This is the first time that we’ve had the evidence and support needed to seek regulatory approval from Health Canada to implement a screening model that includes sexual behaviour-based questions for men who have sex with men (MSM).
“This is yet another incremental step in the evolution of our policies for sexual risk behaviour,” says Dr. Mindy Goldman, medical director of donation policy and studies. Our goal is still to remove the current waiting period for men who have sex with men and use sexual behaviour-based screening for all donors. Although we’re not quite there yet, this is a move in the right direction. Visit Connect to learn more about our journey so far — and the steps we’re taking next — to lay the groundwork for a more inclusive blood system.
Last chance to submit questions in advance of next week’s town hall
Our next live town hall will take place on Tuesday, Sept.28 (1 p.m. ET) on our organization’s 23rd anniversary. As always, we encourage you to submit your questions on any topic(s) of interest for Graham and our panel of experts, Judie Leach-Bennett, VP, general counsel and chief risk officer and Dr. Isra Levy, VP, medical affairs and innovation.
You can send your email or video questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “TOWNHALL” or record an audio question by phoning 1-800-509-3329. Note: if you are submitting a question in advance, we ask that you to so before 5 p.m. ET today, Friday, Sept.24.
Participate in the Sept.28 live townhall by clicking on the meeting link in your Outlook invite. Can’t make it live? A recording of the event will be available on your COVID-19 employee portal within 24 hours.
Living with sickle cell disease and educating others
When he was just two years old, Ulysse Guerrier, 45, of Toronto, Ont. was diagnosed with a type of sickle cell disease associated with beta thalassemia, a blood disorder that reduces the production of hemoglobin. Out of five children in Ulysse’s family, four were diagnosed with sickle cell disease. Two of his siblings have since passed away. Ulysse is alive today thanks to the support of blood donors. Blood and blood products have played a key role in Ulysse’s treatment over the years and he continues to rely on regular blood transfusions to manage this difficult, lifelong disorder. Knowing first-hand how sickle cell disease affects people’s daily lives, Ulysse has become a strong sickle cell advocate, doing important work in his community to increase awareness of the disease. “I want the state of sickle cell disease to improve during my time in the world. To eradicate the stigma we face,” he says. Read Ulysse’s inspiring story on blood.ca/stories and learn more about what you can do to help support people like him this Sickle Cell Awareness Month.
Question of the day: Now that the deadline has passed for employees to report their COVID-19 vaccination status, can we see the results?
The Sept. 22 deadline for all employees to report their COVID-19 vaccination status has now come and gone and we are pleased to report that the vast majority of employees – 93 per cent – have told us they are fully vaccinated or on their way to being fully vaccinated.
By Oct. 31, 2021, we expect all Canadian Blood Services employees, including fee-for-service contractors, to have received both doses of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine (unless they employees have legitimate medical or human rights grounds for an exemption).
We are thankful to all those who reported their vaccination status as we prepare for the next phase of our mandatory vaccination policy.
Visit Connect to see more results from our reporting period and learn what the next steps are for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated employees.
About your digest
This digest highlights 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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