Message from the Chair of the Board

On behalf of the Board of Directors, my sincerest thanks to the volunteers, staff, delegates, donors and other partners who have made the work of the Canadian Red Cross possible this past year. From helping to meet the urgent needs of people affected by emergencies and disasters in Canada and around the world to our day-to-day activities, such as helping seniors stay safely in their homes, training people in lifesaving first aid and water safety skills, and supporting the growth and development of sister Red Cross National Societies for their capacity building efforts in other parts of the world, it is truly an honour and privilege to be part of an organization that is making our world a better place.

The Board’s commitment to governance excellence has been demonstrated in many ways this past year. In particular, we have made significant efforts to increase communication with our voting members and modernize our membership program. Members are an important part of the Red Cross governance structure, and the Membership Task Force, made up of voting members from Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic and Western Canada and the Board, worked tirelessly this year to consult and engage our members in these important renewal discussions.

All of our committees have been hard at work and I would like to highlight a few more accomplishments:

  • Our Quality and Safety Committee has worked closely with management to design a new Quality Management Framework that reflects our commitment to deliver high quality services to our beneficiaries, donors and clients.
  • Under the governance of the Audit and Finance Committee, an independent Internal Audit function was established that works with management and the Board to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of our operations. The Internal Audit function conducted three audits this year.
  • Our Nominating Committee is hard at work preparing for a Board election in 2020 and ensuring there is a strong slate of candidates.
  • Finally, our Talent Management Committee ensures the Board has a robust process for reviewing and recognizing the performance of our President and CEO.
In November 2018, we dissolved our Pension Committee and distributed its oversight responsibilities to other committees. Over the years, the Canadian Red Cross was extremely fortunate to have industry leaders participate as external experts on this committee. My sincerest thanks to them for their efforts, advice and dedication.

In addition to its oversight and fiduciary responsibilities, the Board regularly engages with management on critical strategic issues that impact the work of Red Cross, such as climate change, our aging population, the increasing isolation of some members of our society, and other emerging social emergencies. We have also focused this year on engaging more volunteers, our critical role in preparedness and disaster risk reduction and how to leverage technology to better serve, educate, inform and influence Canadians.

In Canada, the Red Cross continues to be committed to the growth of stronger, more sustainable relationships with Indigenous communities. All our program areas recognize the importance of working in partnership with Indigenous leadership to support immediate and longer-term humanitarian needs.

We are also extremely proud of our work, through past chair, Sara John Fowler, on the Governing Board of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC). As the world’s largest humanitarian network with 190 National Society members, the IFRC’s commitment to good governance is important and we are pleased to contribute to that aspect of the IFRC Board’s work.

I am humbled to work with such a dedicated, talented group of Board Directors. Our commitment is unwavering; as together, we ensure the Canadian Red Cross remains accountable, transparent, and continues to fulfill the expectations of Canadians.

Thank you all so very much.

Gavin Giles, Q.C. Chair Board of Directors

Annual Report 2018-2019