Message from the Chair of the Board – Gavin Giles

A privilege to serve

It is my honour to acknowledge the tremendous work accomplished by Canadian Red Cross in the past year.
While this annual report covers April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020, I also acknowledge the efforts that followed our official year-end, especially as they have related to the pandemic.
On December 31, 2019, as we celebrated the dawn of a new decade, none of us could have envisioned what 2020 had in store for us:

  • A plane crash in Iran killing all 176 aboard, including 63 Canadians, one of whom – Mohammad Asadi Lari – was a youth volunteer from British Columbia.
  • The worst mass shooting in Canadian history, killing 22 people and devastating families and communities in Nova Scotia and beyond.
  • The global COVID-19 pandemic making tens of millions sick, killing hundreds of thousands, devastating economies, turning parents into teachers and full-time caregivers while they juggled work and other responsibilities, exposing serious gaps in our health care system, and in the treatment of our some of our most vulnerable citizens – our seniors.
  • Nor can we forget the long-standing humanitarian crises in Syria, Yemen, Bangladesh, South Sudan, Beirut and elsewhere, as well as the floods, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, cyclones and monsoons – in Canada and around the world.

It has frankly been a year like no other.

Through it all, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, as it has been for more than a century, has been at the forefront lobally, nationally, provincially and locally, providing aid and comfort to those most distressed, at the times of their greatest needs.
This past year the Board continued to focus on our commitments to demonstrate accountability, transparency, efficiency, continuous improvement, and excellence in governance. We are proud of our successes, which include:

  • A modern membership program that reflects the critical role Members have in the Governance of the Canadian Red Cross.
  • The strengthening of the Board’s oversight of Enterprise Risk Management and Quality Frameworks.
  • The improvement of the Board’s monitoring and related reporting tools with respect to the Audit and Finance Committee and the Quality and Safety Committee.

Transformation is never easy. But we have managed these important initiatives by always keeping our focus on those who need our services.

As I conclude my term as Chair, I thank my Board colleagues for their diverse talents and energy as well as their fairness, compassion and humanity. You have made my three years as your Chair easier, and each of you, along with the Canadian Red Cross as a whole, have permitted me to have an experience which I will cherish always.
I am proud to be part of an organization that is making our world a better place.

Gavin Giles, Q.C. Chair Board of Directors

Annual Report 2019-2020