Canadian Red Cross adapts to meet community needs

OTTAWA | April 09, 2020

Mobilizing volunteers across the country in response to COVID-19

The Canadian Red Cross continues to adapt its services to address community needs emerging as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Building on its ability to mobilize volunteers in response to emergencies, and through relationships with all levels of government and community stakeholders, the Red Cross is actively responding to help people across the country.

In addition to many of the services already provided to assist with the comfort and care of Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic, below are some recent examples of how the Red Cross is supporting people during this challenging time:

  • At the request of the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Red Cross is providing comfort and care services to Canadians returning to Canada in four locations: Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. Services include registration and information services, the provision of personal items, meal delivery service, safety and wellbeing support, and family reunification.
  • Building off a long history working alongside Indigenous communities, the Canadian Red Cross is working in partnership with Indigenous Services Canada to help communities across the country to prepare for and respond to COVID-19. 
  • Sending components of its Emergency Field Hospital, along with a team of technical personnel trained to respond during international emergencies, to augment existing health infrastructure for an alternative care site in downtown Vancouver.
  • Increasing services to reach isolated seniors through a Friendly Phone Program in Saskatchewan.
  • Operating a call centre on behalf of the City of Toronto to ensure that vulnerable individuals in isolation have a mechanism for receiving food. Food hampers are then delivered to those in need of assistance.
  • Offering virtual care over the phone in Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island to provide referrals, guidance and emotional support to help people through their isolation period.
  • Providing supplies, including cots, blankets, and clean-up kits upon request by local authorities to various locations across the country to help support vulnerable populations.
  • Distributing additional equipment through the Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP) to assist Canadians recovering at home from surgery or illnesses. The need has increased for equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, commodes, hospital beds, and IV poles to support people in their recovery at home.
  • Assisting the government of Quebec with the distribution of $14.5 million to 13,000 eligible Quebec residents through the Temporary Aid for Workers Program.

Canadians wishing to assist with COVID-19 efforts are encouraged to make a financial donation to the Canadian Emergencies and COVID-19 Response Fund Appeal. Donations can be made online at, or by calling 1-800-418-1111.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing everyone into new and unfounded territory.  The Canadian Red Cross continues to collaborate and adapt its services to help meet unique needs as they emerge across the country.  We will continue to work hard to serve our communities and work together to get through this unprecedented time.”
Conrad Sauvé, President and CEO, Canadian Red Cross
For more information on the Canadian Red Cross and how its role is evolving in Canada and abroad during the COVID19 response, go to
Here in Canada and overseas, the Red Cross stands ready to help people before, during and after a disaster. As a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – which is made up of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and 192 national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies – the Canadian Red Cross is dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and throughout the world.
English Media Line: 1-877-599-9602
French Media Line: 1-888-418-9111