How Red Cross is working to protect clients, staff and volunteers during COVID-19

June 04, 2020

red cross vest on office chair

The Canadian Red Cross takes the health and safety of our staff and volunteers, and the individuals we serve, very seriously. We assist thousands of Canadians across the country at our offices, service sites, in communities, and during disasters and emergencies. Our top priority is always to ensure that we create safe environments in every way. During the current pandemic of COVID-19 (coronavirus), we want to assure Canadians that the Canadian Red Cross continues to maintain the ability to safely help the most vulnerable. We would like to highlight a few key steps we are taking.

For more information and tips on how you can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, consult our Frequently Asked Questions.

Protection of clients and Red Cross personnel

Canadian Red Cross personnel are following recommendations outlined by the Public Health Agency of Canada, including personnel hygiene guidelines. Red Cross personnel are being reminded to regularly wash hands, cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, adhere to physical distancing guidelines by keeping two metres (six feet) apart from others when away from home, and to stay at home and seek direction from a public health professional if showing signs of illness.

Any Red Cross personnel who are not feeling well will be staying home and not engaging in any client-facing interactions or interactions with other staff and volunteers. This is always a standard protocol to protect the health of colleagues and clients in our offices. During this pandemic period, we are also asking anyone staying home to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 and to follow the recommendations of public health officials.

Canadian Red Cross personnel are also following all relevant protocols related to travel outside of Canada. Anyone who has travelled internationally recently will be self-isolating, in accordance with directives from public health agencies.

In our operations, the Canadian Red Cross has developed safety protocols for personnel based on the most current available scientific evidence, expert opinion and precautionary principles. For frontline personnel, the level of personal protective equipment worn is based on potential risks identified for different roles to keep both our personnel and the people we’re helping safe.

Supporting Canadians remains our number one priority, and we continue looking at how we can maintain critical services with remote/virtual services, enhanced personal protective equipment and protocols, as well as how we can provide any new services during the pandemic.

In accordance with the measures being taken by health authorities across the country, the Canadian Red Cross has asked all independent training partners and first-aid instructors to cease in-person first aid training until further notice. Canadian Red Cross personnel are working with training partners and instructors to deliver virtual and in-person personal protective equipment (PPE) and prevention of disease transmission training for community organizations, as well as people in the health network and those newly recruited who will help provide support in seniors housing in the West Island of Montreal, in Quebec. These are held in accordance to physical distancing and public health guidelines.

The Canadian Red Cross is continually updating our policies and procedures around COVID-19, based on the latest available evidence from the Public Health Agency of Canada, the World Health Organization, and provincial health authorities, to keep the people we help and our personnel safe.

How the Canadian Red Cross is responding to COVID-19

Canadian Red Cross branch offices

For the safety of the communities we serve and our own personnel, some of our Canadian Red Cross Health Equipment Loan depots and branch offices will now be offering services by appointment only. Some offices are also closed to the public. Wherever possible, Red Cross personnel will be working form home. We will provide updates as they become available.

Please contact your local branch office for more information on services that are available.

Support the Canadian Red Cross

The Canadian Red Cross is prepared and ready to support Canadians now during the COVID-19 pandemic and into the summer as we anticipate floods, wildfires and other disasters that will affect families and communities. The best way you can support our work is with a donation to the Canadian Emergencies and COVID-19 Response Fund.

We have also opened a COVID-19 Global Appeal, which will enable the Red Cross/Red Crescent across the world to support COVID-19 preparedness, response and recovery activities.