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

March 18, 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.

How you can help prevent the spread of COVID-19

An update on Canadian Red Cross branch offices

For the safety of the communities we serve and our own personnel, Canadian Red Cross Health Equipment Loan depots will now be offering services by appointment only. Please contact your local branch for more information. The remainder of Canadian Red Cross offices will be closed to the public. Supporting Canadians remains our number one priority, and we are currently 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. Wherever possible, Red Cross personnel will be working from home. We will provide updates as they become available.

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

Protection of clients

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 training until further notice.

Any Red Cross personnel who are not feeling well will be staying home and not engaged 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 either be working from home or self-isolating, in accordance with directives from public health agencies.

The Canadian Red Cross will continue to review all procedures and processes to make sure they are in accordance with information available from public health authorities, and will be making adjustments as the situation evolves.

Protection of Canadian Red Cross Personnel

General health recommendations

All Canadian Red Cross personnel are following all 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 social distancing guidelines by keeping two meters (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.

COVID-19 Operations

At the request of the Government of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross is actively supporting repatriated Canadians who are being quarantined at CFB Trenton. This follows previous supports provided to earlier flights of repatriated citizens at CFB Trenton and at the NAV Centre in Cornwall. Safety protocols are in place under the direction of the Public Health Agency of Canada and Public Health Ontario.

Our team includes experienced health aid workers with our international operations department. They have been trained to respond to health emergencies with our Health Emergency Response Unit. All Red Cross personnel wear personal protective equipment while working with people in quarantine.


On behalf of the Government of Quebec, the Canadian Red Cross is assisting with the registration and distribution of funds for those eligible through the Temporary Aid for Workers Program for residents of Quebec. Further information is available on the Government of Quebec’s website at Qué

At the request of the Government of Quebec, the Canadian Red Cross is also providing virtual support for people self-isolating due to COVID-19, and referred by a healthcare system representative. The Red Cross is making friendly calls to help break social isolation, in addition to providing referrals, guidance and emotional support to help people through their isolation period.

During this extraordinary period of time, the Red Cross encourages all Canadians to do their part in helping to decrease the spread of COVID-19.

Please continue to check this website for further updates from Canadian Red Cross.

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 Spring and 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 now to the Canadian Red Cross 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.