How Red Cross is helping in Canada

Woman in scrubs and PPE wearing a Red Cross lanyard

The Canadian Red Cross is dedicated to supporting individuals, families and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through relationships with government agencies and widespread community partnerships, the Red Cross continues to adapt to emerging needs to assist people in the most vulnerable situations.

COVID-19 Key Statistics as of December 31, 2021

Find out how the Red Cross is helping in your community

Here are some examples of how the Canadian Red Cross is helping or has helped so far:

Vaccination and testing support

The Canadian Red Cross has provided support to the Government of Canada, as well as provincial, territorial, and Indigenous health authorities to facilitate COVID-19 vaccinations and testing. At the request of health authorities, Indigenous communities and Indigenous leaders, the Canadian Red Cross has provided clinical and non-clinical support to vaccination operations in Manitoba, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Yukon, and Nunavut. The Red Cross continues to provide non-clinical vaccination support in British Columbia and Ontario.

Deployment of field hospitals and health equipment distribution

At the request of local health authorities, and with funding from the Government of Canada, the Red Cross deployed components of our field hospital to support and augment existing health capacities in six locations across Canada – Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec (three sites).

The Red Cross has also been 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.

Friendly Calls program

The Friendly Calls program helps address heightened feelings of loneliness and isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program pairs a trained Red Cross volunteer with an adult who may have limited social and family connections or feels they could benefit from more social interaction. Through regular phone calls, meaningful conversations and friendships can develop and feelings of loneliness and isolation are reduced. The phone calls also provide an opportunity for volunteers to check in on the wellbeing of the person they are calling and connect them with local and available community resources, if needed.

Find out more about the Friendly Calls program in your community 

Support in long-term care homes

At the request of provincial governments, and with funding from the Government of Canada through Public Safety, the Canadian Red Cross has been providing assistance in long-term care homes in several provinces.

Red Cross teams have been working with staff and management at each facility to meet the needs of residents by providing comfort and care services, including assistance with basic daily living activities. The Red Cross has also provided epidemic prevention and control (EPC) expertise, where requested, to advise and support in the safe adoption and implementation of EPC practices.

Working with Indigenous communities

Building off a long history working alongside Indigenous communities, the Canadian Red Cross is working with Indigenous communities across the country to support their preparedness and response to COVID-19.

Since May 2020, the Canadian Red Cross, with funding from Indigenous Services Canada/First Nations Inuit Health Branch, we launched a Help Desk resource where Indigenous community leaders can access information such as:

  • Planning for health emergencies including guidance and training on how to protect their communities;
  • Health guidance such as hand washing, physical distancing and epidemic prevention and control;
  • Community wellness and protection such as online information for children and youth, suggestions for family activities while physical distancing, and psychological first aid.

Find out how the Red Cross is helping Indigenous communities in your region​

Humanitarian workforce recruitment and training

The Canadian Red Cross is hiring to help meet needs across the country for the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many ways for people to get involved as volunteers, employees or delegates. Roles vary from requiring very little experience to specialist level and there are short term and longer-term assignments available.

For more information on the opportunities available with the Canadian Red Cross, please visit our Career page.

Services to Canadians returning home

The Canadian Red Cross is supporting the Public Health Agency of Canada in providing care and comfort services to returning travellers at a variety of sites across the country including Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Fredericton, St. John’s, and Halifax, among others. Services provided include reception, registration, information and resources for those staying in isolation; safety and wellbeing support, including wellness checks; and, provision of personal items, such as hygiene kits, items for childcare, phone chargers, and other unique needs like access to services for mobility aids and prescription medications.

Assisting people in vulnerable populations

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. Find all components of our response on our COVID-19 response timeline.

Supporting community organizations

Thanks to funding from the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund, led by Employment and Social Development Canada, the Canadian red Cross distributed grants, training and personal protective equipment available to community organizations across the country, as they deliver services to those who are the most vulnerable to the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19.

With funding from the Government of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross is supporting eligible community organizations to support personnel and the people they serve by providing free rapid antigen tests and support through the Stop the Spread and Stay Safe! Program.

Thanks to funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross has launched a new grant program to support community-based organizations in their work to promote mental health and wellbeing, prevent longer term mental illnesses and respond to ongoing service delivery challenges, within the context of COVID-19 and its impacts.

Learn more about how the Red Cross is helping in your community

View the Canadian Red Cross response timeline

Read stories and recent updates on our blog

After a Disaster

Recovering after a disaster can be overwhelming. Check out what resources the Red Cross has to offer.

Read more

Get an Emergency Kit

Getting or making a kit is the final step in being ready for any emergency. Find out what you need to put in it.

Read more