How Red Cross is helping in Canada

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 the country’s most vulnerable as this international crisis evolves.

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 support 

Canadian Red Cross has offered our support to the Government of Canada, as well as provincial, territorial, and Indigenous health authorities to roll out COVID-19 vaccinations. We are currently supporting the following operations: 
In Quebec: 

  • At the request of the Quebec government, and in support of the health and social services network, we are providing support for COVID-19 vaccination operations. The Red Cross works with staff and management at each site to provide non-clinical support.
  • In partnership with Hydro-Québec, we supported the vaccination campaign for COVID-19 coordinated by the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS) and the Tulattavik and Inuulitsivik health centres.

In Ontario:

  • The Red Cross is providing non-clinical assistance with COVID-19 vaccinations in several locations.
  • In support of the Ontario Ministry of Health,  Red Cross is operating mobile vaccination clinics at businesses and in the community as determined by the local public health unit.

In British Columbia:

  • The Canadian Red Cross is providing non-clinical support to provincial and local health authorities as British Columbia’s mass immunization plans accelerate.

In Manitoba and Nunavut:

  • At the request of the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Canadian Red Cross is supporting vaccinations in First Nation communities in Manitoba.

In Prince Edward Island: 

  • At the request of the Government of Prince Edward Island, and with funding from the Government of Canada, Canadian Red Cross is assisting with staffing and volunteer resource management at five vaccination clinics.

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 has 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).

  • At the request of the Alberta Ministry of Health, Canadian Red Cross is providing components of an emergency field hospital to the Government of Alberta in preparation for a pandemic response unit, if needed, on the University of Alberta campus in Edmonton.
  • In British Columbia, at the request of Vancouver Coastal Health, Canadian Red Cross has provided components of our emergency field hospital to assist people in the lower mainland region in response to COVID-19.
  • In Quebec, at the request of the Government of Quebec, and in collaboration with the City of Montréal, Canadian Red Cross is supporting the opening and management of an emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness in Montreal.
  • Also in Quebec, at the request of the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay and the Cree Nation of Chisasibi, and in collaboration with the Chisasibi Regional Hospital Centre, Canadian Red Cross helped the community provide safe housing for seniors evacuated after a fire broke out at their community residence.

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.

The Friendly Calls program is currently offered in Alberta (By referral only through the Health Equipment Loan Program), British Columbia and Yukon, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.
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, Canadian Red Cross is assisting in long-term care homes in British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec.

On behalf of the Government of New Brunswick and with funding support from the Government of Canada, a Canadian Red Cross team is assisting the Provincial Rapid Outbreak Management Team, as needed, in response to COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care or special care facilities.

  • Red Cross teams are working to meet the needs of residents and provide comfort and care services, including assistance with basic daily living activities.
  • The Red Cross is working alongside staff in the home to allow them to focus on direct patient care.
  • The Red Cross is also providing 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 in partnership with Indigenous Services Canada to help communities across the country to prepare for and respond to COVID-19.

With funding from Indigenous Services Canada/First Nations Inuit Health Branch, we launched a Help Desk resource where Indigenous community leadership 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 Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Toronto, Montreal, Fredericton, St. John’s, Halifax.  Services may be provided in-person or remotely and could include registration and information services, provision of personal items, meal delivery, safety and wellbeing support, and family reunification.

On behalf of the Government of New Brunswick, Canadian Red Cross is providing call centre support to non-essential and leisure travellers and post-secondary students entering New Brunswick who are required to self-isolate in a designated isolation hotel.

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.

In Ontario:

  • In partnership with the City of Toronto, and other organizations, Canadian Red Cross is working to address the issue of food security and access during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In partnership with the City of Ottawa, the Red Cross went door-to-door to determine how isolated individuals are coping, and to ensure their immediate needs are met, which includes food and medicine supplies.
  • At the request of the Ontario Community Support Association, the Red Cross has been supporting eligible seniors and individuals with physical disabilities to access food and/or essential needs service delivery.
  • Working with the Municipality of Cochrane, the Red Cross has been coordinating the provision of essential services, including groceries and medications, to low-income individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting test results.

In Québec: The Canadian Red Cross is managing an emergency shelter at the Stade de soccer de Montréal for people experiencing homelessness. We also helped and continue to help, the City of Montréal in providing various services to people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic such as food distribution at various indoor and outdoor locations and emergency shelter coordination.

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.

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

View the Canadian Red Cross response timeline

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