2022-2023 Message from Vice President of Alberta and Northwest Territories

Before I begin talking about 2022-23, I wanted to introduce the new Vice President of Alberta and Northwest Territories, Thu Parmar. Thu began with the Red Cross in September 2023, and I am sure you will get to know her through your continued work with Red Cross.

As emergencies and disasters increase in frequency, the Canadian Red Cross collaboration with partners including community-based organizations, local governments and Indigenous leadership is imperative to help mitigate the impact on Canadians. The Red Cross works hard to remain ready to respond if needed, domestically and internationally, as part of the largest humanitarian network in the world.

As part of Red Cross’s commitment to Alberta communities and their resiliency, the Disaster Risk Reduction team and its volunteers went door to door in Exshaw, Deadman’s Flats, and Fort McMurray, providing information on flood and wildfire risks and suggesting simple low-cost actions for emergency preparedness. 

Emergencies and disasters, large or small, can happen any time of year. Over this fiscal year, Red Cross emergency management staff and volunteers provided more than 1,300 Albertans with basic needs like shelter, food, and clothing, after more than 290 personal disasters, such as house fires.

While the wildfires in Alberta began in May and are not within this report’s fiscal year, I did want to thank our donors and partners for their amazing support with the Alberta Fires. Through the Immediate Support to Not-for-Profit Organizations program, the Canadian Red Cross is providing $5,000 in one-time funding to support eligible local and neighbouring community organizations who are providing immediate relief assistance to those affected by the fires, alongside other responders on the ground. Additionally, the Red Cross is providing supplies such as cots, blankets, and hygiene kits throughout the province, as requested by the Alberta Emergency Management Agency and supported evacuees with lodging support at the request of the City of Edmonton. 

Volunteers are an integral part of the Red Cross and I want to extend my heartfelt thank you to the many volunteers who give their time, skills, and energy to their communities and our humanitarian mission. Further, I want to acknowledge two long-time volunteers, John Napier, and Jackie Specken, who received the Order of Red Cross member level in January 2022. It is the highest award given by the Canadian Red Cross to just 25 people annually. I am grateful for volunteers like John and Jackie, who embody the values and mission of the Red Cross.

Red Cross has continued to support the health care system with the Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP) by assisting more than 27,000 Albertans with their recovery at home. In Alberta, almost 52,000 items, such as wheelchairs, walkers, and bath aids, were loaned to people in 2022-23. The program also began accepting walk-in clients again after providing appointment-only services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Clients are still welcome to book appointments if they prefer.  

Additionally, there were more than 16,000 phone calls made to people in Alberta by specially trained Red Cross Friendly Calls volunteers who helped provide a sense of connection and companionship, and links to resources in the community. The program also expanded, making it available to anyone over the age 18.

I want to extend my deepest gratitude and appreciation to Alberta communities, partners, and donors. Because of your support, Red Cross continues working with people who find themselves vulnerable due to an emergency or disaster. Thank you!

Pat Quealey, Vice President, Canadian Red Cross, Alberta and the Northwest Territories

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