Partner Update: Canadian Red Cross

Posted: May 4, 2020

Topic: Communique

Source: Canadian Red Cross

The following is an excerpt from the Canadian Red Cross April 2020 Partner Update on their COVID-19 Response. Download the entire report here.


  • The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the world’s largest humanitarian network - the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement - with nearly 100 million staff and volunteers worldwide.
  • With a network of more than 12,000 active volunteers and 2,300 employees, the Canadian Red Cross aims to make Canadians safer and more resilient, while also providing essential aid to those experiencing crises around the world.
  • Emergency planning and preparedness continues with all levels of government, as we look ahead to wildfire and flood seasons.
  • In British Columbia & Yukon, the Red Cross has recruited, trained and engaged more than 900 emergency management volunteers, in addition to staff, and services in communities across the province and territory. In a COVID-19 environment, training has transitioned to a virtual setting to ensure readiness.
  • Proven ability to coordinate and convene stakeholders and partners in federal and municipal governments, Indigenous leadership, corporate sector, and voluntary organizations.
  • The Canadian Red Cross is currently raising funds through the Canadian Emergencies and COVID-19 Response Fund Appeal at the community and corporate level.

Ongoing COVID-19 Activities

Building off a long history working alongside Indigenous communities, the Canadian Red Cross is working in partnership with Indigenous Services Canada to provide support to communities across Canada to prepare for and respond to COVID-19.

  • Canadian Red Cross will look to ensure a coordinated and effective response to COVID-19 in Indigenous communities by working with all levels of government and partners such as the First Nations Health Authority to assess needs and gaps, and resource timely, effective and appropriate services to meet the needs and strengthen capacity of the most vulnerable populations. These may include;
    • ProvisionofinformationtosupplementplanningandortheprovisionofelementsofaHealth Emergency Response Unit (ERU) (Red Cross field hospital) to augment capacity of existing health f acilities.
    • Extendedandtargetedinfectionpreventionandcontroltraining,includinguseofpersonal protective equipment, to support community structures and members can be supported through virtual training and materials.
    • OnlineaccesstotheRedCrossPsychologicalFirstAidprogram.
  • The Canadian Red Cross is working alongside government partners to mobilize a virtual Help Desk resource for Indigenous communities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the coming days, the Help Desk will be available to provide Indigenous leadership with information and referrals related to pandemic planning, health guidance and community wellness and protection.

In Canada

In response to COVID-19, the Canadian Red Cross continues to work alongside governments and health ministries across the country.

  • The Canadian Red Cross is supporting the Public Health Agency of Canada to provide care and comfort services to travellers showing symptoms at four isolation sites – Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal where services include:
    • Reception, registration, information for those in isolation;
    • Meal delivery services;
    • Safety and wellbeing support, referrals for mental health needs;
    • Family reunification;
    • Provision of personal items and access to mobility aids and prescription medications etc.
  • The Canadian Red Cross is also supporting public authorities in British Columbia and Yukon, providing comfort and care services to people that do not have a residence to stay in for their 14-day self-isolation period. Supports could include lodging, food and incidentals for eligible individuals.

In British Columbia

The Canadian Red Cross is providing components of our emergency field hospital, along with technical personnel to assist people in the Vancouver Coastal Health region in response to the pandemic.

  • The Canadian Red Cross emergency field hospital equipment is being used to augment existing health infrastructure at the Vancouver Convention Health Centre in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All clinical health services will be provided by Vancouver Coastal Health.
  • The Canadian Red Cross Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP) is also providing additional equipment such as hospital beds, commodes, walkers, IV poles and wheelchairs to support the operations.
  • Over the past ten years, the Canadian Red Cross has provided components of its emergency field hospital capacity to assist internationally in disasters more than 25 times.
  • The Canadian Red Cross Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP) is working collaboratively with health authorities in British Columbia to adapt to emerging needs due to COVID-19.
    • The Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP) is an important support of the healthcare system, and functions as an extension of the Health Authority hospital to community transition process.
    • Red Cross HELP depots remain open around the province, however in some cases, HELP is supporting the transition of clients moving from hospital to home by shifting to Health Authority- only access satellite sites located on site at hospitals, rather than a depot. This supports the HELP hospital to home mission while reducing higher exposure risk hospital access for clients and their caregivers.

Earlier, at the request of the Government of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross supported the comfort and care of returning Canadians staying at CFB Trenton, in addition to providing a small health clinic to assist returning Canadians from the Grand Princess cruise ship outside of California.

  • Canadian Red Cross personnel augmented the capacity of the Public Health Agency of Canada to provide daily health checks to individuals in quarantine, including nurses trained to respond during international emergencies.
  • Non-medical supports included meal delivery services, safety and wellbeing support, provision of personal items and family reunification
  • The Canadian Red Cross also supported the return of Canadians previously housed at CFB Trenton, and those from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was docked in Japan and later quarantined in Cornwall.

Download the entire report here.