Canadian Red Cross

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Canadian Red Cross
Type Charitable organization
Founded 1896
Headquarters Ottawa, Ontario
Revenue 311 million CAD (2007)[1]

The Canadian Red Cross Society is a Canadian humanitarian charitable organization and one of 187 national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies. The mission of the Canadian Red Cross is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world. The Society has some disaster volunteer services and injury prevention services such as outdoor activities safety and first aid training. The Society, through the international network of the Red Cross, helps the world’s most vulnerable populations, including victims of armed conflicts and communities destroyed by devastating disasters. The current Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer is Conrad Sauvé.


It was established in the fall of 1896 as an affiliate of the British Red Cross Society (then known as the National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in War). Colonel Dr. George Sterling Ryerson spearheaded the organization's founding; he was earlier responsible for setting up Canada's St. John Ambulance Association in 1895. The Canadian Red Cross Society Act (1909) legally established the Red Cross as the corporate body in Canada responsible for providing volunteer aid in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. It is a national society and member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The Movement includes the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (Federation). The Canadian Red Cross had its centennial celebration in May 2009.[2]

Mrs. Mary Alice Danner of Perth, Ontario donated a building, later known as 'Red Cross House' at 237 Metcalfe Street to the Ottawa Branch of the Canadian Red Cross Society for blood donor services and other Red Cross activities in memory of Flight Sergeant William Dewey Hagyard R.C.A.F., who was missing in action February 11, 1942. The Ottawa branch of Blood Services Canada later relocated to Plymouth Street, in Ottawa[3]

Guiding Principles

i) Seven Fundamental Principles

All of our staff and volunteers are guided by the seven fundamental principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement:

• Humanity • Impartiality • Neutrality • Independence • Voluntary Service • Unity • Universality

Programs in Canada[edit]

The Canadian Red Cross has local branches in every province and territory in Canada. In addition, many authorized providers throughout Canada offer the following programs:

  • Disaster Management

-Assist people affected by emergencies and disasters (for the first 72 hours) -Work with governments and humanitarian organizations

  • Family Links

-Assist people in re-establishing contact with immediate family members after separation due to war, disaster or other crises

  • First Aid & CPR
  • Swimming & Boating Safety
  • RespectED: Violence & Abuse Prevention

-Beyond The Hurt, bullying and harassment prevention

  • Home-care Services
  • Health Equipment Loan Programs (HELP)

-Loan a variety of assistive devices at affordable and appropriate loan terms, so individuals won’t have to purchase items for each health episode

  • Meals on Wheels

-Program delivers hot, nutritious meals to persons who are unable to attend to their own nutritional needs

  • Youth Training in Action Program (Youth TAP)
  • Humanitarian Issues Program (HIP)

-Focus on the promotion of humanitarian values and international humanitarian law (IHL) through educational activities and campaigns.

  • Philanthropy

-Lead the planning and implementation of RC province-wide initiatives and assist with other approved campaigns.

In 2012, The Canadian Red Cross and The Royal Life Saving Society of Canada joined forces with the Public Health Agency of Canada to launch the Open Water Wisdom initiative, which is a community water activity safety program dedicated to bringing awareness to recreational water safety issues nationally and in hundreds of remote communities across Canada.[4][5]

Krever Commission[edit]

Until September 28, 1998, the Canadian Red Cross was responsible for all blood services in Canada. On the recommendation of the Krever Commission, the organization was removed from this position and replaced by the Canadian Blood Services because of the nation-wide controversy when it was revealed that between 1986 and 1990 it had supplied tainted blood to patients despite knowing of a test that might have detected the infection in some cases.[6] In 1994, an investigation found that 95 percent of hemophiliacs who used blood products supplied by the Canadian Red Cross before 1990 had contracted Hepatitis C.[7] According to the Krever Commission, approximately 85 percent of those infections could have been avoided.

More than 1100 Canadians were infected with HIV and 20,000 contracted Hepatitis C from blood transfusions given by the Red Cross during that period.[8]

The Canadian Red Cross was fined $5,000 for its role in the tainted blood scandal and agreed to plead guilty to distributing a contaminated drug. It agreed to give 1.5 million dollars to the University of Ottawa for a research endowment fund as well as a scholarship for family members of those affected. In exchange, six criminal charges against the Red Cross were dropped.[7]

The then-director of the Red Cross, Dr. Roger Perrault, was on trial for his role in the scandal. The first trial resulted in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice acquitting him on charges of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and six criminal nuisance charges were dropped in January 2008 when "there no longer remains a reasonable prospect of conviction in this case".[9]

Investigation into alleged 2004 Indian Tsunami worker abuse[edit]

An investigation conducted by Radio-Canada (CBC), first aired on March 17, 2010 on The National, reports on the problems facing workers that were hired by contractors, under contract from the Canadian Red Cross, to rebuild communities in the Indonesian province of Aceh.[10]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]