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Paid Blood Donation

It is critical that Canada’s life-saving blood system exclusively serves the public interest and not money-makers.

After the devastating tainted blood scandal of the 1980s, in which nearly 30,000 Canadians were infected with hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Canadian governments promised to never let such a tragedy happen again. A Royal Commission into tainted blood found that profiteering and lax standards contributed to the entry of tainted blood into the blood supply. As a response, Canadian governments created an arm’s length public blood products agency, Canadian Blood Services (CBS), to insure safety and sustainability in blood products supply for the future.

Despite this history, Health Canada has recently licensed two private, for-profit blood plasma collection clinics in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, permitting them to open. CBS has reported a decrease in voluntary donors to the public system as they compete with the nearby profit-driven plasma clinics that pay donors. This plasma, literally bought from Canadians, is being shipped to international markets and not serving Canadians in need.

Of even greater concern, this private plasma company has a history of opening plasma collection clinics in vulnerable neighborhoods and offering payment. This practice recalls the wrongheaded decision-making that created the conditions for tainted blood to enter the Canadian blood supply in the 1980s.

The CFNU is committed to preserving and protecting the safe, public blood system that Canadians rely on every day for life-saving blood products. We believe that profits have no place in the supply of live-saving blood, and we must protect the role of CBS as an institution that is accountable exclusively to the people of Canada and not to shareholders or special interests.

Voluntary Blood Donor Bill

Nurses continue to play a critical role in protecting Canada’s life-saving blood system from blood brokers’ intent on setting up cash-for-blood clinics across Canada. We are proud to have been part of the historic launch of Bill S-252 in the Senate to, once and for all, protect Canada’s blood system from profiteering interests. Introduced in May by Senator Pamela Wallin, former CTV anchor during the Tainted Blood Scandal of the 80s and 90s, Bill S-252 is the culmination of years of work by and the CFNU, among others, to protect our life-saving, public and volunteer blood donation system, upon which we all depend.

Since the coming election will prevent Bill S-252 from advancing in this Parliament, the CFNU will continue to work towards a federal ban on for-profit blood collectors.

Fewer nurses at Canadian Blood Services’ clinics

Together with the Ontario Nurses’ Association, the CFNU has raised concerns with Canadian Blood Services about the impact that cuts in nursing staff are having on their collection facilities. Nurses are being replaced by less-trained donor care associates to save money. We believe it is vital to have nurses on staff at blood collection facilities to ensure that the high standards of blood safety are maintained.

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