Provincial government proposes protecting Alberta’s voluntary blood donation system

Government of Alberta
News release
Alberta patients would have secure and reliable access to donated blood when they need it under proposed legislation.

A volunteer donates blood at a Canadian Blood Services clinic (Credit: Canadian Blood Services). The Voluntary Blood Donations Act would prevent private clinics that pay donors for their blood donations from setting up in the province. It would help ensure Albertans have access to the blood they need. The bill would also prevent Alberta’s voluntary blood donor pool that Canadian Blood Services relies on from being depleted.

“I’m very grateful for the many Albertans who freely give of their time to donate blood and blood products. Donating blood should not be viewed as a business venture, but as a public resource saving lives every day. Banning paid blood donation will make sure people are donating to the same, coordinated, integrated blood supply network.”
– Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health.

“Our 10-year-old daughter, Hosanna, requires blood transfusions every two to three weeks to stay healthy, so a reliable, consistent, secure resource is vitally important to us. Blood donors are the unsung heroes in our life. We rely on Canadian Blood Services and we are grateful they are taking care to give Hosanna the best!”
– Cathy Crowell, mother of blood recipient.

“Canadian Blood Services is supportive of Alberta’s efforts to help further strengthen Canada’s voluntary, non-remunerated, publicly funded collections model. Alberta has a long and proud history of support for the blood system and we are pleased to see recognition of the work and contributions of the many donors and volunteers in the province.”
– Dr. Graham D. Sher, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Blood Services.

“BloodWatch commends Minister Hoffman and the Alberta government for bringing forth legislation that would protect the security and integrity of the public blood system by banning for-profit paid plasma. Our pan-Canadian voluntary system is integral to ensuring patients receive the highest standard of care by Canadian Blood Services.”
– Kat Lanteigne, Executive Director, BloodWatch.

By expanding existing blood collection sites, opening new plasma collection locations and recruiting new donors, Canadian Blood Services wants to increase the amount of plasma it collects in Canada. Canadian Blood Services is exempt from the legislation.

The following penalties are included in the proposed legislation:
. Fines of up to $10,000 a day for a first offence and up to $50,000 a day for subsequent offences for individuals.
. Fines of up to $100,000 a day and $500,000 a day for a subsequent offence for a corporation.

Quick facts
. Supporting an integrated, national, voluntary blood collection and delivery system aligns with the recommendations of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada.
. World Health Organization recommends blood donations be collected from unpaid donors.
. Paid blood donation is already banned in Ontario and Quebec.
. Created in 1998, Canadian Blood Services coordinates, collects, tests and processes blood components and then dispenses blood components and blood products to Canadian hospitals.

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