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Ontario To Prohibit Paying Blood and Plasma Donors

Web posted on March 14, 2014

Ontario intends to introduce legislation to preserve the integrity of the province's voluntary blood and plasma donation system. On June 27, 2013, the federal government indicated that it considers payment to blood and plasma donors to be within the jurisdiction of provinces and territories. Currently, there is no legislation specifically prohibiting paying for blood or plasma donations in Ontario.

If passed, the new legislation would:
--> Prohibit payments to individuals for their blood and plasma including reimbursement of expenses or other forms of compensation.

--> Strengthen the government's ability to enforce in the case of violations.

--> Expand the criteria considered for licensing blood collection facilities to ensure the public interest is upheld.

As an immediate step, the government is posting two proposed regulation amendments for consultation. These amendments, if enacted, would prohibit any licensed lab or specimen collection centre from paying for blood and plasma donations, including reimbursement of expenses.

"Since the Krever inquiry, we have built a public blood system in Canada that is safe, effective and integrated. There is no meaningful rationale for altering Canadian Blood Services' current, sustainable system of managing the blood and blood products supply for Ontarians." Dr. Graham Sher, CEO, Canadian Blood Services.

Ontario's position is consistent with the 1997 Krever Commission's report on Canada's blood system that recommended donors of blood and plasma should not be paid for their donations, except in rare circumstances. The report also recommended that Canada's national blood system be administered by a single integrated national blood service.

"Tainted blood victims are grateful that Minister Matthews is showing leadership and moving forward with decisive action to maintain and protect the voluntary blood system in Ontario." Michael McCarthy, Former Vice-President, Canadian Hemophilia Society.

Strengthening the current model of voluntary donations for blood and plasma supports the government's commitment to protect the integrity of our public blood donor system.