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WIN! Company abandons plans to establish for-profit plasma clinics in Ontario

Canadian Plasma ResourcesThe Council of Canadians opposes for-profit plasma collection clinics.

In March 2013, we highlighted that the Harper government was considering an application from the private company Canadian Plasma Resources to open for-profit blood donation clinics in Toronto and Hamilton where donors would be paid $20 for being hooked up to a plasma collection machine. We noted that two of the for-profit clinics were to be located near homeless shelters in downtown Toronto, while the third was to be near a drug abuse treatment centre in Hamilton.

In response we issued an action alert directed at the federal government that stated, “I am extremely concerned about the risks of opening paid donor plasma clinics in Canada, and urge you not to approve them. After the tainted blood scandals of the 1980s, our system has been committed to voluntary donations, and we should keep it that way.”

Then in June 2013, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow signed an open letter to the federal health minister that stated, “We remain in support of a public, not-for-profit, voluntary blood and plasma donation system in Canada, and urge you not to proceed with approval to Canadian Plasma Resources before real public policy discussion can occur.” Other signatories to the letter included the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canadian Doctors for Medicare, the Canadian Health Coalition, and the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions.

In March 2014, we celebrated when the Ontario government announced it intended to introduce legislation to prohibit private clinics that pay for blood donations. We indicated then that we would be encouraging our supporters in Ontario to contact their Member of the Provincial Parliament to ask them to back the legislation being put forward by Premier Kathleen Wynne’s then-minority government. And so on the day that the Ontario government made this announcement, we issued a second action alert titled Ontarians, support the legislation to stop for-profit blood collection.

And in May 2014, Council of Canadians health care campaigner Adrienne Silnicki called on tens of thousands of our supporters in Ontario to ask, “anyone coming to their door seeking their vote [in the June 2014 provincial election] for their party’s stance on for-profit plasma clinics. A 100% voluntary donation system for blood should be the goal for Canada, not the introduction of profit-seeking corporations selling Canadian’s blood on an international market, having possible consequences for our current donation system.”

Today the Toronto Star reports, “A company that has tried to establish three pay-for-plasma operations in the Greater Toronto Area says it’s halting a $400 million expansion planned for Ontario and taking it to western Canada due to this province’s intention to ban paid blood donations [through Bill 21, the Safeguarding Health Care Integrity Act now in second reading at Queen’s Park]. Toronto-based Canadian Plasma Resources says it had planned to open 10 plasma collection centres in Ontario, along with a plant that would separate plasma into component parts.”

We will also oppose any plans to set up these for-profits clinics in western Canada.

Further reading
Harper government considering application from for-profit blood donation clinic (March 2013 blog)
Decision on for-profit plasma clinics in Canada expected by year-end (May 2013 blog)