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Win! Ontario pulls the plug on private blood clinics

The Toronto Star reports, “Ontario is going to slam the door on private clinics that pay for blood donations. The province announced Friday it intends to introduce legislation to stop this practice and by doing so protect the province blood and plasma donation system…. In the interim, the government is posting two proposed regulation amendments that would prohibit any licensed lab or specimen collection centre from paying for blood and plasma donations, including reimbursement of expenses.”

“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.”

The Council of Canadians opposes for-profit blood and plasma donation clinics. In March 2013, CBC reported that the Harper government was considering an application from 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 then launched an action alert that asked our supporters to, “Please send a letter to Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq… Let the government know that a public, not-for-profit, voluntary blood and plasma collection is the safest and most ethical method of collection.” And in June, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow joined with others in 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.”

While the regulation amendments prohibiting payment for blood and plasma donations is a win, we will also 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 minority government.