British Columbia government introduces Bill 29 to ban for-profit plasma collection clinics

The Council of Canadians Comox Valley chapter opposes privately-owned, for-profit plasma collection clinics.

In May 2016, the chapter tabled at the Village Market Day in Cumberland that draws many people. Afterwards, a blog by the chapter reported, "Interested passers-by signed BC Health Coalition letters to [then Liberal] Health Minister Terry Lake asking him to ban pay-for-plasma clinics in BC. There were also letter writing tips and contact information for those who were interested in writing their own letters to the Minister." That came after a private company Canadian Plasma Resources announced its interest in expanding into British Columbia and Lake saying he was open to allow a pay-for-plasma clinic in the province.

After the May 2017 provincial election NDP MLA Adrian Dix became the new minister of health. Now, the Canadian Press reports, "Payment for blood and plasma would be prohibited in British Columbia under legislation introduced [on April 26]. There are no clinics in B.C. that pay people for blood — but the legislation is meant to prevent any from opening. ...The health ministry says people who violate the law would be fined up to $10,000 for a first offence, and companies would pay $100,000 for a first offence and $500,000 for each subsequent contravention of the law."

The Council of Canadians has been opposing for-profit blood plasma collection clinics for more than five years and supports the passage of Bill 29, the Voluntary Blood Donations Act, in British Columbia.

Ontario - In March 2013, we highlighted 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 their plasma. In response we issued an online action alert and in June 2013, Maude Barlow signed an open letter to the federal health minister in support of a public, not-for-profit, voluntary blood and plasma donation system. In March 2014, we celebrated when the Ontario government announced it intended to introduce legislation to prohibit private clinics that pay for blood donations.

Saskatchewan - The Trudeau government approved the first private, for-profit plasma collection clinic in Saskatoon in February 2016 despite opposition from the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, and the Council of Canadians, including our Regina chapter. In December 2015, Regina chapter activist Jim Elliott, a regular blood donor, wrote then-Health Minister Jane Philpott stating, "It has come to my attention that Canadian Plasma Resources is awaiting approval from Health Canada to allow them to pay for plasma donations. I believe this is fundamentally the wrong direction and a further erosion of the health services we pride ourselves in providing to the public of Canada."

Nova Scotia - In April 2016, the Council of Canadians joined with Bloodwatch.org and the Nova Scotia Health Network for a public event and media conference in Halifax that called on Premier Stephen McNeil to pass Bill 43, the Voluntary Blood Donations Act. That legislation has yet to pass.

New Brunswick - In May 2017, we launched an online action alert that called on Trudeau to reject the licencing application from Canadian Plasma Resources to operate a private, for-profit plasma collection centre in Moncton. Unfortunately by July 2017 the federal government had issued the clinic a federal licence and it was fully operational shortly afterwards.

To date, Ontario, Quebec and Alberta have banned for-profit plasma collection clinics.

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