- The Weekender
Protecting Alberta’s voluntary blood donation system
A recent Bill will ensure that Alberta patients have secure and reliable access to donated blood when they need it under the proposed legislation.
The Voluntary Blood Donations Act will prevent private clinics that pay donors for their blood donations from setting up in the province.
It will help Albertans have access to the blood they need and the bill would also prevent Alberta’s voluntary blood donor pool that Canadian Blood Services (CBS) relies on from being depleted.
Alberta Minister of Health Sarah Hoffman said, “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.”
Blood workers have also welcomed the ban on paid donations.
The Alberta government’s decision to ban paid donations for blood and blood products will save lives, save money and protect the health of Albertans, said the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA).
“We are delighted to hear that this government has learned the lessons of the tainted-blood scandal in the 1980s that claimed 8,000 Canadian lives, infected about 30,000 with HIV and Hepatitis C and cost billions of dollars in financial settlements,” said Mike Parker, president of HSAA, the union that represents about 25,000 health-care professionals including nearly 300 that work for CBS, in a statement. “Some things are too important for profit to play a role. The collection of life-saving blood products is a critical part of our health-care system and introducing a profit motive undermines the safety and security of those vital supplies.”
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 and fines of up to $100,000 a day and $500,000 a day for a subsequent offence for a corporation.