On World Blood Donor Day, and during National Blood Donor Week, we thank those who have selflessly helped to save lives by donating blood, plasma, and other blood products and raising awareness of the importance of blood donation.
This year, to highlight the need for new donors and inspire people to help make our blood system stronger, Canadian Blood Services (CBS) is continuing its “Shine a Light” campaign and Héma-Québec is continuing its call to action for more people to make a difference. More donations help save lives and strengthen our healthcare system overall, improving access to life-saving healthcare services when and where we need them.
In Canada, there is a constant demand for blood, plasma, and platelets to help save lives. 52% of people say they, or a family member, have needed blood or blood components at some point in their lives. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen Canada’s donor participation rate drop from just under 4% of the eligible population to under 2%. Now, more than ever, new blood donors are needed to replenish the donor base.
The Government of Canada understands that a donation process that is as inclusive as possible helps support a stronger blood system in Canada.
That’s why we are committed to supporting blood, plasma, and platelet donation policies that are inclusive while maintaining Canada’s high standards for blood safety. Notably, in 2022, Health Canada authorized submissions by CBS and Héma-Québec to screen all blood and plasma donors, regardless of gender or sexuality, based on their sexual behaviors, thus eliminating the donor deferral period for men who have sex with men. These regulatory authorizations relied in part on evidence generated by our government’s research investments in this area, starting in 2016.
We are grateful to all blood donors for their life-saving donations, and we encourage everyone to think about donating blood, plasma, and platelets as well as stem cells, or cord blood if they can.