New legislation to protect Alberta’s voluntary blood donation system

Above: A volunteer donor gives blood at a recent event in Morinville

by Morinville News Staff

The government says the Voluntary Blood Donations Act would prevent private clinics that pay donors for their blood donations from setting up in the province. Additionally, the government says the Act would ensure Albertans have access to the blood they need and prevent the depletion of Alberta’s voluntary blood donor pool, something Canadian Blood Services (CBS) rely on.

“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,” said Minister of Health Sarah Hoffman in a government release Monday. “Banning paid blood donation will make sure people are donating to the same, coordinated, integrated blood supply network.”

CBS wants to increase the amount of plasma it collects in Canada by expanding existing blood collection sites, opening new plasma collection locations, and recruiting new donors. CBS is exempt from the new legislation.

Dr. Graham D. Sher, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Blood Services, said CBS is supportive of Alberta’s efforts to help further strengthen Canada’s voluntary, non-remunerated, publicly funded collections model. “Alberta has a long and proud history of support for the blood system, and we are pleased to see recognition of the work and contributions of the many donors and volunteers in the province,” he said.

Under the proposed legislation, the government could impose 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 per day and $500,000 per day for subsequent offences for a corporation.

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