ONA Calls for Ford Government to Reject Foreign-Owned, Private Blood Collection Clinics Operating in Ontario
June 13, 2023
TORONTO, ON, June 13, 2023 – The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) is calling for the province of Ontario to immediately stop Canadian Blood Services (CBS) from outsourcing plasma collection to a foreign-owned for-profit plasma collection corporation in Ontario.
“Ontario’s blood supply is a priceless public asset that must never be sold off to the highest bidder,” says Erin Ariss, RN, Provincial President of the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA). “We are outraged that CBS – tasked with blood collection from volunteers – has signed a deal to undermine our public, voluntary collection centres in Ontario and across the country. CBS was created in 1998 to restore the trust of Canadians after our last experiment with foreign-owned corporations that saw Canadian patients receive unsafe blood and plasma transfusions.”
Ariss says that the for-profit plasma industry will erode Ontario’s donor base by paying for donations. She adds, "The only way for Canada to be self-sufficient and ensure a safe, ready supply of blood and blood plasma is through our existing national blood operator, Canadian Blood Services, without a profit motive attached to it.
With the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU), ONA requested in a letter almost a year ago that Health Minister Sylvia Jones uphold the Voluntary Blood Donations Act and expand Ontario’s voluntary plasma collection. CFNU president Linda Silas says, “Nurses are gravely concerned by plans to open paid plasma clinics in Ontario, despite a ban on such clinics under Ontario law. As the evidence from Quebec demonstrates, public investments in our voluntary donor system are effective at increasing self-sufficiency in plasma supply. Ontario should reject the introduction of for-profit plasma collection centres run by a foreign-owned pharmaceutical company, just as the BC government has.”
Ariss adds that “corporate greed knows no bounds. Selling out the health and safety of our citizens is despicable. The government must follow the examples of British Columbia and Quebec to strengthen our existing public system and immediately forbid a deal between Canadian Blood Services and the for-profit plasma industry to outsource collection. We expect this government to uphold existing legislation for the health and safety of Ontarians. Should they fail to do so, nurses and Ontarians will never forget this pivotal moment.”
ONA is the union representing more than 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.