Remarks on lifting of the blood donation ban
Hello, everyone. Thank you for being here.
This morning, Health Canada authorized Canadian Blood Services to lift the current blood donation ban for men who have sex with men. Instead, all donors will be screened for high-risk sexual behaviour, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. Our government welcomes this decision, it’s been a long time coming; the current approach was discriminatory and wrong. This is a significant milestone in moving forward on both the safety of our blood supply, but also non-discriminatory practices.
It’s important that today Health Canada approved the elimination of the blanket donor deferral period for men who have sex with men. This is good news. Canadian Blood Services will instead use an approach based on high-risk sexual behaviour for all donors, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
In 2015, we got elected with a commitment to end this discriminatory practice. We turned to Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec, and we said what is it that you need to end this practice? They said, we need more research, we need more studies, we need more science to make sure that we can continue to give Canadians full confidence in the safety of the blood supply.
So, over the past years, we funded over $5 million to a dozen different studies to make sure that we could get to this day. It is frustrating that it took this long—the implementation should be done by the fall, hopefully—but this is good news for all Canadians. Our blood supply will continue to be safe and we’re doing away with the discriminatory blanket ban.
This is good news for all Canadians.