Canadians urged to donate blood and plasma as blood agency faces summer of unprecedented events

AUGUST 28, 2023 (OTTAWA) – As the country continues to face a unique set of circumstances this summer, Canadian Blood Services is urging everyone who can to donate blood or plasma to help boost supplies.

Summer is already a difficult time for maintaining an ideal blood and plasma supply as donors are out of their normal routines. This year, however, the situation has been complicated by an unusual series of events, including floodings and devastating wildfires.

“We expected to see lower attendance in the summer months when regular donors take summer vacations, but the extraordinary natural events across the country presented unpredicted challenges for folks from coast to coast,” says Ron Vezina, vice president, public affairs. “Between heat waves and forest fires, torrential rains and flash floods, communities are strained, as people cope with the emergencies in front of them. Fewer people have been donating, but despite these circumstances patients continue to need vital donations of blood and plasma.”

Over the last week, Canadian Blood Services had to cancel over 300 donation appointments in the Kelowna area as the community grappled with devastating wildfires.

“Our hearts go out to the communities that have been impacted by the disastrous events this summer,” said Vezina. “Canadians are always prepared to do the neighbourly thing and lend a helping hand and so we’re asking folks across the country to help fill the gap. If you can safely visit a donor centre or a mobile event, please do so as soon as you can. Patients are counting on you.”

There are nearly 10,000 donation appointments that need to be filled across the country between now and Labour Day.

On average, every 60 seconds someone in Canada needs blood

Blood has a limited shelf life after collection. Donated blood can only be stored for up to 42 days, so it is vital that the donations are continually collected without interruption.

With the shifting landscape in how and where Canadians are accessing news and information online, the agency is asking everyone to help share the news that blood and plasma donors are needed.

“We’re asking everyone who can to please donate blood or plasma and to help spread the word, by inviting others to join them in donating. We need this important ask of Canadians to reach as many people as quickly as possible and are asking for help in sharing our message on social media. Follow us @CanadasLifeline. Your support gives reassurance to the patients who rely on donated blood or plasma,” said Vezina.

Book an appointment today. Same day appointments are available at many locations. To join the community of donors who play a vital role in patient care in this country, download the GiveBlood app, visit, or call 1 888 2DONATE (1-888-236-6283) and book an appointment and share through your own social media networks.

About Canadian Blood Services

Canadian Blood Services is a not-for-profit charitable organization. Regulated by Health Canada as a biologics manufacturer and primarily funded by the provincial and territorial ministries of health, Canadian Blood Services operates with a national scope, infrastructure and governance that make it unique within Canadian healthcare. In the domain of blood, plasma and stem cells, we provide services for patients on behalf of all provincial and territorial governments except Quebec. The national transplant registry for interprovincial organ sharing and related programs reaches into all provinces and territories, as a biological lifeline for Canadians.