Growing domestic plasma supply for Canadian patients

Updated on September 24

April 8, 2021 (OTTAWA) – Canadian Blood Services is pleased to announce that, with the support of funding from provincial and territorial governments, plans are now underway to increase plasma collection in more cities across Canada.

New plasma donor centres will open in Brampton and Ottawa, Ontario by spring 2022. These new locations will build on the success of the dedicated plasma donor centres that opened in 2020 in Sudbury, Ontario, and Lethbridge Alberta along with the Kelowna, British Columbia location that is set to open in June of this year.

“It’s our job at Canadian Blood Services to ensure the safety and security of blood and blood products, including plasma, for patients in Canada, today and into the future,” says Dr. Graham Sher, CEO, Canadian Blood Services.

“Collecting plasma is not a new business for Canadian Blood Services. We have collected plasma at some of our existing blood donor centres for many years and we also recover a small amount of plasma from every whole blood donation. While we’ve been able to increase plasma collection within our current network, and at the new centres in Sudbury, Lethbridge and Kelowna, more needs to be done. Adding another three dedicated plasma donor centres represents the next phase in increasing plasma sufficiency in Canada,” adds Dr. Sher.

Plasma is the protein-rich blood component used to make specialized medicines for the treatment of a variety of life-threatening conditions. There was a global challenge with the supply of one plasma protein product, Immunoglobulin, before the COVID-19 pandemic and the pandemic has added new elements of risk around access to supply. Immunoglobulin is used to treat primary immunodeficiency disorders, a group of rare chronic disorders in which part of the immune system is missing or functioning improperly. Secondary immunodeficiencies, which result from non-genetic factors such as viruses and chemotherapy, are also treated with this product.

“The goal is to increase domestic plasma supply in Canada for the manufacture of lifesaving medications in the most sustainable, cost-effective and scalable manner possible,” adds Sher. “Brampton and Ottawa have been chosen based on donor participation, population, accessibility and other operational criteria. We are very excited to work with these communities to develop a strong plasma donor-base to grow the Canadian supply for patients in need.”

Canadian Blood Services operates a national inventory to ensure hospitals and care providers have the blood and blood products – including plasma – needed to support patient care across the country. 

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.


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