Pressing need for lifesaving blood and plasma donations, yet only 1 in 10 plan to give over the holidays: Survey

DECEMBER 12, 2022 (OTTAWA) – While 6 out of 10 eligible donors in Canada believe donating blood or plasma over the holidays is important, only 1 in 10 plans to book an appointment before Dec. 31.

Those are the findings of a new Ipsos survey, and they are especially worrisome now. The national inventory of several blood types is far below optimal. At the same time, respiratory illnesses including RSV, flu and COVID are making it more difficult for us to staff donor centres and donation events, and for donors to keep their appointments.

“Winter cold and flu season is upon us, our cancellation rates have jumped significantly, and we’re heading into the toughest weeks to collect blood and blood products. Winter storms could further impact collections, and more than 25,000 open appointments must be filled across Canada by Dec. 31. Booking an appointment and donating will make all the difference.” says Rick Prinzen, Canadian Blood Services’ chief supply chain officer and vice-president of donor relations.

O-negative blood donors are especially needed because this blood type can be transfused to any patient. In times of emergency or for newborn patients, O-negative blood, the universal blood type, makes a lifesaving difference.

One blood component, platelets, has a shelf life of only seven days

Regular blood donations are also needed to ensure platelets are available. Platelets are a vital blood component with a shelf life of only seven days. One of the most common uses for platelets is to treat cancer patients.

Winter is a challenging time for blood and plasma collections. Weather impacts and illness are inevitable, so patients are counting on donors to keep their appointments whenever possible.

“Late cancellations and missed appointments make it challenging to collect blood products. If you make an appointment, please try to keep it. If you are unable to make it to your appointment, please cancel it as early as possible so someone else may take your place,” says Mr. Prinzen.

A sharp decline in the number of regular donors

As reported earlier this year, the number of people who donate regularly has decreased by 31,000 since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Patients’ needs are still being met by the smallest donor base in a decade, but this is not sustainable. Patients across Canada need new and returning donors more than ever to give lifesaving blood and plasma. Right now is the time to book an appointment. Your donation could help bring someone home this winter season,” says Prinzen.

Your donations matter. They help people be there for their families, give back to their communities and improve the lives of others. When you donate, you help ensure Canada’s Lifeline is strong, and you shape someone’s tomorrow.

Patients are waiting for new and returning donors to make all the difference today and throughout the winter months. Cancer patients, accident victims, and people with rare, life-threatening, chronic, and genetic conditions rely on blood, platelets, and plasma donations every day.

Thousands more new plasma and blood donors are needed across the country. Book your appointment online at, on the GiveBlood app, or by calling 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283).

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.


TEL. 1-877-709-7773