Statement

It’s safe to donate blood during COVID-19, and critical for patients


Saturday, March 14, 2020

We urge all donors to book and keep their appointments to prevent shortages

Canadian Blood Services is concerned by a recent spike in appointment cancellations in several cities related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the organization responsible for the national blood system outside Quebec, we are determined to keep our promise to help every patient, match every need and serve every Canadian. To do that we require the ongoing generosity and commitment of donors.  

Patients depend on these lifesaving donations. Every day blood products are needed for patients undergoing surgery, cancer treatments, and to save lives following traumas such as motor vehicle accidents.

Canadian Blood Services operates a national blood inventory where products are regularly shifted around the country to meet hospital and patient needs. The inventory is currently strong, but the recent increase in cancellations is worrying, particularly in light of the blood shortages already being reported in other countries affected by COVID-19.

Donating blood in Canada continues to be safe. Our robust cleaning and infection-control practices protect all donors, staff and volunteers. All prospective donors are also carefully screened for any symptoms of illness, including very mild ones. This screening occurs during both appointment booking and upon arrival at the donor centre or event. Those with any symptoms are not allowed to donate blood and are instructed not to visit.

Additionally, we have added new measures that take effect Monday March 16, 2020.

  • Anyone asked by public health to place themselves under observation or self-quarantine are not allowed to donate for 14 days from the date of their last contact with a case or suspected case of COVID-19.
  • Anyone with a case or suspected case in their household cannot donate for 14 days after the infected person’s recovery.
  • Anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 are not allowed to donate for 56 days after full recovery from the infection.

Our screening measures are evolving in line with public health recommendations and the changing dynamics of the COVID19 outbreak. We ask donors who have recently travelled outside of Canada to call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) when booking their appointment to confirm they are eligible.

These measures help ensure our donor centres remain islands of wellness within Canada’s health system. They are not places where sick people gather.

We urge all healthy eligible donors to book and keep appointments. The need is constant for blood, stem cells, plasma and organ and tissue donors. Canadian Blood Services adheres to the latest guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada including all recommendations for public gatherings during COVID-19. Should the agency’s recommendations change we will act immediately to keep donors safe.

More information on COVID-19 is available at blood.ca/covid19. To make an appointment to donate, download the GiveBlood app, call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or book now at blood.ca. Walk-in appointments are also available at all locations.

For the latest information, visit our COVID-19 update

ShareTweetShare

COVID-19


Canadian Blood Services is responsible for the safety of the national blood supply system (excluding in Quebec). During the COVID-19 global outbreak, we will continue to deliver on this.

Blood transfusions will still be necessary for trauma accidents, cancer treatments and other urgent surgeries. 

Your donation is essential to protect our most vulnerable community members.

Canadian Blood Services has a strong record of responding quickly and effectively to public health issues as demonstrated in the past with West Nile Virus, Chagas, SARS, MERS, Zika and H1N1.

Canadian Blood Services will continue to evaluate the latest evidence and work closely with provincial/territorial partners, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Health Canada, Héma-Quebec, international blood agencies and the World Health Organization to prepare for and address a potential pandemic situation.

Current evidence and risk modelling suggests that COVID-19 is not transmissible through the transfusion of blood and blood products. Nonetheless, Canadian Blood Services has strict measures in place to ensure the continued safety of our blood supply and address the health of our donors.

Our donor centres are places of wellness. Only healthy people are eligible to donate blood. Potential donors are pre-screened for any signs of sickness when they book the appointment.  

Due to the increase in the number of countries affected and the growing number of new cases outside of Canada, Canadian Blood Services is updating its eligibility requirements for donors.

Here are some of the changes that might affect you beginning on March 16, 2020:

  • Anyone who has been asked to place themselves under quarantine will be deferred for 14 days from the date of their last suspected contact with the infection. 
  • Anyone with a suspected or confirmed infection in their household will be deferred for 14 days after the infected person’s recovery. 
  • Any donors with confirmed cases of COVID19 will be deferred for 56 days after full recovery from the infection. 

A 21-day deferral for donors returning from travel outside of Canada, the continental U.S. and Europe was put in place for Zika virus and remains active. We are continuously monitoring the situation and will adjust quickly as needed.

We are continuously evaluating whether additional assessments or deferral policies are needed or if additional measures are required to protect employees, volunteers and donors. We are confident existing routine measures continue to provide the necessary protection for employees, volunteers and donors.

Lastly, we would like to caution all donors to very carefully consider the source of any new information about COVID-19. A best practice is to confirm any new information by checking the websites of the agencies below:

  1. Public Health Agency of Canada
  2. World Health Organization
  3. Centers for Disease Control Prevention
ShareTweetShare

2019 Novel Coronavirus


Friday, January 31, 2020

On Jan. 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the 2019 novel coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.  

Canadian Blood Services continues to closely monitor clinical and scientific developments around the 2019 novel coronavirus. As of Jan. 30, 2020, the virus is known to have spread throughout mainland China and has been confirmed in over 20 other countries around the world. To date we have confirmation of cases in Canada too.   

Canadian Blood Services remains dedicated to keeping the blood system safe, and we take this responsibility very seriously. While the behavior of this virus is not yet fully understood, it is important to note that no transfusion-transmitted cases of respiratory viruses, including coronaviruses and influenza-like viruses, have ever been reported.   

Canadian Blood Services already has a waiting period of 21 days for donors who have traveled outside of Canada, the continental United States, and Europe. The incubation period for the novel coronavirus is covered by our 21-day travel-related waiting period. The risk of contracting a coronavirus through blood transfusion is extremely low, and our existing donor eligibility criteria and rigorous testing continue to safeguard Canada’s blood supply.  

Although there have been very few cases of novel coronavirus in Canada, and there is no evidence of community transmission within Canada, we ask our donors to please contact Canadian Blood Services if they are investigated by public health for a suspected case of the 2019 novel coronavirus, or because of possible contact with a case of the coronavirus. As we would for flu symptoms or those of other illnesses, we ask employees and donors to stay at home if they are not feeling well. We encourage everyone to keep practicing usual precautions against the spread of respiratory infections such as proper hand washing and proper cough and sneezing etiquette. 

We continue to work with our health partners, including Health Canada, Héma-Québec, and other blood operators to gather additional information. We will monitor the situation closely as it develops and adapt our actions accordingly.  

For more information on the 2019 novel coronavirus, please consult the Public Health Agency of Canada.   

 

ShareTweetShare

Make saving a life your greatest gift this holiday season


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Call for blood donors to book now to help patients

DEC. 17, 2019 (OTTAWA) – Crystal Nguyen is among thousands of Canadians who have needed blood for lifesaving care during the holidays. That’s why she encourages Canadians to support Canada’s Lifeline and book and honour their appointments to meet patient needs.

Blood donations between Dec. 23 and Jan. 5 are essential to collect platelets, which are a vital blood component many patients living with cancer or a blood disorder may need for treatment. But platelets have a short expiry of seven days. Statutory holidays in December impact our collection hours so every blood donation counts during the holiday season. Meanwhile, patient needs don’t take a holiday.

Crystal required more than 70 blood transfusions after she was diagnosed with leukemia in 2011. Thanks to donors, today she is an aspiring nurse and a strong advocate for blood donation.

Crystal required more than 100 blood transfusions after she was diagnosed with leukemia in 2011.
Thanks to donors, today she is an aspiring nurse and a strong advocate for blood donation.

A Vancouver resident, Crystal was diagnosed with leukemia in 2011. She required more than 100 blood transfusions and months of chemotherapy during her treatment at BC Children’s Hospital but is now an aspiring nurse and a strong advocate for blood donation.

“My care didn’t stop during the holiday season. Blood donors made a big difference in my recovery. I’m grateful for every donor who helped me and ask every eligible donor to make that wonderful, lifesaving gift this holiday season,” explains Crystal.

Many Canadians use the holidays for travel and festivities, but lifesaving health procedures will continue to take place. The demand for blood never stops.

“Many Canadians have shared Crystal’s experience and appreciate how a blood donation can be the lifeline for a patient injured in a motor vehicle crash, a mother requiring lifesaving care following childbirth, or someone depending on blood products for specialized cancer treatment,” says Rick Prinzen, Canadian Blood Services chief supply chain officer and vice-president of donor relations.

“Everything we do to help patients in Canada depends on donors. Donors are a vital link in Canada’s Lifeline. In 2020, Canada needs over 100,000 new blood donors to keep up with demand.”

Quick Facts

  • Shipping blood products to hospital partners is an important part of helping patients. With the support of donors, in 2018-2019 Canadian Blood Services issued more than a million blood components to over 700 hospitals across Canada.
  • Canadian Blood Services uses two methods to obtain platelets. Pooled platelets are produced by separating platelets from whole blood after donation. This process accounts for approximately 80 per cent of the platelets we collect. Platelets can also be separated from whole blood during donation using a process called apheresis. This process yields more platelet volume per donation, but specialized equipment is required that can’t be made available as widely as a typical whole blood donation.
  • There are many ways to donate. As a national registered charity, Canadian Blood Services also welcomes financial donations prior to the Dec. 31, 2019 tax deadline. Financial contributions are another option for people who want to support Canada’s Lifeline and want to make their blood or platelet donation go further, or for those who are ineligible to donate blood.

Making an appointment to donate has never been easier. Download the GiveBlood app, call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or book now at blood.ca. Walk-in appointments are also available at all locations.

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.

ShareTweetShare

Canadian Blood Services invites public to open board meeting Dec. 6


Thursday, December 05, 2019
WHAT:

Canadian Blood Services will open its doors physically and virtually, by live streaming its open board meeting at blood.ca and inviting the public to attend in person in Ottawa.

Members of the public are invited to participate in open board meetings twice each year to hear about the organization’s work, deliver presentations and meet with members of the board and the management team.

Since its inception in 1998, Canadian Blood Services has been committed to operating in an open, transparent and collaborative manner.

WHO:

Dr. Graham Sher, CEO, Canadian Blood Services, and members of the Executive Management Team

Mel Cappe, Chair of the Board of Directors and members of the Board of Directors

WHEN:

Friday, Dec. 6, 2019

8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST

WHERE:

Canadian Blood Services

1800 Alta Vista Drive

Ottawa, ON Live stream available at https://blood.ca/en/about-us/governance/board-meetings/next-open-board-meeting

 

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.

ShareTweetShare

Changes in blood donation process will enhance donor experience


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

As we are constantly seeking new ways to enhance donors’ experience, we recently introduced changes to our blood donation process to reduce blood donor screening and rest time for repeat donors, resulting in a shorter donation time without impacting the safety of the donor.

Recent studies and industry best practices show that some donor screening requirements are no longer necessary. New evidence indicates that measuring blood pressure doesn’t have an impact on the safety or wellness of blood donors. In fact, blood operators in countries such as Denmark and the United Kingdom do not measure donor blood pressure during screening.

On September 29, 2019, here’s what changes:

  • After their first donation, blood donors will no longer have their blood pressure measured before donating.
  • Donors will not be deferred for having a low body temperature, but will still be deferred if they have a high body temperature during screening.
  • First time blood donors will have their blood pressure measured, but will not be deferred from donating for an out of range blood pressure. We will continue to measure blood pressure in first time donors and monitor their reaction rates. In the future, we may stop performing blood pressure measurements for first time donors if their reaction rates are similar to other donors.

Similarly, to enhance the safety and well-being of donors, we launched steps in March 2019 to promote hydration and salt intake at the donation site before donation, as well as applied muscle tension exercise during donation. These steps improve donors’ experience and reduce the likelihood of having a vasovagal reaction (feeling faint or fainting) when giving blood.

Here are the new steps to help donors recover more effectively:

  • Donors will be provided with fluids (500 mL of water) and a salty snack (450 mg sodium) before donating. 
  • While on the donation chair, whole blood donors are encouraged to perform muscle tension exercises. 
  • Lastly, an enhanced pressure bandage will be applied to all whole blood donors after their donation. This bandage applies consistent pressure which helps to prevent rebleeding.

Canadian Blood Services regularly reviews donor screening processes and eligibility criteria to be as minimally restrictive as possible, while maintaining the safety of the blood supply and ensuring the wellness of donors. All together, these changes save blood donors’ time during screening, reducing the overall wait times for donors in our centres.

Learn more about the blood donation process on blood.ca.

ShareTweetShare

A Q&A with medical director Dr. David Allan


Monday, July 22, 2019

On May 15, Health Canada published a policy position paper warning Canadian patients of the risks associated with autologous cell therapy products. Health Canada also directed clinics that offer unproven, potentially unsafe treatments to stop offering these services immediately. Canadian Blood Services welcomes this position.

For clarification, Health Canada’s position paper and statement does not impact Canadian Blood Services, which already operates with Health Canada’s oversight. We welcome the approach by the regulator to ensure that the public is protected from unproven and potentially harmful claims and interventions.

Our medical director, Dr. David Allan, speaks about this issue and sheds light on blood stem cells and its clinical uses.

ShareTweetShare

Keeping the promise: our new strategic plan


Thursday, March 28, 2019

MARCH 28, 2019 (OTTAWA) – Canadian Blood Services is pleased to announce the launch of our new strategic plan, Keeping the Promise, 2019–2024. It addresses emerging priorities in health care, while ensuring that Canadian Blood Services remains responsive, relevant and, above all, focused on patients.  

Keeping the Promise is the result of broad stakeholder consultation, detailed environmental scanning and extensive internal conversations. 

 
The plan is focused on five key areas:   

Image
Meet changing patient needs by providing lifesaving products and services

Meet changing patient needs by providing lifesaving products and services 

Meeting changing patient needs by working closely with research scientists and medical professionals in transfusion and transplantation communities to bring innovative and effective products and services from the lab to patients’ bedsides. 

 

Image
uild and deepen relationships with donors of the future

Build and deepen relationships with donors of the future 

Building and deepening relationships with current and potential volunteer donors, reflecting the diversity of the Canadian population, and reviewing eligibility criteria to ensure they are always in support of the safety of the blood supply.    

 

Image
Ensure a secure supply of Canadian plasma for immune globulin

Ensure a secure supply of Canadian plasma for immune globulin 

Ensuring a secure supply of Canadian plasma to lessen our growing dependence on imported immune globulin products made from U.S. plasma, as we work closely with funders and stakeholders to ensure success in increasing plasma sufficiency for the country. 

 

Image
Create an engaging and empowering employee experience

Create an engaging and empowering employee experience 

Creating an engaging and empowering employee experience as part of a team that reflects the diversity of Canadian society, and a workplace culture defined by well-being, respect and inclusion. 

 

Image
Achieve organizational excellence

Achieve organizational excellence 

Achieving organizational excellence through a culture of continuous C improvement that remains focused on customer service, leveraging emerging technology and being effective stewards of the resources that Canadians have entrusted to us, while always prioritizing patient care. 

To learn more about Canadian Blood Services’ five-year plan, access Keeping the Promise now.  

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.   

 

ShareTweetShare

Ad placed in error


Thursday, August 11, 2016

On Aug. 5, a Canadian Blood Services ad appeared on a mobile social network for gay and bisexual men.

We apologize to anyone who may have been offended or hurt by the placement of this ad.

The ad was placed in error as part of a broader digital campaign. We took immediate steps to remove the ad as soon as we were made aware of it. We are taking steps to ensure this does not happen again.

ShareTweetShare

Canadian Blood Services’ CEO Dr. Graham Sher has been named chair of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer


Monday, July 18, 2016

July 18, 2016 (Ottawa) - Canadian Blood Services’ CEO Dr. Graham Sher has been named chair of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. For more information on this exciting announcement, please refer to: The Partnership Thanks Outgoing Chair Chris Power For Her Leadership | Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

ShareTweetShare