Stepping up plasma collection to better meet Canada’s plasma needs

Plasma icon


Plasma is the straw-coloured, protein-rich liquid in blood that helps other blood components circulate throughout the body.  

Some donated plasma is transfused directly to patients, but most is required as the source material for a variety of treatments. 

Globally, the demand for medicines made from plasma proteins has been rising quickly. Usage of immunoglobulins — a main category of plasma protein and related products — has more than doubled internationally over the past 10 years. 

Currently, we only collect a small percentage of the source plasma required to meet immunoglobulin demand in Canada. To meet patients’ needs, we rely heavily on purchasing finished products from the global market which uses plasma collected primarily from the United States.  

Three new donor centres collecting plasma opening in 2022 

In addition to the dedicated plasma donor centres we have already opened in Sudbury, Ont., Kelowna, B.C., and Lethbridge, Alta., two more donor centres dedicated to plasma donations will open next year in the Ontario cities of Ottawa and Brampton. 

We are excited to share that our plasma centre in Ottawa will be located at 110 Place d'Orléans Drive at the Place d'Orléans shopping centre, while the Brampton site will be located at 8255 Financial Drive. 

We are also pleased to announce the opening of a new donor centre in Scarborough, Ont.  The donor center will be located at 880 Warden Avenue (intersection of Eglinton Ave. E. and Warden Ave.) and offer donors the opportunity to donate plasma, whole blood and platelets. 

Expanding plasma eligibility for gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men 

In Calgary, Alta., and London, Ont., men who have sex with men are now eligible to donate source plasma if they have not had a new sexual partner, and if their partner has not had sex with another partner, in the last three months. 

Their donation will be released after the donor makes another donation 60 days later and has a second negative test result for transfusion-transmissible diseases. This hold is a requirement from Health Canada, our regulator, and the companies that manufacture specialized medications from plasma, called fractionators.  

Travelling south this winter? You can still donate plasma! 

Donors who have travelled to the continental U.S., Europe and Antarctica must wait 14 days after they return home before donating plasma. All other countries will require a 21 day wait.  

Visiting different regions of the world can put you at greater risk of exposure to diseases.  Even if you take precautions when travelling to areas that have a high risk of certain infections carried by insects, animals or people, you can still catch something and not realize it.  To protect recipients, our screening process includes checking for time spent in these areas.  

History of malaria or traveling to a malaria-risk area? You can donate plasma! 

Donors who travel to a malaria-risk area or who have history of malaria may be permanently or temporarily ineligible to donate blood. The eligibility requirements are different for plasma donations. Donors are not deferred after travel to malaria risk destinations. This is because the source plasma is manufactured into specialized medicines that help patients with conditions such as immunodeficiencies and bleeding disorders. In the manufacturing process for these medications, pathogens in the plasma are eliminated.  

Learn more about travel deferral.