Protesters gathered in front of a paid-plasma clinic in Moncton, New Brunswick on May 30, 2017.

Protesters gathered in front of a paid-plasma clinic in Moncton, New Brunswick on May 30, 2017.
Photo Credit: Maggie McDonald

Close for-profit blood clinics, urge advocates


In 1997, an inquiry into a catastrophic tainted blood crisis concluded that people should not be paid for blood donations, yet the Canadian government is about to approve the opening of a third, private, for-profit clinic. The Canadian Health Coalition says it has obtained documents that show officials of the government’s own health department helped a private company set up its commercial activities and “were supporting the lobbyists in a public relations strategy.”

‘A massive breach of public trust’

“The reason why they (the documents) are so incendiary is because Health Canada, as the regulator of the blood system, is only meant to keep the actual blood system itself safe and the products safe. They are not supposed to be working with another blood operator in the country to undermine Canadian Blood Services,” says Kat Lanteigne, executive director of BloodWatch which is part of the coalition.

“So, it’s a huge breach of public health protocol and a massive breach of public trust.”

After thousands of Canadians got hepatitis C and HIV from tainted blood in the 1980s, the Krever inquiry recommended and end to paid blood donations.
After thousands of Canadians got hepatitis C and HIV from tainted blood in the 1980s, the Krever inquiry recommended and end to paid blood donations. © Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press/Nov.29, 2012 file photo

Tainted blood killed 8,000 Canadians

Canadian Blood Services is a public agency that was created after thousands of Canadians contracted illnesses from receiving contaminated blood. About 30,000 people contracted hepatitis C, 2,000 were infected with HIV and 8,000 people died.

The agency does not pay for blood donations although it does pay for three-quarters of the plasma that is needed to make medications and that it buys from the United States.

Canadian Blood Services is trying to increase the number of donations so it can become self-sufficient. But Lanteigne says where there are paid donors, volunteer donations decrease and that undermines the public blood system.

Not enough Canadians donate blood to meet the need.
Not enough Canadians donate blood to meet the need. © Waubgeshig Rice/CBC

Paid donations said to be unhealthy for donors and recipients

She also says paying for donations creates an unhealthy environment for the donors and possibly, for those who use blood and blood products: “In the economic crisis that is happening in the world but also in the United States, there’s literally line-ups of people who are…going in there and selling their plasma twice a week just to make ends meet…It is a known fact that when you pay people to sell their human tissue they tend to get desperate and not tell the truth on their donor forms in order to get the money.”

Lanteigne says people may not admit they are ill and that while we we have the technology to screen for the blood-borne viruses that we have today, “you never know what new virus could come into the blood system so it’s really important to be as risk-averse as possible when you are collecting blood and plasma.”

Some provinces already ban private sales

Survivors, their families and people who used medications made from plasma make up BloodWatch. They have joined with the Canadian Health Coalition, made up of nurses’ unions, other unions, church groups and other health advocates to ask the government to rescind the licences of paid blood donor clinics, to apologize to the tainted blood community, to create a special day to raise awareness about the tainted blood scandal annually and to pass a law banning the private sale of plasma and blood. The provinces of Alberta, Ontario and Quebec have already passed such laws.

Categories: Health, Society
Tags: , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.