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Pay for plasma: Canadian Blood Services must say no

CUPE is deeply concerned that the organization in charge of the safety of Canada’s blood system would consider the risky practice of paying donors for plasma.

In a recent media report, Canadian Blood Services CEO Graham Sher did not rule out paying donors for their plasma.

CBS was established in the aftermath of the largest public health disaster in Canada – the tainted blood scandal. The organization has a critical responsibility to manage our national blood and blood products system.

CUPE supports CBS collecting more plasma to improve our self-sufficiency in Canada. But we oppose any move to commercialize and privatize Canada’s blood supply.

Paying donors goes against the recommendations of the Krever Inquiry into tainted blood and is contrary to the World Health Organization’s goal of  100 per cent voluntary blood donations by 2020.

CUPE and our BC health services division the Hospital Employees’ Union represent about 500 CBS workers in New Brunswick, Alberta and British Columbia.

CBS needs to ensure Canadians have confidence and trust in our national blood system. This must include a stable workforce that can meet the needs of a national system. But CBS has been reducing workers’ hours at collection sites, and has plans for an automated donor registration system, which could mean layoffs across the country.

CBS also recently closed a plasma collection centre in Thunder Bay because “there was too much plasma.” This year CBS supported the opening of a pay-for-plasma clinic in Saskatchewan

CUPE calls on Canadian Blood Services to state unequivocally that it will not pay donors for blood or other blood products. CUPE also urges Canadian Blood Services to improve its workplace relations and policies to ensure a stable workforce that can meet the needs of our national collection system of blood and blood products.

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