Ontario’s new bill preventing privatization of the province’s blood collection is an important protection for the future says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).
Bill 21, the Safeguarding Health Care Integrity Act, was passed unanimously by all parties on Wednesday, December 10.
"The Ontario government and opposition parties must be commended for their support of this important new bill, which will prevent private plasma clinics from undermining Ontario’s volunteer blood donor system. Creating risk to our blood supply is unacceptable. There’s no good reason to create private profit at the expense of public safety,” said OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
The passing of Bill 21 is a testament to the work of Justice Horace Krever, who held 247 days of public hearings and filed 50,000 pages of submissions and 100,000 pages of exhibits in the 1990s. The “Krever Inquiry” revealed that more than 2000 Canadians contracted HIV between 1980 and 1985 due to tainted blood and blood products. A further 30,000 Canadians were infected with Hepatitis C between 1980 and 1990.
OPSEU is urging Canadian Blood Services (CBS) to begin rebuilding its volunteer collection infrastructure to ensure a safe and sustainable blood supply now and into the future.
CBS has been downsizing their volunteer collections system in recent years. This has lead to Ontario’s lowest hospital blood inventory in six years.
OPSEU is proud to have sponsored the recent reading tour “Tainted,” Kat Lanteigne’s play, which tells the story of Canada’s biggest public health disaster through the eyes of a fictional working class family with three hemophiliac sons. The play travelled across the province in the weeks leading up to the passing of Bill 21.