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OPSEU applauds for campaign to block paid-donor blood clinics

Ottawa – The president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union has thrown his support behind, a lobby group fighting to ban for-profit paid-donor blood clinics in every province.

“If there is one lesson Canadians learned from the Krever inquiry on tainted blood scandal from the 1990s, it’s that blood must not be bought and sold – it is a public resource,” Warren (Smokey) Thomas said. “ deserves the support of all Canadians who believe in a not-for-profit, public blood collection system.”

The group, made up of tainted blood survivors and allies, is calling on Health Canada to withdraw its permit for a private paid-donor blood clinic in Saskatoon. The group also wants Ottawa to pass legislation to outlaw such clinics across Canada.

Members of lobbied Senators and MPs on Parliament Hill Monday.

Sean Allen, chair of the OPSEU division that represents more than 3,000 workers at Canadian Blood Services (CBS), said Health Canada is acting recklessly by opening up the blood supply system to profit-seekers.

“The current system in place meets 100 per cent of Canada’s plasma needs,” said Allen. “Four per cent of Canadians regularly donate their blood; why does the federal government want to create a two-tier collection system when the demand doesn’t exist?

“I fear where this is heading,” he said. “Private, for-profit clinics could jeopardize the safety of the blood system by repeating the tragedy of the 1980s when thousands lost their lives through blood contaminated with HIV and Hepatitis C.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931