OPSEU/SEFPO and BloodWatch.org call for investigation into undisclosed paid plasma agreement


Toronto – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/SEFPO) and BloodWatch.org are calling on the provincial government to investigate the terms of an undisclosed agreement between Canadian Blood Services (CBS) and the multi-national pharmaceutical giant Grifols. Their call is supported by MPP France Gélinas, the NDP health critic.  

The agreement could violate the Voluntary Blood Donations Act in Ontario, granting Grifols a monopoly on paid plasma collection and designating the private company as a third-party collector. Through this agreement, CBS has essentially created a two-tier system for plasma collection in Ontario and sold market access to Canada’s donor base to a foreign-owned company, abandoning their duty to the Canadian public.  

“Premier Ford and Minister Jones need to answer these increasing calls for transparency and accountability,” says JP Hornick, President of OPSEU/SEFPO. “Each year, CBS – a registered charity – receives millions of dollars in public funding to collect blood and plasma in Ontario. Yet, the terms of this deal with a private, for-profit corporation are not public – and they must be.” 

If allowed, the secretive 15-year agreement would mark the first time that donors would be paid for their plasma in a for-profit collection scheme in Ontario. A privatized paid plasma scheme violates the Voluntary Blood Donations Act; it also contravenes recommendations from the Krever Commission and international guidelines for plasma collection. It would also negatively affect voluntary collection efforts and exploit vulnerable populations.  

“We must remember the Canadians who got sick or died during the tainted blood crisis and the recommendations of the Krever Commission,” says MPP Gélinas. “The Ontario Minister of Health is currently the lead supervisor of Canadian Blood Services. She has a duty to protect Ontarians from exploitation by shutting down this deal. For profit plasma collection puts the stability of our voluntary blood system at risk. Minister Jones and Premier Ford should act now, before it’s too late.”  

The organizations argue that a shift toward paid plasma collection is not only a betrayal of the public trust but an ethical violation of CBS’s duty to safeguard the blood system and voluntary donor base.  

“Our supply chain is in the veins of human beings, who deserve to be protected and cared for by our public blood operator,” says Kat Lanteigne, Executive Director and Co-Founder of BloodWatch.org. We cannot permit the CEO of Canada’s national human tissue collection bank, who also overseas stems cells and organs, to use public funds to promote a blood market.” 

OPSEU/SEFPO and its allies call on the government to: 

  • Use their statutory powers under the Act to investigate the nature of this agreement and make the terms public 
  • Issue an order for CBS to comply with the terms of the Voluntary Blood Donations Act; and  
  • Remove CBS CEO Graham Sher for his failure of leadership in the public interest 

About the organizations 

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/SEFPO) represents approximately 180,000 members across Ontario, including approximately 1,000 staff at CBS. BloodWatch.org is a not-for-profit organization advocating for a safe, voluntary, public blood system in Canada.