Let us reassure you, the Canadian blood system is safe

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

At Canadian Blood Services, safety is and always will be our top priority. When our record on safety is challenged, as it was in a union-sponsored newspaper ad and YouTube video, we have an obligation to respond. Let us reassure you, the Canadian blood system is safe.

While Canadian Blood Services did not exist during the tainted blood tragedy, we learned valuable lessons from this history that guide our decision-making. Canada’s blood system is vastly different than it was during the 1980s and 90s and is now one of the safest in the world.

Today, we operate in an open and transparent manner by consulting with the public and stakeholders (medical professionals, patient groups and international partners) to help us make evidence-based decisions and ensure that patient needs come first. We have rigorous screening and tracking systems, and use state-of-the-art technology to test and process blood products. As a result of the dedication of our employees, volunteers, donors, stakeholders and other partners, we have maintained the trust and confidence of Canadians in their blood system. We also strive to provide better value by delivering safe, high-quality products and services.

The timing of today’s advertisement coincides with active labour negotiations between the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and Canadian Blood Services. We are continuing to negotiate with OPSEU and hope to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement. Since we are in negotiations, we are not able to speak to the details of a potential agreement; however, our goal remains to maintain the safety and reliability of Canada’s blood system.

Should a labour disruption occur, the inventory of blood products will decrease and patients across Canada will be affected. However, as responsible stewards of the blood system, we have built contingency plans to meet the needs of Canadian patients to the greatest extent possible. Having these plans in place, is a part of our ongoing commitment to manage a safe and secure blood system.