Canadian Blood Services notifying some donors in southern Alberta of a privacy incident


Thursday, May 24, 2018

(OTTAWA) – On April 27, a third-party records storage service provider confirmed to Canadian Blood Services that it could not locate two boxes of paper records of donation in its facility. The service provider has conducted searches of its premises, but its efforts to locate the missing boxes have been unsuccessful. Canadian Blood Services has no indication of any unauthorized access or misuse of the information contained in the missing boxes, and is notifying impacted people as required by law.

The missing boxes contain completed donation records, which are the health screening questionnaires used to assess whether someone can donate. They contain personal health information for 2,652 individuals who made or attempted to make whole blood, plasma or platelet donations at Canadian Blood Services donation events in southern Alberta between June 14 and 19, 2006, and between Sept. 4 and 8, 2008. Canadian Blood Services believes it is likely that these records are still located within the storage facility and, given the circumstance, that it is unlikely that this information would be used for identity theft. Given its commitment to the privacy of donors, Canadian Blood Services is focused on ensuring all proper notifications. 

“We are very sorry that this has happened,” said Dr. Graham Sher, chief executive officer at Canadian Blood Services. “The privacy of our donors is an essential priority. We are notifying the impacted donors as we speak, and have reported the incident to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta and the Government of Alberta.”

Until July 2016, records of donation were completed on paper forms. Since then, the information used for health screening for donations has been collected and stored electronically. The digitization of our process has significantly reduced the risk of this type of incident occurring, and safeguards are in place to ensure the protection of information gathered through the donation process.

“Despite the fact that this incident is contained to a limited number of donors in southern Alberta, we feel it is important to acknowledge this incident nationally, given our steadfast commitment to transparency and accountability,” added Dr. Sher. “Since Canadian Blood Services began operations almost twenty years ago, we have worked tirelessly to rebuild the trust and confidence of Canadians in the national blood system, and have deliberately chosen to manage this incident in a transparent manner that is reflective of this dedication.”

It is important to note that this incident is not related to patient care, which remains Canadian Blood Services’ top priority. Those with questions can contact 1-866-236-6283 or feedback@blood.ca for more information, or visit our FAQ page.

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