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Shorter blood ban still discriminatory; behaviour-based survey needed

May 10, 2019 - 12:00 AM

TORONTO– Unifor calls for a complete end to the blood ban and a shift to a behaviour-based blood donation survey in Canada.

This week Health Canada announced the one-year deferral period for men who have sex with men and trans women from donating blood will be reduced to 3 months.

“A ban is a ban. Canada faces a chronic shortage of blood and organ donation, but still turns away donors based on sexual orientation,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “We need blood donation policies that ensure a safe supply without reinforcing discrimination.”

Unifor has engaged in a campaign to call on Canadian Blood Services (CBS) and Héma-Quebec to end discrimination against men who have sex with men and trans women. The union asserts that CBS and Héma-Quebec should ask all donors the same questions, and those questions should be based on specific high-risk sexual behaviours, not who you love or what your gender identity is.

“Unifor echoes the calls of generations of queer and trans activists who have fought the homophobic and transphobic blood donation policies of CBS and Héma-Quebec,” said Renaud Gagné, Unifor Quebec Director. “While this shift brings us closer to an end to the ban, we encourage Health Canada to finally make the shift to a behaviour-based survey for all potential donors.”

Unifor members voted to adopt a campaign to End the Blood Ban at the union’s Canadian Council in August 2017. Since then, the union has collected thousands of signatures and educated members across the country about the discriminatory blood ban.

For further information, contact Sarah McCue, Unifor National Communications Representative at 416-458-3307 (cell) or sarah.mccue@unifor.org.