While Alberta's health care workers were walking off the job last week, striking in protest of the government's impending layoffs and cuts to our health care system, our legislative assembly was discussing Bill 204: the Voluntary Blood Donations Repeal Act. It is now expected to return to the House on November 9 or 16 for Third Reading, so this may be our last chance to stand up for our vital public, voluntary blood system.
This mere 3-page Bill aims only to repeal Bill 3: the Voluntary Blood Donations Act (2017), which was put into place to protect and enshrine blood and plasma as public resources under law. MLA Tany Yao purports that Bill 204's intended objective is to increase our supply of plasma, but in fact, corporatizing such an essential part of our health care system will only put our supply chain at risk by introducing unnecessary commercial competition to our public system, with no guarantee to Albertans that the blood and plasma collected by these companies will stay in the province or country. Now, in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, Alberta could begin allowing corporate blood brokers to profit from the sale of our plasma on the international market.
During his presentation on Bill 204, Canadian Blood Services CEO Dr. Graham Sher warned against the threat it poses to Canada's voluntary collection system, saying:
“It is our role to provide advice as the national blood authority, on the impacts of changes to legislation. In this context, then, we are not neutral on the repeal of the Voluntary Blood Donations Act. Without the dialogue and the resolution we’ve been calling for, I cannot definitively say that repealing this legislation will not harm the voluntary collection system that governments have invested in for decades. I can say, however, that commercial plasma collection without controls will not address domestic security of supply.“
Friends of Medicare is calling on our members and supporters to take action in support of our public, voluntary blood system. Rather than allowing corporate brokers to profit from export of Albertans' blood products, we must instead support Canadian Blood Services' ongoing strategy to increase unpaid plasma clinics and move towards self-sufficiency in our domestic plasma supply.
► Have you received an email response from Tany Yao? Read FOM's fact checker!
Stand up for our public, voluntary blood system! Here's how:
1. Contact MLA Tany Yao
Call and email MLA Yao, and let him know in no uncertain terms that you do not support his bill and that he must not corporatize our public blood system!
Email: [email protected]
2. Contact your MLA
Your MLA is your representative — make sure they know exactly what impact Bill 204 will have on you and your family if they allow private blood brokers to introduce competition into our public blood system. Tell them that Albertans' blood is NOT for international sale! Flood their lines, flood their emails, and make your voice heard!
3. Contact the Health Minister
Let Minister Shandro know that our blood and plasma are vital medical necessities and essential public resources that must not be allowed to be sold off!
E-mail: [email protected]
4. Spread the word!
Share this call to action! Tweet and post about Bill 204 on your social media! Encourage your networks to join you in standing up for our public health care system, and saying #NoPaidPlasma. Tag the Health Minister, MLA Tany Yao and your MLA. Follow FOM and share our posts.
5. Join Friends of Medicare
Become a member and help us to continue our work to protect public, voluntary blood donations in Alberta! Your support is vital in our fight for an equitable public health care system for ALL Albertans—one based on need, not the ability to pay.