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November 16th, 2021

Liberals are still dragging their feet on lifting the blood ban

NDP Critic for 2SLGBTQI+ Rights Randall Garrison made the following statement:

“Canadians have been waiting a long time for the discriminatory ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men to be removed. The Liberal government has campaigned and fundraised on this promise but still, Canadians are waiting for the ban to be lifted.

Allowing gay men to donate blood is a crucial step in increasing the blood supply at a time of ongoing shortages as well as ending homophobic and transphobic policies. Countries like Italy took this step 20 years ago; the Trudeau government has been dragging it’s feet for far too long. I first presented a motion to lift the blood ban on men who have sex with men back in 2014. Canadians should not be kept waiting any longer.

The news today that Canadian Blood Services (CBS) is planning to change the policy is welcomed, of course. But we want to see it actually put into practice. It shouldn’t take the government more than 90 days to implement this change since that’s how long it took the House of Commons to approve the CBS pilot program to screen donors on behaviour-based criteria for plasma donations in Calgary and London.

Advocates against this discriminatory policy have been working to lift the ban for years. They should be congratulated for their ongoing, effective advocacy and tireless effort. Without them, the government would not be moving this important change forward. New Democrats stand with them and we will always speak out against government policies that perpetuate homophobia and transphobia.”