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April 28th, 2022

NDP statement on the removal of the blood ban

The NDP Critic and Deputy Critic for 2SLGBTQI+ Rights, Randall Garrison and Blake Desjarlais, made the following joint statement:

“The news today that, after years of delay, the government is finally allowing men who have sex with men to donate blood is a long-overdue victory for men who have sex with men, community members and allies who have worked tirelessly for years to push the government to act.

Allowing gay men, men who have sex with men and trans women 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. This isn’t just about helping end discrimination, blood donations are crucial to keep Canadians alive.

The NDP first presented a motion to lift the blood ban back in 2014. And for the last eight years, we have been relentless in our calls on the government to remove this barrier to greater equality. But the federal government repeatedly refused to remove this discriminatory ban despite considerable proof that their policy was harmful and not evidence-based.

Finally, today Canada takes a major step toward joining more than 17 nations who have no deferral period for blood donations, including Italy, Spain, and Argentina. These countries and many others have concluded that behaviour-based screening provides better security for the blood supply than identity-based rules. We are encouraged to see that the Liberals have finally agreed to this as well. We trust there will be no further delay in approving the application from Hema Quebec to make the same change.

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. We remain concerned about any arbitrary, non-science based exclusions under the new policy and will join community advocates in working to have those exclusions lifted.

Today, New Democrats are celebrating this important step forward with Canadians.”