An Act respecting a National Blood Donor Week

This bill was last introduced in the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in September 2008.

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

February 14th, 2008 / 1:55 p.m.
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Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:

Rideau Hall

Ottawa

February 14, 2008

Mr. Speaker,

I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bills listed in the Schedule to this letter on the 14th day of February, 2008, at 9:42 a.m.

Yours sincerely,

Sheila-Marie Cook

Secretary to the Governor General and Herald Chancellor

The schedule indicates the bills assented to were Bills C-11, An Act to give effect to the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement and to make a consequential amendment to another Act—Chapter 2; C-3, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (certificate and special advocate) and to make a consequential amendment to another Act—Chapter 3; and S-220, An Act respecting a National Blood Donor Week—Chapter 4.

National Blood Donor Week Act
Private Members' Business

February 12th, 2008 / 5:50 p.m.
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NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I too want to thank the member for the work and effort that has gone in to bringing forward Bill S-220, an act that proposes the designation of the week in which June 14 occurs be national blood donor week.

It is interesting that 192 other countries around the world, members of the World Health Organization, have already declared the week of June 14 as National Blood Donor Week. It makes sense that Canada, as a country that prides itself on our health care system and that and wants people to be treated quickly, efficiently and to the best of our ability, would follow the lead of those 192 WHO countries.

There is a need for greater awareness in the public in regard to the importance of blood donation and, of course, organ donation as well. The statistics in regard to blood donation in Canada are very telling. Fifty-two per cent of Canadians have required blood or blood products for themselves or a family member and yet the donation rate is still hovering at around only 4% of eligible donors.

More than 20,000 blood donor clinics are held every year, with a total of 1.1 million units of blood collected annually, but those clinics still see only 4% of eligible donors. Clearly, there is a need to raise awareness among Canadians because a plentiful supply of blood is an important factor in answering the health needs of Canadians.

Availability also plays a significant role in keeping wait times down, since blood is required for many treatments, including transplants. A liver transplant needs up to 100 units; other organs about 10 units; auto accidents up to 50 units; coronary bypass surgery, one to five units; and cancer, up to eight units every week. The number of these treatments has been increasing steadily and, therefore, the demand for blood is also increasing.

We need to have an effective response to that need. We are obliged to provide a reminder to people about the importance of donating blood and organs so it becomes part of the mindset of all those eligible donors. We often hear the news reports and ads on the radio about the need for blood. On long weekends during the nice weather, more blood is needed because more people are on the road and there are more accidents.

There is a small surge of people who donate blood because the ads on the radio have reminded them that they may be required to help. They go in and donate blood but they do not make it part of their annual routine, and that is what really needs to happen.

Another part of this bill deals with bone marrow donation. Bone marrow is considered part of blood donation. It is not that people actually give bone marrow but they do sign up. The truth is that we have major challenges around bone marrow transplants because the registry needs to be quite significant in order to support a very mixed Canadian population. Because of our diversity, people often have not been able to find a bone marrow match and these people die, which is a tragedy.

This legislation would allow a much bigger registry. It does not mean that all those people would donate bone marrow, because that is a very serious decision, but at least there would be more people to ask.

In addition to the encouragement for blood, bone marrow and organ donation is the need to ensure that transfusions and donations are safe. We must always think of the safety of the recipient of a blood or organ transplant, and must never risk either health or safety. Strict screening practices must be in place that secure the safety of the blood and tissue supply.

This, of course, brings me to what Canadians have a right to expect from their institutions when it comes to secure, responsive blood and tissue supplies and a secure, responsive health care system, a system for everyone. There must be more doctors and nurses and more training spaces for health care providers to expand the pool of skilled professionals able to provide those services.

In addition to a reliable blood supply, we need to control drug costs by phasing in a national prescription drug strategy to help families afford the medications they need and phase out the evergreening of patent drugs so that cheaper generics are available sooner, saving money for patients, hospitals and provinces. We need to stop privatization and forge a new deal with provinces that links reliable federal health transfers to commitments that such funding will not subsidize for profit health care.

A secure blood supply, like our efforts to promote real dignity for seniors, is part of a strong medicare system. Free dental care and drug coverage for everyone over 65, expansion of long term care options for the thousands of seniors and families waiting for such care, as well as shorter wait times, are part of what we want to put in place in Canada.

The policies I have referred to today are among the kinds of changes New Democrats wish to see, changes that get results for ordinary people, those needing donated blood and bone marrow, seniors, young families.

Declaring the week of June 14 as national blood donor week is incredibly important, but only if action around awareness comes with it. We have to get more of that information out to Canadians, at least to younger people. We need blood donation to become part of their routine activities to ensure long term supply.

I wish to extend my gratitude to the member who brought forward Bill S-220. I am pleased to stand and support all my colleagues in having the week of June 14 declared national blood donor week.

National Blood Donor Week Act
Private Members' Business

February 12th, 2008 / 5:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak in the House to Bill S-220, An Act respecting a National Blood Donor Week. It also is an honour to announce my support for designating the second week of June as national blood donor week.

It is easy to say that Canadians are lucky to have access to some of the safest blood in the world. Instead, I would like to acknowledge that it is not luck but the kindness and generosity of a network of dedicated blood donors and volunteers who help to make this possible.

A blood system is nothing without these generous individuals. It is the people whom we rely on when the times get really tough. As such, it is important to celebrate and honour all blood donors and other volunteers who make the system work by creating national blood donor week.

The second week in June is significant, not just because it marks the launch of summertime in Canada when blood donations traditionally decline, but because it also marks the World Health Organization's World Blood Donor Day on June 14. Canada can join other nations and millions of people and organizations around the world to celebrate blood donors, raise awareness of the need for a safe supply of blood and increase voluntary blood donations around the world by declaring the second week of June national blood donor week.

One significant reason Canada's blood supply is safe, and all the more reason to celebrate by creating national blood donor week is that it is 100% donor supplied. According to the World Health Organization, less than 50% of blood collected in developing countries comes from voluntary donations. Instead, the majority comes from paid donors or obligatory blood replacement from the family members of transfusion patients.

The Pan American Health Organization recognizes that voluntarily donated blood is significantly safer than blood donated for payment or replacement. According to this organization, blood for payment or replacement is 40 times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C and 175 times more likely to be infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The celebration of Canada's blood donors, coordinated with World Blood Donor Day, sets a positive example worldwide. Many countries in the Americas where just 30% of their blood is voluntarily donated, look in awe to Canada wondering how we can do it. The simple answer is the kindness and generosity of our volunteers. That is all the more reason why I support the designation of the second week in June as national blood donor week.

Acknowledging and thanking Canada's blood donors via a national blood donor week will serve as an example of best practices to nations around the world who want and need their own safe blood systems. However, it will also keep our system going. The Government of Canada serves its citizens, including those close to each of us whom we love and cherish dearly, by encouraging the existing donors to keep rolling up their sleeves and prospective donors to start.

Declaring a national blood donor week says to the people of Canada that this is important. The one small act of donating blood, the snippet of time, makes a huge difference in each of our lives.

As good as our system is, a national blood donor week would help it get even better. Although one unit of blood can potentially save three patients, the average patient needs 4.6 units for treatment. Existing rates of blood donations at less than 4% falls short of what Canadian patients need. At least 5% of Canadians need to donate in order to satisfy the existing demand.

Furthermore, in all likelihood our aging population and national commitment to improved access to surgeries will mean an increased need for blood. An increased need for blood means an increased need for blood donors. The creation of a national blood donor week will help to achieve that goal by telling Canadians that donating blood is a safe thing to do and the right thing to do.

I ask all my colleagues to show their appreciation for Canada's blood donors by voting in favour of Bill S-220.

National Blood Donor Week Act
Private Members' Business

February 12th, 2008 / 5:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Newton—North Delta, BC

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to speak to Bill S-220. The bill supports the ongoing efforts of Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Quebec to recruit blood donors and volunteers to give the precious gift of life: blood.

I would first like to thank my colleague, the senator for Northend Halifax for his leadership in this matter. I would also like to acknowledge the leadership role played by the member of Parliament for Mississauga—Brampton South for all the good work he has done on the bill.

A majority of Canadians will need blood or blood products during their lifetime. Giving blood saves lives. In fact, every donation can directly save up to three lives. Blood is a bond that unites us all irrespective of our socio-economic status or our religious denomination.

Our blood supply is open to one and all. Any Canadian can use our blood in hospitals. There is no requirement. It is a representation of our Canadian values: equality for all.

We all share the blood. That blood is available because of the generous contribution made by hundreds of thousands of volunteers across Canada. These volunteers are not paid. Their giving is an act of genuine altruism. They are everyday heroes.

I can give an example from my local community. In Newton—North Delta, the Sikh nation has organized a donation drive in memory of the 1984 pogrom of Sikhs in New Delhi. They adopted the first week of November and they do these drives to raise blood. They have raised record amounts of blood in Surrey. From there, the movement is active across Canada and in other countries. Having a national blood donor week will encourage many Canadians to participate during that week and give blood.

When we look at the Sikh nation's example, countless more private companies, non-profit and government groups organize drives to give blood in our places of work and play. These initiatives show the importance of giving blood in an immediate and personal way.

People often do not appreciate how important the blood supply is. Less than 4% of eligible Canadians give blood. This hit home with me when my father went to the Surrey Memorial Hospital last month. Because of his condition, he needed blood, and because of countless donors, he was able to get it right away. Thanks to all those volunteers who have done a tremendous favour to Canadians who need blood. In mentioning Surrey Memorial Hospital, I would also like to thank all the nurses and the doctors who paid attention to my father and took the best care of him.

Many of my constituents, such as Duncan Robinson whom I ran into over the weekend, are passionate about this issue. Through his leadership and his innovative ideas, we will be able to further improve our blood supply.

It is very important for all Canadians to have the same access to blood as my father had to the blood he needed, access that is swift and that does not depend on who we are or who we know. To ensure this access and to ensure an adequate blood supply, we must encourage Canadians to give blood.

Passing the bill and establishing a national blood donor week is an important way to support this process and thus we will build awareness of the importance of giving blood, reinforce the fact that giving is completely safe, help build blood supplies during peak periods and celebrate the contribution of boundless volunteers and donors.

Each and every Canadian has the power to make a difference and the power to save a life. I believe that everyone has the will to do this act of good but this act must be encouraged. Bill S-220 would go a long way toward encouraging that behaviour. People need to be recognized and their contributions need to be celebrated. There is no better way to do this than through a national blood donor week.

I personally congratulate all the volunteers who have given blood in the past and encourage everyone to carry out that tradition.

I hope all my colleagues will support this measure to make history in this way so that whenever any Canadian needs blood it is available.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill S-220, An Act respecting a National Blood Donor Week, as reported (without amendment) from the committee.

Business of the House
Government Orders

February 12th, 2008 / 5:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There have been discussions among the parties and I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

That notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of this House, during consideration of Bill S-220, An Act respecting a National Blood Donor Week, a member, other than the member for Mississauga--Brampton South, may move the motions for concurrence at report stage and third reading.

Health
Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

January 30th, 2008 / 3:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Health. The committee has studied Bill S-220, An Act respecting a National Blood Donor Week, and has agreed to report it to the House without amendment.

January 29th, 2008 / 11:05 a.m.
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Conservative

The Chair Joy Smith

Thank you, Mr. Bains, for your comments, and thank you for the work you've put into Bill S-220.

Are there any questions or comments before proceeding to clause-by-clause?

If not, then pursuant to Standing Order 75(1), consideration of the preamble and clause 1 is postponed. We will call for clause 2.

(Clause 2 agreed to)

January 29th, 2008 / 11:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Navdeep Bains Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Thank you very much, Chair. I appreciate the opportunity to come before committee.

I think you've had the opportunity to read Bill S-220, An Act respecting a National Blood Donor Week. This bill designates the week in which June 14 occurs in each and every year as national blood donor week. There are numerous benefits to passing this legislation. It has a tremendous amount of support in the House and from other organizations and Canadians who have written to me about this.

First and foremost, the purpose of this bill is to create an awareness of the importance of blood donation within Canadian society. I think it also helps reinforce that blood donation is completely safe, that people should not be concerned about giving blood, and that we have a very safe system.

We are fortunate, as a nation, but there could be circumstances where a crisis could occur and we'd need to build up some additional blood supply for peak demand periods.

It's also very important to celebrate the contribution of various blood donors and volunteers in each and every community.

The purpose is fairly straightforward. It's a very concise bill. If you have any questions, I'd be more than glad to answer them now. Otherwise, I think we can proceed to clause-by-clause.

January 29th, 2008 / 11:05 a.m.
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Conservative

The Chair Joy Smith

I will call the meeting to order, please.

Welcome, everybody. I hope you had a nice break. It's nice to see everybody back and ready to start, and to catch up on all the news.

We have a fairly concise agenda. Pursuant to the order of reference on Wednesday, December 5, 2007, the committee will now proceed with the study of Bill S-220, An Act respecting a National Blood Donor Week.

I want to welcome Hon. Navdeep Bains, the sponsor of the bill. Mr. Bains has put a lot of thought into Bill S-220.

We will be going through the clause-by-clause motions of this bill today.

Mr. Bains, I welcome you to add your comments to the committee.

National Blood Donor Week Act
Routine Proceedings

December 5th, 2007 / 3:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Navdeep Bains Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

moved that Bill S-220, An Act respecting a National Blood Donor Week, be read the first time.

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to reintroduce and once again sponsor Bill S-220, An Act respecting a National Blood Donor Week. When I introduced the bill in the previous Parliament, all parties joined me in supporting this worthy initiative.

Canada relies on voluntary donors to provide blood and blood products required to treat patients in a variety of situations. Blood donors save lives every day, yet, sadly, there are not enough to meet the needs of our health care system. The purpose of the bill is to recognize and encourage blood donors who choose to share the gift of life with their fellow Canadians. I trust all parties will continue to support this valuable initiative.

Therefore, pursuant to Standing Order 86.2, I wish to inform the Speaker that the bill is in the same form as Bill S-214, which was before the House in the first session and I ask that the bill be reinstated.

(Motion agreed to and bill read the first time)