National Blood Donor Week Act

An Act respecting a National Blood Donor Week

This bill was last introduced in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in October 2007.


Not active, as of June 8, 2007
(This bill did not become law.)


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.

National Blood Donor Week ActRoutine Proceedings

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

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill S-214, An Act respecting a National Blood Donor Week, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Suspension of Certain Standing Orders--Bill C-52Business of the HousePrivate Members' Business

June 8th, 2007 / 2:30 p.m.
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Jay Hill Conservative Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, that was quite a spiel. I guess one might call that a tawdry spiel.

I could go on for 10 minutes, as other colleagues have, on this particular use of Standing Order 53, but I will not, because if I do, then other people, I am sure, will want to add their words of wisdom on the appropriateness, urgency, et cetera, of the use of this standing order. I could certainly defend what I believe is its urgent nature, but I will not.

What I will do instead, Mr. Speaker, given the hour, is ask you to seek unanimous consent of the chamber to put your question now and do the head count that is necessary. Secondly, Mr. Speaker, I believe that immediately thereafter if you sought it you would find unanimous consent to return to Bill S-214, which was being debated when I interrupted the proceedings with my point of order. If you seek it, I think you would find unanimous consent to pass it at second reading.

National Blood Donor Week ActPrivate Members' Business

June 8th, 2007 / 1:45 p.m.
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Dick Harris Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to voice my support for Bill S-214, declaring the second week in June to be national blood donor week. This simple act would not only provide Canada with a dedicated week to celebrate the generosity of donors and the needs that they respond to, but it will also help people gain a greater understanding of just what blood donation is all about.

I recently found out a few interesting things about blood and blood donation that I would like to share with my colleagues. It certainly helped me to understand what the “gift of life”, as we call it, really means and why we need a variety of volunteers to donate on a regular basis. It is really important.

The most important observation I have made is that we cannot leave blood donations up to everyone else. Saying another person will do it simply does not fill the need for blood donations in our needed blood supply in Canada.

I would like to begin by recognizing that blood donation is not simply blood. Each donation is made up of and broken down into several parts, mainly red blood cells, white cells, platelets and plasma. Patients do not just get blood. They get specific components from specific donations based on their need and blood type. Clearly we need many volunteer blood donors all year round to meet a need that can really only be known for sure on a patient by patient basis.

I would now like to share some information about the blood components I just mentioned. This will help illustrate just why we need all eligible Canadians to step up and roll up their sleeves. I might add that declaring the second week in June to be national blood donor week would go a long way toward getting that message out loud and clear in every part of this country.

I will begin with plasma. Plasma makes up 55% of total blood volume and does many things, such as transporting blood cells and nutrients throughout the body and defending against infection. Plasma is often needed by burn victims or hemophiliacs. Red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets are suspended in blood plasma.

Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. A drop of blood the size of a pinhead, and this is unbelievable, carries about five million red blood cells. It is amazing that these incredible tiny entities can do such a job.

People who have lost a lot of blood through accident or surgery or who have anemia may be given red blood cells. Did everyone know that, once more, we are not all the same? Between 43% to 49% of men's blood is composed of red blood cells while it is 37% to 43% in women.

White blood cells are slightly larger than red and protect the body by moving in to fight infection. If anyone has ever been ill and felt oneself getting better, that is the white blood cells at work. Yesterday I had a sore throat and knew I had a little infection. I could feel those white cells or something working and by doing the research on this speech, I now know what it was. I am going to have a little different view about getting better. It is the cells working in one's body.

Sometimes white blood cells are needed by people with weak immune systems as well. To meet this need, white blood cells can be collected through a process call apheresis, whereby white cells are separated from plasma and removed from the donor. There are 6,000 to 8,000 white blood cells per cubic millilitre of blood. However, it does not end there.

Finally, I want to talk about a component of blood that might be in a way a little more familiar to us as we have all moved through the bumps and scrapes of growing up.

Platelets are a component of blood that contribute to wound healing. When a person cuts a finger, for example, or if a child skins his or her knee, we can see platelets working as part of the healing process. They are even smaller than red and white blood cells. Approximately two tablespoons of platelets come from a single blood donation. Cancer or organ transplant patients may require these platelets.

As we see, a blood donation is not simply a blood donation. It is the generous giving of several parts and maybe it makes sense now how a single donation can be used to help three individuals with entirely different needs.

Declaring the second week in June to be national blood donor week can help to spread our knowledge of the science, so that people can understand how they too are helping to save possibly three people with each donation of blood that they make.

I have just talked about some different components of blood. All healthy blood has those components. That is what makes it the same, but blood is also different from person to person.

We all probably have heard the term blood type at some time in our lives and although we might not know which type we are all of us know that indeed we have a blood type. A member's blood type is probably not the same as that of his or her colleague sitting next to him or her, or any of the pages sitting in Parliament today.

What we may not know is that certain blood types are more common than others and that there is something called a universal donor and a universal recipient.

Blood O type positive is the most prevalent while AB negative is the least. Donor and recipient blood must be compatible, of course, otherwise the recipient may reject the transfused blood component.

The universal recipient is type AB positive. Patients with this type of blood can receive any of the other blood types. Universal donors are type O negative which means their donations can be given to any person in need.

While Canada's blood system obviously needs plenty of O negative donors, we also need a good supply of the other types.

We can see that a single blood donation, just one-half of a litre, and I know my colleagues in the House donate blood on a regular basis and if they do not they should, contains a lot of variety and packs a significant punch. It really is quite incredible.

By declaring the second week in June as national blood donor week we can go a long way toward helping people to better understand on many levels how and why giving blood on a regular basis, a regular donation of their particular blood type, can make a big difference in the lives of their fellow Canadians. It is something that we should do as Canadians.

I did not have to go far to find this little bit of information I shared with members today. This information and more is available on the websites of Héma-Québec and the Canadian Blood Services.

Making volunteer blood donations the focus of a single week each year can draw attention to these websites and educate potential donors not just on the importance of donating but on the wonders of what blood is really about.

In addition to sharing that science, national blood donor week would be an opportunity to answer the questions that may keep Canada's healthy adult population from donating blood on a regular basis. It is a normal human condition to be shy or fearful of something new.

Potential donors could ask their friends and family members, who have donated before, what happens during a blood donation visit. They could make a quick phone call to their nearest blood donor clinic and ask a few questions or they could just drop by and talk to an outreach representative. But many just do not get around to it. That is too bad because Canada's blood supply needs to be sustained.

National blood donor week would be an opportunity to answer many of these questions. People could find out that only adults over the age of 17, for example, can donate blood, but they can do so until at least age 71 and even longer for some people. Potential donors would find out that they need to weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good health and feeling well enough to donate. They would also learn that they can donate every 56 days.

People like to know what will happen when they venture into unknown territory. The same would apply to first time volunteer blood donors. National blood donor week will accomplish this by getting the message of how important blood donations are on a regular basis. I ask all members to support the bill.

National Blood Donor Week ActPrivate Members' Business

June 8th, 2007 / 1:35 p.m.
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Daniel Petit Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased and deeply honoured to have the opportunity to express my gratitude to all the donors who contribute every year to the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of Canadians, through this simple yet generous act of giving blood. What hope would remain for so many sick and injured people, and their loved ones, without these donors? It is time for the House to declare the second week of June “National Blood Donor Week”.

We Canadians are very lucky. Our blood transfusion system is one of the safest in the world. We owe this safety to the efforts made by professionals and volunteers alike and, above all, to the fact that giving blood in Canada is a completely voluntary act. Fewer than 25% of countries can say the same thing.

I have no doubt that Canadians are fully aware that giving blood means giving life, and that they understand the importance of this simple act. That is what they would say if they were asked. But we do not necessarily find ways to express this gratitude and understanding in our daily lives. Like so many good things, giving blood is a simple reality that is often taken for granted.

We need to be aware of how fortunate we are as Canadians. We should not assume that donors know their generosity is appreciated. We cannot take our voluntary donation system or its sustainability for granted. We must continue promoting blood donation as a positive gesture and encourage Canadians who can to roll up their sleeves. That is why Canada, as a nation, must take action, express its appreciation for our blood system and thank the people who run it.

To recognize donors and encourage other people to become donors, the House must adopt Bill S-214. Canada's Parliament must show its support for this country's donors and recipients, as well as for the other levels of government that have made the second week of June national blood donor week. In doing this as a nation, we are joining with cities like Kingston, Ontario, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and Bay Roberts, Newfoundland and Labrador, which declared at different times that the second week of June would be blood donor week.

This week has been celebrated in communities across Canada since 2005, and there is no reason this House should wait any longer before adopting Bill S-214. As I said earlier, Canadians are extremely fortunate, but human nature being what it is, we sometimes take our good fortune for granted. To help raise awareness of just how fortunate we are, I would like to share some thoughts about blood systems in other countries where blood donation is not entirely voluntary.

Imagine a system where blood is bought and sold. That is the sort of system that most people in the world have to deal with. The sad reality is that if people are forced by economic circumstances to sell their blood, they will be far more likely to keep quiet about aspects of their medical history. Canadians are fortunate that people here voluntarily roll up their sleeves to share the gift of life.

Now imagine a system where a family member who receives blood creates an obligation to replace that blood. Many developed countries have this sort of system. If a person needs several transfusions or transfusions for life, that could place a very heavy burden on that person's family.

Canadians are lucky to have volunteer donors and a system that does not have such obligations. To see a family member with a problem requiring a transfusion can prompt a person to donate blood, which is a very generous thing to do.

Some areas of world are trying to implement a system that is completely voluntary and coordinated on a national level. They are making progress, but despite their system and the progress they have made, they still have to rely on paid and mandatory donations.

Even with a donation rate of slightly less than 5%, or the percentage required to meet our needs, our system works, promotes sharing and will never need to resort to paid or mandatory donations. We should celebrate this system and the volunteer donors to whom we owe its existence by designating the second week of June national blood donor week.

People who give blood in Canada, like other volunteers, are motivated by the desire to help their peers. This celebration in honour of those who give blood voluntarily also celebrates Canadian communities. How many Canadians would have to worry about blood if they needed a transfusion in this country? Very few. Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec submit all donations to essential tests. Canadians have trust in this system.

Now imagine a system that combines voluntary, paid and mandatory donations. What would happen to that trust? In my opinion, it would be broken or seriously shaken. Canadians are lucky to be able to trust the volunteer donation system in our country. To strengthen this system of volunteer donations and increase the pool of potential donors, we must pay tribute to these people. Making the second week of June national blood donor week can help us recruit and maintain the number of donors required in Canada.

I will submit another fact for us to consider for a few moments, that is the vastness of our great country, Canada, which extends from one ocean to another, from the 49th parallel to the far north. Although its population and donors are not distributed equally, we are fortunate to have a system that is coordinated nationally so that the blood of volunteer donors in Quebec can be transfused to a patient in Nunavut. Without national coordination of the blood system, the regions of our vast country would be left to their own devices to determine and meet their respective needs and to establish and administer their own safety protocols. Imagine what that would mean for remote areas.

We are fortunate to have a system that can quickly send blood donated in densely populated major centres to rural and remote areas. The scope and the impact of Canadian blood donations extend beyond the mobile or walk-in blood donor clinics. Giving blood is, in a way, an integral part of our society and should be commended.

As we all know, Canada is a cultural mosaic, reflecting the magnificent diversity of all regions of the world. We can imagine how hard it would be if our country could not count on volunteer donors from different blood groups and ethnic origins. These people, while building up the national blood bank, play a vital role in terms of special needs. To celebrate donors is to celebrate Canada.

Today I emphasized how lucky Canadians are to have such a blood system. Our system is coordinated nationally, and all the blood comes from volunteer donors. Because of this, the blood is safe, and we can trust our system. Our biggest challenge is to increase the number of donations to meet our needs. We would need 5% of healthy adults to regularly donate blood.

By passing Bill S-214 and designating the second week of June national blood donor week, we will be taking a big step in the right direction.

National Blood Donor Week ActPrivate Members' Business

June 8th, 2007 / 1:30 p.m.
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Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in support of Bill S-214, which if passed would recognize national blood donor week. Every year the week of June 14 would be designated as national blood donor week. This campaign would go a long way to ensure that safe blood will always be available to every patient who needs transfusion as part of his or her treatment.

It is fitting that this issue is before the House today, as Canada has been selected as the host country for World Blood Donor Day on June 14 by the World Health Organization, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Society of Blood Transfusion, and the International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations.

Giving blood really is a priceless gift. Every year, Canadian blood donors save thousands of lives. This year's theme “Because of You” grants the 17 million Canadians who have been touched by the need for blood a special chance to say thanks to donors across Canada.

On average, every minute of every day in Canada someone needs blood or blood products. Hundreds of thousands of people every year receive blood components or products following accidents, during surgery or for cancer treatments, burn therapy, hemophilia and other blood related diseases. The maintenance of the collective blood supply depends entirely on the generosity of people who care about sharing the priceless gift of good health.

I would like to share some facts about the gift of blood donation. Over half of Canadians at some point in their lives will require blood or blood products for themselves or a family member. To meet our nation's requirements, one million units of blood must be collected from about 600,000 Canadians.

Canada has the safest blood supply system in the world. One of the major reasons for this fact is that 100% of the blood is donor supplied.

I remember as a family doctor being awoken very early one morning by a patient who had been travelling in another country. She called me and was worried because she was told that she needed a blood transfusion. At that time, that country's blood supply was very much in question and in the news. I remember saying to the patient, because of where she was, that at all costs, it was just so risky for her to accept a blood transfusion in that country at that time. I think I even asked her if she could lift her head off the pillow and if the answer was yes, I told her, then she did not need the blood transfusion, but she should rest in bed, drink plenty of fluids and take her iron pills. It was so risky for her to accept a blood transfusion in that country at that time.

Blood donations in Canada are gathered here by volunteers and from volunteers at 45 permanent collection sites. There are also more than 17,000 special mobile clinics held across Canada. These are operated by almost 6,000 employees and in excess of 40,000 volunteers. On an annual basis, nearly 1.1 million units of blood are donated from over half a million Canadians.

I would like to add that blood donor clinics are regularly held here on the Hill, including next Thursday in Room 200, West Block. I encourage members and all House of Commons staff to donate.

As a Canadian, I am proud to report that our national blood supply system is admired by other countries as a model to emulate. Health Canada’s membership in the newly formed WHO Blood Regulators Network will provide Canada the opportunity to share its expertise in this area worldwide.

As an MP from Toronto and Ontario, I am proud to say that almost 50% of blood collections are obtained from Ontario blood donors.

Canadian Blood Services ships blood products to nearly 750 hospitals across Canada. However, less than 4% of eligible Canadians donate blood every year.

This bill aims to inspire even more Canadians to step forward and participate in this experience, which helps literally thousands each year with the gift of life. No one likes needles and it really is an invasive procedure, but we need at least a week a year to celebrate those who do roll up their sleeves, and we will help make their example contagious.

Today I particularly want to sing the praises of a former patient of mine, Richard Lewis, who passed away last week. It was during his blood donation that his leukemia was discovered. As a regular donor of platelets, he reported often to the Canadian Blood Services to give his donation. It was in that manner that his leukemia was discovered. He fought a brave battle over the last eight months.

This week, I know that all in the House will send his family, Jan Silverman and the children, their best wishes. We honour Richard Lewis today for that loss early in life, and also, it is due to blood donation's preventive nature that so many lives are saved because of people like Richard.

I encourage all my colleagues to support this important piece of legislation, Bill S-214.

The House resumed from April 24 consideration of the motion that Bill S-214, An Act respecting a National Blood Donor Week, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

National Blood Donor Week ActPrivate Members' Business

April 24th, 2007 / 7 p.m.
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David Sweet Conservative Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak on Bill S-214. I would like to say that one of the things I have done in the past is support and sponsor blood donor clinics.

There is a need to encourage people to give blood, not only for the first time, as my colleague mentioned, but to continue the practice on a regular basis. It becomes more and more important.

One of the other aspects of this is that our world is becoming more dangerous. There are situations such as car collisions or cataclysmic weather or, God forbid, where there is a heinous criminal act and not one person but many people are hurt. To have this encouragement for people to get out to the blood donor clinics, and to have a good supply on hand if this kind of thing takes place, that is what we want to promote and encourage.

I join with the other members who have said they support the bill. I support it. As well, we must make sure that we do our best to encourage all of our constituents to get out to these clinics.

National Blood Donor Week ActPrivate Members' Business

April 24th, 2007 / 6:50 p.m.
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Patrick Brown Conservative Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to announce my support to designate the second week of June as national blood donor week.

It is easy to say 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 times are 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 14th. 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 donation 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 donation. 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. This 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 would serve as an example of best practices to nations around the world that want and need their own safe blood systems. It would 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 existing donors to keep rolling up their sleeves and prospective donors to start. Declaring national blood donor week says to the people of Canada that this is important. This one small act of donating blood, this 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 donation at less than 4% falls short of what Canadian patients need. At least 5% of Canadians need to donate in order to satisfy 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 would help achieve that goal by telling Canadians that donating blood is a safe thing to do and the right thing to do.

I ask that all my colleagues show their appreciation for Canada's blood donors by voting in favour of Bill S-214.

I note that I received two emails from my own riding: one from a young girl, Lynne Waddington, who had created a facebook and she had hundreds of her friends pledge to give blood, and also one from our MPP Joe Tascona, who is actually organizing a blood donor clinic himself. These are typical of the volunteers we are seeing across Canada.

I urge my colleagues to support this bill and celebrate the many great volunteers we have across this country.

National Blood Donor Week ActPrivate Members' Business

April 24th, 2007 / 6:15 p.m.
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Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member highlights a very important element of the awareness campaign we need to pursue if Bill S-214 passes the House and we create an act respecting a national blood donor week.

Many new Canadians who come to Canada have had a negative experience or a bad experience about donating blood. I have heard horror stories about it. It is so important to engage new Canadians to get involved in the process.

If we look at the statistical information, of 4% of people who donate, the vast majority are not new Canadians. It is very important that we tap into that segment of society in creating an awareness.

Awareness can take place at many different levels. As parliamentarians, we have a responsibility through our constituency and Ottawa offices and through our networks to promote and advocate for a national blood donor week. I believe there will be a campaign to create further awareness as well through the media.

There is no doubt that we need to target elements or segments of society that tend not to donate blood. Everyone needs to be included. We all benefit from this process. Blood does not discriminate. People who donate blood should not discriminate as well.

National Blood Donor Week ActPrivate Members' Business

April 24th, 2007 / 6 p.m.
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Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

moved that Bill S-214, An Act respecting a National Blood Donor Week, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak today at the second reading stage of Bill S-214, An Act respecting a National Blood Donor Week.

The World Health Organization celebrates World Blood Donor Day on June 14 every year, at which time 192 WHO members and over 200 volunteer blood donor organizations lend their support to this cause. This bill would allow Canadians to join in this worldwide effort with a full week of celebration each year.

I would point out to hon. members that Canada has one of the safest blood systems in the world. At some point in their lives, over half of Canadians will require blood or blood products for themselves or a family member during their lifetime. What is more alarming is the fact that less than 4% of eligible Canadians donate blood every year.

Canada has a long history of supporting blood donation, dating back to World War II. Between 1940 and 1945, the blood for the wounded program collected over 2.4 million units of blood from a population of just 11.5 million people. That was a per capita rate three to four times higher than the United States or Great Britain. That is a proud history and we need to ensure that blood donation in Canada will have a proud future as well.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Canadians receive donated blood or donated blood products, such as plasma, platelets and marrow, following accidents, surgeries, cancer treatments and for burn therapies. Blood or blood products are also used for other blood related treatments or diseases.

There is not a member of the House who would argue against the need for more blood donors in Canada to meet the demand for blood and blood products and that a greater awareness of the importance of becoming a blood donor is required to engage more Canadians in helping their fellow citizens. I am glad to be part of that 4% club. Initially, I too had reservations about donating blood but over the past few years the experience has been nothing but positive.

Canadians cannot afford to be idle and think that if they do not donate someone else will. Each of us must think, “If I don't, who will?” An hour of time is all that is required. I believe that each of us has an hour to spare. Blood donation includes not only the gift of whole blood but gifts of plasma and bone marrow as well.

Every blood donor has the power to save the lives of up to three people. Blood donors are volunteers who are not remunerated and, therefore, the act of donating blood and blood products is a genuine act of altruism. Blood donors in Canada are the lifeblood of their communities and their acts of kindness and generosity should be honoured with a national week of celebration.

I would like to describe to the members of the House how the blood donation system works in Canada and how people benefit from it. Donations are gathered at 45 permanent collection sites and more than 17,000 special mobile clinics are held across Canada. These are operated by almost 6,000 employees and in excess of 40,000 volunteers. The end result is a yearly blood collection of nearly 1.1 million units of blood from over half a million donors. This is our blood system.

To put another perspective on the importance of blood donation, roughly 137,000 Canadians are diagnosed with cancer every year. We all know that cancer patients often need blood or blood products to survive their treatments. As well, the number of transplants has increased steadily from 16 per 1 million Canadians in 1981 to 59 per 1 million Canadians in 2000. Transplant surgeries are lengthy procedures requiring significant amounts of blood. Additionally, the number of total hip replacements done in Canada during the same period increased by just under 20%.

There are several kinds of blood donation Canadians may give and/or receive. Many situations are unique and each person's need is unique. Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec are responsible for recruiting blood and bone marrow donors, as well as collecting blood and plasma at collection sites and donor clinics annually.

Additionally, CBS and Héma-Québec collect whole blood. Whole blood is comprised of red blood cells, white blood cells and plasma. Some donations are held and transfused as whole blood. Others are processed to separate red blood cells and plasma.

Further, some donors donate only their plasma. Plasma may be transfused into a patient or further processed into other products.

I would like to touch upon blood platelets which can be donated as well and they are collected at these specific locations. All main CBS and Héma-Québec donor clinics have a program for this.

One area of blood donation that may affect a growing number of Canadians is bone marrow donation. I am certain that many members in the House know someone who has been a recipient of donated bone marrow.

The unrelated bone marrow donor registry is when CBS collects blood samples for donors who wish to join its registry. CBS then records the specific proteins that make an individual's bone marrow unique. This information is used to match donors with patients who need bone marrow transplants.

Interestingly, the average amount of blood in one person is five litres and there are approximately 450 millilitres of blood in a unit. On average, 4.6 units of blood are required per patient. In 2004-05, Canadian Blood Services collected approximately 850,000 units of whole blood.

I know there may be a member or a Canadian watching this debate who is wondering about the safety of Canada's blood supply and/or the safety of blood donation. I know other members will agree that Canada's blood system is safe. I know other members here in the House this evening will want to join with me in reassuring Canadians that our blood system is safe for them to use, whether as a donor or as a receiver.

The Canadian Blood Services makes safety paramount and, from the top down and across the organization at all levels, it meets or exceeds all relevant national and international standards for safety in blood management and operations.

The mandate of the Canadian Blood Services is to be responsible for a national blood supply system which assures access to a safe, secure, cost effective, affordable and accessible supply of quality blood, blood products and their alternatives, and supports their appropriate use.

The Canadian Blood Services is also involved in monitoring and surveillance and has a department responsible for treating diseases that could affect our donor population.

In addition, the Canadian Blood Services commission conducts studies that examine the impact of some policies on the security of the blood supply. As such, the Canadian Blood Services assesses trends to ensure a balance between the safety of the blood system and the availability of blood products for Canadians.

Further, Health Canada is responsible for disease surveillance in Canada. Additionally, through its role as the regulatory authority for the blood system in Canada, Health Canada monitors national and international trends that affect blood management and safety.

We also have the National Blood Safety Council which advises the federal government on blood safety matters that fall within its jurisdictional responsibilities.

All whole blood donations undergo a process whereby white blood cells are removed. White blood cells often carry viruses and bacteria that can be detrimental to the recovery of the recipient. To that end, the World Health Organization has said that Canada's blood system is among the safest in the world.

I have discussed why people should donate blood. I have outlined the various types of and needs for blood donation and I have addressed blood donor safety concerns.

Now that we know why blood donation is so critical, I just want to touch on why this bill is so important for those who have either donated their blood, received donated blood or work behind the scenes, and especially for those who have not yet donated.

At the very core of blood donation is volunteerism. No one is compelled to give their blood. There is no law saying that we must roll up our sleeves and donate blood. There is only the satisfaction in knowing that volunteering to do so matters, that volunteering to do so has saved a life and that volunteering to do so may save our own life one day.

Bill S-214 is vital because it celebrates the spirit of volunteerism, kindness and altruism. When I have spoken with people who have donated blood, or do so regularly, I ask them why they are keen on donating their time and their blood. In response I hear very heartwarming stories about their families' needs, their desire to give something back to their communities or just to know that they have done something to help others.

As I have said earlier, nearly 50% of Canadians will need donated blood sometime in their lives. Nearly half of Canadians will need blood that has been supplied by only 4% of our population. I believe we have a responsibility to raise the awareness of the need for blood. We need to raise the awareness that donating blood is safe, that it does not cost a dime and is something that is desperately needed.

We also need to make people aware that their selflessness is appreciated. People may not get instant gratification from a family member, friend or neighbour, but there is someone or some family member who appreciates more than words can articulate their thanks and appreciation.

Bill S-214 will do just that. Every year during the week of June 14 Canadians will recognize the kind acts of others when it comes to donating blood. Every year during the week of June 14 blood donors will know that their kind acts are appreciated.

Canadians must know, by giving just an hour of their time a couple of times a year, they can help a father become a grandfather, a young girl become an older sister and proud parents see their children grow up. This is why I ask the House to pass Bill S-214.

National Blood Donor Week ActRoutine Proceedings

February 28th, 2007 / 3:10 p.m.
See context


Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill S-214, An Act respecting a National Blood Donor Week.

Mr. Speaker, the World Health Organization has declared June 14 as World Blood Donor Day. One hundred and ninety-two countries and 181 Red Cross Societies have agreed to support World Blood Donor Day each year. There is no greater gift of life than donating blood.

It is my pleasure to move Bill S-214, An Act respecting a National Blood Donor Week annually during the week of June 14.

(Motion agreed to and bill read the first time)