Petition seeks to ease blood donation restrictions on gay men and trans women in Canada

Health Canada currently limits blood donations by gay and bi men and trans women to three months after their last sexual encounter with men


A petition aims to convince the federal government to eliminate restrictions on blood donation by gay and bi men and transgender women in Canada.

Current rules allow men who have sex with men to donate blood if it has been more three months after their last sexual encounter with a man. This rule also affects trans women who have not had lower gender confirmation surgery.

The petition proposes to remove this three-month rule.

New Democrat MP Randall Garrison of B.C. authorized the publication of the electronic petition on the website of the House of Commons.

The petition argues there is “no science” behind the three-month deferral.

“Behaviour-based screening provides better security for the blood supply than identity-based rules…,” the petition states.

It also notes that “every blood donation is tested for several infectious diseases, including HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C”.

“More than 17 nations have no deferral period, including Italy, Spain, and Argentina,” the petition points out.

Davy Sabourin of Gatineau, Quebec, started the e-petition.

“Canada’s blood supply is suffering from shortages during the COVID-19 crisis and there is an urgency of obtaining plasma donations for research into the prevention and treatment of COVID-19,” the petition also states.

The petition likewise seeks government support for a private member’s motion by Garrison, who represents the Vancouver Island riding of Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke.

Garrison’s M-41 motion seeks the House’s support in asking the government to “take immediate measures to end the current deferral policy”.

The motion aims to have Canadian Blood Services, Héma-Québec, and Health Canada “replace the current discriminatory policy with a science and behaviour-based policy”.

The petition opened for signatures on July 29 and closes on October 27.

E-petitions need 500 signatories in order to be presented on the floor of the House. There were 137 signatures as of August 8.

This story originally appeared in the Georgia Straight.

Comments (2)

  • Mary August 9, 2020 06:25 AM

    Ive heard so much advertised promotion for donations urgently needed for blood. )Over many years. I understood how important it is to help but did not understand why any human being that is healthy enough to donate blood wasn’t allowed to do so because of their sexual orientation or for anything else. Is there a problem with there testing systems or is this plain ignorance. Im not gay, straight or transgender. In fact it is my personal business. If i want to donate or asked & advertised everywhere the right thing to do is help & donate to just be shut down by ignorance then im not going to donate. Even though it’s a good thing to do & that i myself may need a donation 1 day. i have personally chosen not to partake because of this fooLish reason. It has also made me question how good & reliable there tests actually are. What are they looking for? The cream of the crop??

  • Lorraine M Gale August 10, 2020 12:13 AM

    OMG, so hard to believe Health Canada is STILL discriminating on blood donations based on identity! Get your head out of the dark ages and wake up to the reality that discrimination based on identity does not protect anyone. Screening based on behaviour and testing all blood donations are proven methods to protect everyone without violating anyone’s rights. How is this government-appointed body STILL allowed to openly violate the Canadian Human Rights Act?

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