Transition of the Blood System to Canadian Blood Services
Canadian Blood Services was created in September 1998, in the aftermath of the contaminated blood incident of the 1980s and early 1990s.
The decision to create a new national blood authority was consistent with the conclusions of Mr. Justice Krever in his Final Report, Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada. The recommendations called for a single, integrated entity responsible and accountable for the safety and security of Canada’s blood system.
Having rebuilt the trust of Canadians in the blood system, our goal now is to maintain it. Trust is an essential ingredient to operating a national blood system, particularly from the viewpoint of recipients of blood products, donors, the general public, corporate members and employees.
The Transition of Operations
On September 10, 1996, Federal, Provincial and Territorial Health Ministers agreed to put in place a new national blood authority that would operate at arm’s-length from all governments and that would be responsible for managing all aspects of an accountable and fully integrated blood system. They agreed on the following things:
- The safety of the blood system is paramount;
- A fully integrated approach is essential;
- Accountabilities must be clear; and,
- The system must be transparent.
In particular, the Ministers confirmed that the new supply system would adhere to a set of key guiding principles designed not only to maintain and protect the voluntary donor system, but also pursue national self sufficiency. These principles would also encourage adequacy and security of supply; confirm safety of all blood components and fractions; preserve gratuity of all blood to recipients within insured health services; achieve a cost-effective and cost-efficient system; and, maintain a national blood program.
The new national blood authority would be responsible and accountable for the following activities:
- Recruiting blood donors and managing blood donations;
- Collecting whole blood, plasma and platelets;
- Testing and laboratory work; processing, storage, distribution and inventory management;
- Developing and implementing quality assurance/ quality control standards;
- Coordinating a national program in research and development for blood, blood products and transfusion medicine;
- Establishing public and professional educational programs directed at appropriate utilization of blood and blood products; and,
- Surveillance; and health risk management.
The Canadian Blood Services Transition Bureau (CBSTB) was appointed by Canada’s Health Ministers on October 15, 1997. The Transition Bureau had the responsibility for managing the safe and effective transfer of the Canadian Red Cross Blood Program to Canadian Blood Services.
The Canadian Blood Services’ Board of Directors was appointed on March 27, 1998. At its first meeting in April 1998, the Board assumed responsibility for the transition. On June 3, 1998, the first Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Canadian Blood Services was appointed. The organization was authorised to establish the CBS Insurance Company Limited (CBSI) by a Members Resolution passed on August 24, 1998. The Provinces and Territories agreed to provide additional funding on an annual basis.
A core transition planning team remained in place until Canadian Blood Services assumed full responsibility for the operation of Canada’s new blood supply system on September 28, 1998, ending the Canadian Red Cross operation of the blood system.
For more information about the operation of Canadian Blood Services, visit our About Us section.