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Safety and Testing

Restoring public confidence in the safety and security of Canada’s blood supply system is an overriding priority for Canadian Blood Services.

  • Canadian Blood Services makes safety paramount, from the top-down and across the organization at all levels.
  • Canadian Blood Services meets or exceeds all relevant national and international standards for safety in blood management and operations.
  • Canadian Blood Services fosters a corporate culture where employees understand their individual and collective responsibility for safety.

The design of Canadian Blood Services incorporates six important features that will result in a safer and more accountable blood supply system for Canadians:

  1. Structure and Composition of the Board of Directors
  2. Access to Independent Expertise
  3. Commitment to Openness
  4. Clear Lines of Accountability
  5. Funding Mechanisms
  6. Research and Development

1. Structure and Composition of the Board of Directors

  • The sole focus of Canadian Blood Services' Board of Directors is: providing a safe, secure, cost-effective, affordable and accessible supply of quality blood, blood products and their alternatives for Canadians.

  • The composition of the 13 member Canadian Blood Services Board of Directors has been designed to reflect and balance key blood system stakeholder interests. The Board is comprised of two consumer interest representatives, four regional interest representatives, six representatives from the medical, technical, scientific, public health and business communities and a Board Chair.

  • To ensure its autonomy, public servants may not serve on the Board.

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2. Access to Independent Expertise

Canadian Blood Services has established independent, expert advisory committees that will perform early and informed reviews of key decisions, including those relating to safety. There are six local Community Liaison Committees (London, St.John’s, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Halifax and Calgary), the National Liaison Committee, the Scientific Advisory Committee and the Research and Development Advisory Committee and the Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registry Scientific Advisory Committee. Others are established as required.

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3. Commitment to Openness

To enable the advisory committees of Canadian Blood Services to play the safety oversight role envisaged for them, and to encourage blood stakeholders input into decision-making, Canadian Blood Services Board agendas are made public in advance of meetings. Following Board meetings, minutes are also made public. The Canadian Blood Services Board holds two open public Board meetings per year and issues a Report to Canadians annually.

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4. Clear Lines of Accountability

Clear Lines of accountability make decision making efficient and produce certainty as to where ultimate accountability rests. Canadian Blood Services operates a streamlined blood system that makes the Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Blood Services the focal point of accountability.

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5. Funding Mechanisms

Consistent with the principle of enhanced accountability, Canadian Blood Services operates on the basis of a three-year business plan that anticipates contingencies. This enables Canadian Blood Services to make timely decisions if and when contingencies arise.

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6. Research and Development

While Canadian Blood Services will do all it can to minimize transfusion risk, blood can never be 100 per cent safe. However, research into blood safety, alternatives to transfusions and blood substitutes can help reduce risk. In addition to its own allocations, Canadian Blood Services receives five million dollars from the federal government for blood-related research and development. As a not-for-profit, charitable organization, Canadian Blood Services will work diligently to expand its research efforts in cooperation with medical and research communities and to partner in as many endeavours as possible to ensure dollars for research and development in Canada are leveraged to their maximum.

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