News Release
May 10, 2024

For decades, Egale Canada has been actively advocating for Canadian Blood Services (CBS) to end their blood ban, and later deferral, for men who have sex with men (MSM), as well as some trans people. As a member of CBS’ 2SLGBTQIA+ Advisory Committee, we welcome their long-overdue apology for this discriminatory policy. 

Today’s apology marks a historic moment for 2SLGBTQI communities in Canada who have been calling on CBS to adopt gender-neutral, behaviour-based screening methods. Any identity-based ban or deferral is fundamentally opposed to our values in Canada of equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. 

The MSM deferral policy arose out of the fear and scientific ignorance that predominated during the tragic AIDS epidemic and the associated tainted blood crisis of the 1980s. Egale has long been declaring that this is wrong, and advocating for the acknowledgement that a person’s identity does not put them at any greater risk for a sexually transmitted infection, rather, it is their behaviour that determines their risk. 

CBS’ updated behaviour-based policy and apology are a move in the right direction. However, there is still more work to be done. Some of the remaining areas for improvement include; the ongoing disproportionate impact on queer men, as anal sex with a new partner disqualifies donation, the requirement for nonbinary donors to register in a binary (male/female) gender, individuals using PrEP medication must wait four months since last use of PrEP before donating, among other issues. 

Egale Canada is committed to continuing to work with Canadian Blood Services to resolve remaining concerns and ensure that all blood donors are treated with respect and dignity in an environment free from discrimination. 

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Representatives from Egale Canada are available for further comment on this matter. To schedule an interview please email: