Seeking stakeholders’ input on key initiatives

In keeping with our founding principles, we incorporate the ideas, questions, concerns and advice of thousands of Canadians into our decision-making processes.

Since we opened our doors in 1998, those most closely affected by the transfusion and transplantation system in Canada have played an important part in our decision-making. In 2017–2018, we once again invited individuals and organizations across the country to share their perspectives on issues that matter to them. Stakeholders provided valuable input into three key initiatives:

Evolving blood donor eligibility criteria for MSM and trans donors

In 2017–2018 we continued to engage with the LGBTQ+ community on sensitive questions surrounding blood donor eligibility criteria for MSM and individuals who identify as trans or gender non-binary.

We participated in LGBTQ+ events across Canada, including conferences and Pride celebrations, and met regularly with the leaders of student groups at colleges and universities to discuss screening criteria for MSM and trans donors. These events and meetings gave us the chance to have frank, sometimes difficult conversations about how we’re working to change eligibility criteria. We also launched a new research program focused on blood donation by MSM.

Sourcing plasma protein products

Canadian Blood Services is responsible for bulk purchasing and management of PPPs across Canada, except Quebec. Every few years, we implement a competitive sourcing process through which we strive to achieve an appropriate balance between product diversity, patient and prescriber choice, innovative therapies and optimal costs.

In our most recent process, groups representing patients, nurses and physicians worked alongside Canadian Blood Services employees to prepare the request-for-proposal requirements, evaluate the submissions and provide input into the final recommendation. While we acquired newly available products as a result of this process, some patients were required to switch products. We continue to work with stakeholders on transitions to new products and to keep them informed in various ways, including a monthly newsletter.

Crafting our new five-year strategic plan

To develop Keeping the Promise: Canadian Blood Services’ 2019–2024 Strategic Plan, we held roundtable meetings across the country to examine the emerging concerns and day-to-day realities of our diverse stakeholders — including patient groups, health-system leaders, medical practitioners and clinical researchers, among many others.

Participants provided us with valuable insights into how our work intersects with the wider network of people and organizations connected to transfusion and transplantation in Canada. That feedback in turn guided our thinking around what more we can do to help patients and support the delivery of excellent health care.