TORONTO, Ont. (March 15, 2021) – Today, people living with type 1 diabetes join as a vital link in Canada’s lifeline as they are now eligible to donate blood. Diabetes Canada, Canadian Blood Services, and diabetes advocate, Edward Robertson, partnered to advocate for updates to donor eligibility that were ultimately approved by Health Canada.
Previously, Canada has only allowed those living with type 2 diabetes, who manage their disease by diet, non-insulin medications, or who use stable doses of insulin to donate and deferred those living with type 1 diabetes. Now people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes taking insulin will be accepted if they have not experienced an acute diabetic event in the three months preceding blood donation. An acute event would be defined as an episode of hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) or hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) that required intervention of another person to treat.
“We are pleased with this step Health Canada has made to update the eligibility requirements so that more Canadians living with diabetes have the opportunity to give the gift of life,” says Laura Syron, President and CEO, Diabetes Canada. “This change aligns with Diabetes Canada’s new campaign to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, We can’t wait 100 years to End Diabetes. Ending diabetes represents a collection of individual action moving toward the goal of ending diabetes, and one way is ending stigma and to do this is to ensure those living with the disease feel fully included and can participate in society.”
Every 60 seconds someone in Canada needs blood, and Canada relies entirely on the generosity of donors to keep the lifeline going. The updated rules have provided Canada with the potential of an approximately an additional 330,000 donors that could possible give someone a lifeline.
“Canadian Blood Services is committed to being as minimally restrictive as possible about who can donate while protecting the health of our donors and the patients we serve,” says Dr. Mindy Goldman, medical director of donor and clinical services at Canadian Blood Services. “When evidence shows that it’s safe to make a change that will open our doors to new donors, we pursue that change. We are thankful for the help of experts at Diabetes Canada in discussions around donation safety for people with diabetes.”
Criteria will be added to defer people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who have a diabetic foot or leg ulcer actively requiring treatment from donating blood until their ulcer has healed, to make sure the donation is safe for recipients A medical enquiry would be performed for those with significant diabetic neuropathy that may increase the risk of adverse events, such as a faint reaction, at the time of donation.
“I’m thrilled to see the progress we have envisioned over the last year. This is an important step to save lives, while also removing stigma and improving rights and equities for people living with diabetes,” added Edward Robertson (Saskatchewan) diabetes advocate and person living with type 1 diabetes.
For more information on eligibility, please visit ABCs of eligibility.
About Diabetes Canada
Diabetes Canada is the registered national charitable organization that is making the invisible epidemic of diabetes visible and urgent. Diabetes Canada partners with Canadians to End Diabetes through:
- Resources for health care professionals on best practices to care for people with diabetes;
- Advocacy to governments, schools and workplaces; and
- Funding world-leading Canadian research to improve treatments and find a cure.
For more information, visit diabetes.ca or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464).
About Canadian Blood Services
Canadian Blood Services is a not-for-profit charitable organization. Regulated by Health Canada as a biologics manufacturer and primarily funded by the provincial and territorial ministries of health, Canadian Blood Services operates with a national scope, infrastructure and governance that make it unique within Canadian healthcare. In the domain of blood, plasma and stem cells, we provide services for patients on behalf of all provincial and territorial governments except Quebec. The national transplant registry for interprovincial organ sharing and related programs reaches into all provinces and territories, as a biological lifeline for Canadians. For more information, visit blood.ca.