03/20/2014 10:48 EDT | Updated 05/20/2014 05:59 EDT

Ontario moves to outlaw paid blood donations

Activists celebrated at Queen’s Park today as the provincial government introduced legislation to shut down plasma clinics that pay for donations.

Such clinics “will make millions of dollars if they're allowed to collect plasma,” said Mike McCarthy, an activist and hemophiliac who contracted hepatitis C from tainted blood in 1984. “What we get left over is a potentially unsafe blood system.”

But just a few blocks away, it was business as usual at newly opened pay clinic Canadian Plasma Resources, where donor Kevin Belvedere said he was motivated by the prospect of making $25.

“People have really busy lives so if there's no compensation, it can really impede people's motivation,” Belvedere said.

The company says it collects plasma to be used in the manufacture of drugs, not for transfusions. CEO Barzin Bahardoust says for-pay donations should be allowed because Canada already imports such products from the U.S., where clinics also pay donors.

“This legislation means that Ontario’s patients will remain dependent on American companies for these lifesaving drugs,” Bahardoust said in a statement.