Over a year ago, Canada lifted a 30-year-old prohibition on gay men donating blood. However, Canada Blood Services still includes a ban on blood donations from any man who has had sex with another man in the past five years. That is why the Young Liberals of Canada want a policy that is based on evidence, because no single, loosely defined group should be discriminated against based on generalized statistics, perceptions or prejudices. A blanket ban on sexually active MSM is not merely discriminatory; it's unsafe.
On June 27, 2013, the federal government released a summary report of its consultations with stakeholders regarding payment for plasma donations. Right on cue, the union representing employees at Canadian Blood Services proclaimed that safety will somehow be jeopardized if plasma is collected by anyone other than a public facility. Other opponents have attempted to sway public opinion by arguing that payment for plasma is somehow exploitative. Both criticisms are smoke-and-mirrors. I know from experience.
I would respect Canadian Blood Services more if it took a stronger position on gay blood donations. Either stick with the lifelong ban and admit that it's a super-cautious approach to try to mitigate against potential infections we don't yet understand, based on the deadly mistakes made in the past with HIV. Or focus on the bloodborne diseases we do know about, and adjust the ban accordingly to six-months or one-year, as would be consistent with the current science of detection. Either one of these approaches would be a more defensible posture than the arbitrary five-year ban Canadian Blood Services has chosen to champion.