Results at a glance - Evaluation of the Health Canada Canadian Blood Services (CBS) Contribution Programs 2013-14 to 2016-2017


  • Health Canada provides funding to Canadian Blood Services (CBS) in support of two specific programs: the Blood Research and Development (R&D) Program and the Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation (OTDT) Program. 
  • The primary objective of the R&D program is to support basic, applied and clinical research on blood safety and effectiveness while the primary objective of the OTDT Program is to support the CBS in developing a national organ and tissue donation and transplantation system.

What the evaluation found

  • There is a continued need for ongoing blood R&D to respond to emerging threats and promote the safety of the Canadian blood system. While there is a continued need to address the gap in Canada between demand and available supply for organs and tissues, further clarity is needed with respect to the appropriate roles and responsibilities in the OTDT Program for CBS, provinces and territories and the federal government. 
  • The Blood R&D program has contributed to the safety of the blood system through training highly qualified personnel in transfusion medicine and generating research to inform policy and regulatory development in Canada. There are opportunities to improve awareness of the program’s research activities and results among federal partners in the Health Portfolio, including the Biologics and Genetic Therapies Directorate of Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
  • While the OTDT program has achieved some successes in promoting awareness and use of existing leading practices, efforts to develop a national governance model for the OTDT system have not been successful to date. There are different views among the provinces and territories as to whether or not such a model is needed. Improvements in performance reporting could improve the program’s ability to report on results achieved.

Recommendations and responses

  1. With respect to the Blood R&D Program, improve knowledge exchange of research projects and results among partners in the federal Health Portfolio to optimize awareness and uptake.

    Response: In collaboration with CBS-R&D, Health Canada will help ensure greater sharing of research results among Portfolio partners by organizing annual knowledge exchange events for Portfolio staff and working with CBS-R&D to develop a plan to support better sharing of the research and best practices.

  2. With respect to the OTDT Program, and in fulfillment of the October 2017 Minister’s Mandate Letter, Health Canada should facilitate collaboration with key stakeholders on the long term objective of a comprehensive Canadian OTDT system and define Health Canada’s role in developing such a system.

    Response: Health Canada plans to engage PTs, CBS and other stakeholders to review the federal role.

  3. With respect to the OTDT Program, improve     consistency and clarity in the collection and reporting of performance data. 

    Response: Health Canada in collaboration with CBS-R&D and OTDT will develop a Performance Information Profile to specify data collection and reporting requirements, which will be outlined in new funding agreements.

About this evaluation

The evaluation assessed the relevance and performance of the OTDT and Blood R&D Programs between 2013–2014 and 2016–2017.  The evaluation included a literature review, document and data review, key informant interviews, and surveys of OTDT Program stakeholders and Blood R&D Program stakeholders.

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