Canadian Blood Services celebrates ground breaking for new operations facility

Site to meet biologics manufacturing needs and better serve Canadian patients

(CALGARY) – Canadian Blood Services welcomed over 70 invited guests to an official groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of the construction phase of a new operations facility on Barlow Trail. After a move from its present downtown location, the facility will include production, testing and distribution capabilities in a location closer to major transportation routes – helping ensure that Canadians get the blood products they need, when they need them.

The facility, set to open in 2020, will provide a modern and attractive work environment for employees and ensure that hospitals and patients benefit from a strategically located facility, providing high quality products and services.

“We need to find innovative ways to meet the commitments we have made to Canadians, as efficiently as possible, on behalf of the patients we serve. The most important part of our new facility is that it will enable Calgary to process about 24 per cent of the 17,000 units of whole blood that Canadian Blood Services collects for Canadian patients each week,” said Dr. Graham Sher, chief executive officer of Canadian Blood Services, during today’s ceremony.

Most importantly, this new facility was designed to ensure that Canadian patients receive the blood and blood products they need to survive. This is a need that is close to the heart of Melissa Ball, whose 11-year-old daughter, Brienna, was diagnosed with primary immunodeficiency disease and crohns/colitis in 2016. Brienna requires blood products twice per week to treat her condition. Brienna and her mother were on hand to witness the proceedings.

Canadian Blood Services works with Canada’s provinces and territories to ensure that a safe, secure and reliable blood system is available to all Canadians..

“Congratulations to Canadian Blood Services on this new operations centre. Our national blood supply is a valuable public resource, which our government is committed to protecting. We look forward to working with Canadian Blood Services to ensure Albertans – and everyone in this country – has access to the public blood supply when they need it," said the Honorable Brandy Payne, Associate Minister of Health.

When Canadian Blood Services assumed responsibility for the national blood system in 1998, it operated out of existing buildings formerly held by the Red Cross. In 2005, funding from Canada’s provinces and territories facilitated the launch of a program designed to modernize facilities and provide more efficient services. The beginning of the National Facilities Redevelopment Program focused on the Maritimes and South - Central Ontario. The Calgary operations facility is part of the next phase now underway in Western Canada. This phase includes a new clinic in Saskatoon and a collection facility opening in Calgary’s Eau Claire Market on July 10.

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By the numbers:

  • The new facility will feature:
    • 153,000 square feet, gross square footage of the future operations facility;
    • 21,600 square feet of production space;
    • 18,000 square feet of testing space; and
    • 28,100 square feet of warehousing, logistics and distribution space to deliver blood and blood products.
  • Seventeen thousand (17,000) units of blood must be collected every week to meet the needs of hospital patients.
  • One in two Canadians is eligible to donate but one in 60 does.