Canadian Blood Services network outage resolved

On October 22, Canadian Blood Services experienced technical difficulties stemming from a planned IT network upgrade as part of ongoing work to modernize and improve system resilience for the benefit of hospital customers, donors and employees.

While we were able to continue to deliver blood and blood products to hospitals, thanks to contingency plans, this disruption temporarily impacted our ability to collect and manufacture blood, platelets and plasma. More than 1,000 people who had been willing to donate blood or plasma over a two-day period were not able to during this disruption. Self-serve appointment booking systems were down and donors were not able to book donation appointments online or via the GiveBlood app. Stem cell registry recruitment and programs supporting interprovincial organ sharing were also disrupted but similarly, contingency planning ensured no impacts to patients.

Canadian Blood Services worked closely with provinces and hospital customers to ensure priority needs were met. Platelet inventory fell to a level requiring the convening of the National Emergency Blood Management Committee (NEBMC). The NEBMC declared an Amber Phase for platelets on October 23, 2023 in accordance with the National Plan for the Management of Labile Blood Products.

During an Amber Phase activation, hospital transfusion teams are required to screen all orders for platelet transfusions from prescribing physicians and decisions to administer platelets are made on a case-by-case basis. Prioritization is given to acutely bleeding patients. Elective surgeries may be rescheduled and cancer patients who receive platelet transfusions may have their transfusion delayed or rescheduled depending on the individual circumstance.

Those applications and sites that were experiencing trouble, including the Canadian Transplant Registry, returned to normal operations on October 24, 2023. The NEBMC declared the return to Green Phase for platelets on October 26, 2023.

Our teams, alongside our health system partners, will continue to work together to ensure that patients receive the products and services they need when they need them. We regret any difficulty this outage may have caused. Lessons will be drawn from this experience. We are conducting a complete review of contingency plans to mitigate any future risks and will be prepared to respond should any future issues arise.

Our systems have been restored. If you experienced issues booking a donation appointment please book an appointment online now, use the GiveBlood app or call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283).