Adrian Lomaga announced earlier today that he is withdrawing his lawsuit against Héma-Québec. The case was to head to court on Monday, April 4. Lomaga writes in a statement that he anticipates the deferral period imposed on men who have sex with men will be reduced to five years. As it stands now, if you have had sex with another man even once since 1977, you are banned from donating blood in Canada.
We'll have more on this story as details emerge.
Read the text of Lomaga's statement below.
A development has taken place which warrants a delay in my lawsuit against
The Canadian Standards Association, an independent body which consults with leading
experts, is considering making a change to the lifetime deferral imposed on men
who have sex with men from the blood donor pool.
The experts who were going to give evidence at my trial on my behalf and on
behalf of Héma-Québec both agreed that a 5 year deferral period is likely
reasonable and would not increase the risk of a disease being passed from a
blood donor to a blood recipient. Further, they each agreed that if the
deferral period were 1 year, that there would be some increased risk of HIV being
transfused. Depending on which expert you ask, that risk is 1 additional
unit of HIV being transfused once every 16 years or once every 328 years in
The Ontario Superior Court recently ruled that the lifetime deferral of men who
have sex with men was reasonable and not discriminatory. Given this
negative precedent, my lawyers were concerned that if we were unsuccessful in
the Quebec Superior Court, that there would be two bad precedents. Worse,
if the blood banks changed the deferral period from the time that the Quebec
Superior Court gave its reasons but before it was heard on appeal at the Quebec
Court of Appeal, the Quebec Court of Appeal may choose not to hear the appeal
because the issue could become irrelevant, or moot. There would then be
two bad decisions for equality rights in Canada.
Since it seems that change is likely going to take place within a year, I have
agreed to withdraw my action for the time being. The lawyers for Health
Canada proposed this resolution and I agreed. Rest assured, however, that
if change does not take place, a new action will be started and the litigation
The outpouring of support from across the country has been tremendous.
Thank you. The fight for equality, however, is not over. I
encourage you all to speak out about this injustice and to keep the pressure on
both Canadian Blood Services and Hema-Quebec. For those who can afford to make
a donation to EGALE Canada, that too would be helpful in paying for legal costs
associated with this litigation. You can donate at www.egale.ca/donate <http://www.egale.ca/donate>.
Please mark your donation to “Adrian.”
Once again, thank you to all of you. We could not have gotten this far
without your support.
Yours very truly,