July 20, 2016
An open letter to Canadian Blood Services:
My name is Jeremy McCall. I am a married father of two girls. I am also the co-founder and president of Dad Club London. We are a group of over 1,100 dads from Oxford, Elgin, and Middlesex Counties in Ontario. We provide support, education, advocacy, and fundraising; for both fathers in need, and child-based initiatives in our area. We are in our third year of existence and are in the process of incorporating as a registered not for profit.
I have personally been a blood donor for going on eight years now. In the course of my most recent donation, I happened to notice a sign extolling the virtues of the fun and value associated with booking a group donation. I requested the information from the staff member serving me for my individual donation, and was happy to begin the process of booking two group donation days for our huge member base. During my discussions with CBS staff, it was mentioned that they would use our group’s name, likeness, and linking back of contact information and social media accounts to promote us and that we believed in the benefits of giving blood as a group.
I have a family connection to and a professional background in healthcare, and am well aware of the benefits of and need for donated blood, and encourage all to donate whenever possible. I also am a firm believer in equality, loyalty, and fairness to all.
In the course of booking individuals for our 28 spots reserved, something troubling was brought to my attention.
Dad Club London prides itself on diversity. We are open to aspiring fathers, fathers-to-be, and current fathers. We also welcome anyone who serves as a father figure to children or youth. Creating positive role models who in turn lead and inspire our youth has a net positive trickle-down effect that benefits all levels of our society. As part of this diverse membership, our group includes multiple sets of fathers in same sex marriages and domestic partnerships.
According to Canadian Blood Services policy, these members of ours are not welcome to donate blood to provide or extend life for others in need. These members are some of the most positive, successful, and respectable members of our society. They possess job titles such as medical doctor, CEO, and teacher. They have spent countless hours and many thousands of dollars sharing the love in their beautiful families with their children they have become fathers through both surrogacy and adoption. These gentlemen have been in loving, safe, and monogamous relationships for many years; and in some cases decades.
Canadian Blood Services policy treats our same sex couple members differently than they do the rest of our members. They tell them they are not welcome. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees equal treatment before and under the law, and equal protection and benefit of the law without discrimination. The Ontario Human Rights Code prevents discrimination and harassment because of race, colour, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, disability, creed, age and other grounds. Neither of these invaluable people-first documents supersede Canadian Blood Services’ discriminatory policy that takes away the right for all of our members to support their communities and give blood together. This unfortunately has forced Dad Club London to withdraw our request to host two group events at Canadian Blood Services.