Federal-Provincial-Territorial Meeting of Ministers of Health


TORONTO, March 27, 1998 -- Health Minister Allan Rock and Saskatchewan Health Minister Clay Serby, on behalf of federal, provincial and territorial Health Ministers, announced today that governments have agreed to offer financial assistance to Canadians who were infected by the Hepatitis C virus through the Canadian blood system between 1986-1990. The $1.1 Billion package will also include individuals infected with Hepatitis C by a partner or parent who was infected during this period, as well as individuals infected with HIV by a partner or parent who was infected by blood or blood products.

Minister Serby noted that in addition to the financial assistance package, provinces and territories provide medical, hospital, home care, drug, social assistance and other services that will cost governments an additional $1.6 Billion over the next 30 years.

Today's announcement recognizes that during the 1986-1990 period some of the infections might have been avoided.

"Today we have concluded a very important agreement on a national approach to assistance for a group of people whose lives have been affected by the blood tragedy during this period," said Minister Rock.

"A coordinated national approach to this matter ensures Canadians adversely impacted by the blood system during this period, regardless of where they live, are eligible for fair and reasonable assistance," Minister Serby said.

The Canadian Red Cross has also said that it would like to participate in an assistance package for victims and is discussing this with governments.

Ministers outlined the principles for a financial assistance package:

  • Assistance should be national in scope.    


  • Those eligible must have contracted Hepatitis C through blood or blood products received during the period January 1, 1986 to July 1, 1990.    


  • Hemophiliacs who contracted Hepatitis C will be eligible for assistance if they received blood or blood products, including fractionated products, during the January 1, 1986 - July 1, 1990 timeframe.    


  • The details of assistance will be determined through a negotiation process submitted to the courts for approval. This should ensure fairness. Victims and their legal representatives will be part of this process.

Ministers suggest assistance to individuals be negotiated on the basis of an initial fixed payment, as well as a variable subsequent payment based on the severity of each individual's disease.

Persons infected with Hepatitis C by a partner or parent who received blood or blood products during the January 1, 1986 - July 1, 1990 period (commonly referred to as "secondarily- infected") would also be eligible for financial assistance.

Ministers indicated that governments will also make provision, within the overall financial assistance package, for people infected with HIV by a partner or a parent who was infected by HIV through the blood supply and who were eligible for previous government assistance packages. This will be a lump sum payment with details to be announced at a later date.

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Media Inquiries:

Derek Kent
Office of Allan Rock
Federal Minister of Health
Phone: 613-957-1515

Kimberly Wihnan
Saskatchewan Health
Phone: 306-787-1320