Health Canada has approved reducing the blood donation ban on men who have sex with men from one year, to three months.

The approval of the request put forward by Canadian Blood Services follows years of campaigning for change from the LGBTQ community. Previously, men who had sex with men were banned for five years from donating blood. That ban was amended in 2016 to one year between when a man was sexually active with another man, to when he would be eligible to donate blood.

“It’s another small step toward lifting the ban entirely,” Dan Shier, co-chair of Queen City Pride said. “Although this announcement was made, many people are frustrated to know that the ban still exists.”

In the past, Queen City Pride has hosted an ally blood donation clinic for those who don’t meet the donor criteria. The clinic encourages people who are able to donate, to donate on behalf of those who cannot.

“It’s a way for us to support the national blood supply,” Shier said. “It helps people feel like they’re contributing to society for something that a lot of us are encouraged to do, that perhaps they cannot.”

In 2015 the federal government promised to end the ban completely, adding that the ban ignores scientific evidence.

“I think it’s important to allow as many eligible donors as possible to donate blood,” Shier said. “We want to see Health Canada promoting policies that don’t discriminate against men who have sex with men, who would like to contribute to the blood supply and would otherwise be eligible donors.”

According to Canadian Blood Services, the change will come into effect on June 3.

“It’s a very significant announcement. As a result, men who have sex with men will be able to give blood after a deferral period of three months,” Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor announced Wednesday.

With files from