Uniform labelling

Canadian guidelines for the uniform labelling of blood and blood components using ISBT 128

Labelling of blood and blood components by blood operators in Canada aligns with the ISBT 128 Standard: Technical Specification (published by ICCBBA, Inc.), the definitive source describing the ISBT 128 labelling standard. There are several options outlined in this document that are to be nationally determined. The Canadian Guidelines for the Uniform Labelling of Blood and Blood ComponentsUsing ISBT 128 describes the options selected by the Canadian blood operators, Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec, for use in Canada and is intended to be used in conjunction with the ISBT 128 Standard: Technical Specification.

For further information regarding ISBT 128, or to access the ISBT 128 Standard: Technical Specification, visit the ICCBBA website at ICCBBA.org. Access to ISBT 128 databases is provided to facilities that register with ICCBBA, Inc. and updates will be made available to facilities that maintain their registration through payment of an annual license fee.

A guide to ISBT 128 implementation

ISBT 128 is an international standard for the labelling of blood components with the objective of achieving international consistency in the information provided on component end labels and the placement of such information. The standard uses Code 128 barcode symbology which is more robust and offers more data control. One of the key benefits of the ISBT 128 labelling standard is the unique numbering of all blood components. The information on this website is intended to provide background to assist hospital staff as they transition to the ISBT 128 standard.

Below are information and resources that hospitals may find useful as they prepare for ISBT 128 implementation:


If you have a specific question about ISBT 128 that is not answered in the information above, please contact your Canadian Blood Services Hospital Liaison Specialist.