For those who may not already know, I have been a long-time advocate of organ and tissue donation in Canada and was instrumental in creating the organ donor registry in Alberta a few years ago.
However, the reality is 4,600 Canadians are awaiting a transplant and we need to do more to find those critical matches to save more lives.
I have introduced a Private Member’s Bill, Bill C-316, which proposes a very simple, very effective method to increase the size of the organ donor base in Canada. It will also help update existing databases.
I am proposing we add a line to the annual tax forms that asks Canadians if they would like to become an organ donor and if they want to have this information passed to their provincial government for addition to the existing organ donor registries. The provinces will still be maintaining their own lists and the federal government will just be supplying them with data for that purpose.
The Canada Revenue Agency already successfully shares data every day with all the provinces and territories via encrypted networks with strong and reliable privacy safeguards. In addition, the existing infrastructure would support this change with virtually no cost. CRA already shares dozens of data fields of information on every taxpayer with the provinces and territories and this would simply be one more data field.
The tax form is a way to update this information annually via a legally-binding document. It would allow for lists to remain current and relevant.
Currently, the only proactive approach used by governments is to ask for donors via the driver’s licence registration process. The number of people getting drivers’ licences is dropping every year.
The voluntary online method of registering is neither proactive or fully effective. Those who move from one province to another do not update their information, especially young people who are prime donors. The tax form approach overcomes these common problems and expands the potential donors reached.
Sadly, when someone dies, the tax department is often one of the first government agencies to be notified. This too will help update provincial registries and keep them current. This makes for a more effective and responsive donation system.
I hope I can count on your support for Bill C-316.