April is ‘Be a Donor Month’ and is an opportunity to encourage Canadians to become a registered organ and tissue donor.
My Private Member’s Bill C-316 would dramatically improve organ and tissue donation by amending the annual tax form to allow Canadians the opportunity to register as an organ donor.
The Bill has passed unanimously through the House of Commons and is now in the Senate. If the Senate can pass the Bill this Spring, we will see the changes next tax season.
There are 4,500 Canadians awaiting a life-saving transplant and every 30 hours one of those people dies because a viable donor is not available. Each donor can save up to eight lives.
You are not too old to donate. The oldest Canadian organ donor was 90 and the oldest Canadian tissue donor was 102.
Being a registered organ donor will not impact the level of life-saving care you receive. The suitability of you being an organ donor is only discussed after life-saving efforts have failed and your family has reaffirmed that a donation should occur.
Most major religions are in favour of organ donation. Other religions will permit a donation only if it is to save a life. Please talk to your faith leader in advance if you are not sure.
As I said in the House of Commons, “There is a significant problem in Canada. Research has shown that as many as one in five potential organ and tissue donors has their final wish overturned by their families at their time of death. That is 20% of families who are overturning the wishes of their deceased loved ones. That is just sad. The decision by their families are robbing those in need of a life-saving transplant of a chance to live. It is beyond my understanding how we can allow people to die at a rate of five a week, while at the same time burying, incinerating or putting to rest perfectly good organs every single day. To me, this is unconscionable and has to change. We can – and must – do better.”