Presumed consent the new norm – Fortin calls for revamped organ donation system

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Allyson Beauregard


Allyson Beauregard

On November 5, Pontiac MNA André Fortin introduced Bill 399 in the National Assembly, “An Act to establish a presumption of consent to organ or tissue donation after death” that seeks to modify the organ donation process. If adopted, the bill will amend the Civil Code so those of full age are presumed to authorize the removal of organs or tissues after death unless they opt out; the exact opposite of how the system currently works.
“As of now, citizens are presumed to not consent to organ donation unless they sign their health card to indicate they do. The bill would reverse this, so
citizens who do not consent to organ donation would be required to sign the back of their cards,” explained Fortin.
According to Fortin, the purpose of the bill is to simplify organ or tissue donation and save lives. “This Bill is important for one reason alone. There are currently 800 Quebecers waiting for an organ transplant and every year, many pass away before receiving the organ that would have saved them. The idea was to increase the number of potential donors, while keeping it simple for individuals to indicate their opposition,” he told the Journal.
Families of the deceased will continue to have the last word, which is currently the case; if they do not consent, it won’t happen. For minors under 14 years old and
those without decision-making ability, parental or guardian consent is required.
Bill 399 also includes a clause requiring the Minister of Health and Social Services to report to the government within five years of the Bill coming into effect and
every five years after that to determine how it is impacting organ donation statistics.
Nova Scotia is set to adopt a similar bill by late 2020. According to the province’s website, a single organ donor can save up to 8 lives, and a single tissue donor can help up to 75 people. The Conservative government in Alberta has also brought forward a similar bill.