Organ and Tissue Donation

Organ donation stands as a selfless act, offering the precious gift of life to those in need. Despite the widespread support for organ donation among Canadians, a noticeable disparity exists between intention and action.

In New Brunswick, where approximately 65 individuals await lifesaving organ transplants, only 32% have taken the crucial step of formally registering as donors. However, the process to become a registered organ donor in New Brunswick presents hurdles for citizens. Prospective donors must navigate the intricacies of indicating their intent on their Medicare application or visit Service New Brunswick, creating unnecessary barriers and limiting the potential pool of donors.  

In response to these challenges, the New Brunswick Medical Society alongside Liberal Health Critic, J.C. D’Amours, the Canadian Cancer Society, and the NB Heart and Stroke developed a bill to bring forward change for presumed consent to the Human Tissue Gift Act. This legislation means that New Brunswickers aged 19 and older will automatically be presumed to consent to donate their organs and tissues upon their passing, unless they choose to opt out. On June 16, 2023, the bill was passed and is now known as Avery’s Law. The presumed consent model coupled with strengthening the health system’s transplant program will increase the number of organs available for transplants and will reduce wait times for New Brunswickers in need of a transplant. 

While transition to presumed consent represents a significant leap forward, it is just one element of a broader effort to enhance our healthcare system. It is important to remain attentive to the needs of families grappling with the emotional burden of organ donation decisions, as well as the dedicated clinical teams working tirelessly across the province. To effectively facilitate the change to presumed consent, the NBMS will continue to advocate for adequate funding for clinical teams and families in budget submissions.