New legislation to improve organ and tissue donation rates
The Redford government is taking action to improve Alberta’s organ and tissue donation rates and lower transplant wait times across the country, in an effort to save and improve more lives.
The government will bring forward a motion tonight to adopt Private Member’s Bill, the Human Tissue and Organ Donation Amendment Act, 2013 — or Bill 207 — as a government bill.
“Our government is thrilled to adopt this good idea — I know this legislation will give us more tools to increase donation rates and save lives,” said Premier Alison Redford. “We need to encourage more Albertans to consider becoming an organ donor and I am absolutely convinced that Bill 207 will set the stage for achieving that legacy in our province.”
The Human Tissue and Organ Donation Amendment Act will establish one agency to co-ordinate organ and tissue donation activities in Alberta, including work to increase public awareness. This agency will report to the Minister of Health. The legislation also proposes the creation of an organ and tissue consent-to-donate registry. Albertans who are willing to donate their organs and/or tissue will be able to provide online consent.
“We believe that by making it easier for people to register their intent to donate and by raising awareness of the need, we can dramatically increase organ and tissue donations in our province,” said Fred Horne, Minister of Health. “I thank Len Webber for his leadership in bringing this legislation forward as a Private Member’s Bill. Because it is of such vital importance, we want to adopt it as a government bill.”
“I am proud that this bill is moving forward with the government’s support,” said Len Webber, MLA for Calgary-Foothills and sponsor of the original Private Member’s Bill. “This legislation is going to a have a positive impact on organ and tissue donor rates, and ultimately many lives will be saved.”
Alberta lags behind other provinces in donation rates for organs and tissues. The province’s deceased organ donation rate was 16-17 donors per million population from 1995 to 2005; by 2011, the rate had dropped to 5-7 donors per million population. This compares to 16.3 donors per million population in Ontario and 11.8 donors per million population in British Columbia in 2011.
According to data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information for 2011, there were 324 Albertans actively waiting for a kidney transplant, 94 Albertans actively waiting for a liver transplant, 57 Albertans actively waiting for either a single or a double lung transplant, and 17 Albertans actively waiting for a heart transplant. Alberta has one of Canada’s highest incidences of diabetes, which is a leading cause of kidney failure requiring dialysis.
Our government was elected to keep building Alberta, to live within its means and to fight to open new markets for Alberta’s resources. We will continue to deliver the responsible change Albertans voted for.