The province is making it easier for Albertans to register as organ donors.
Albertans will soon see wait times reduced for life-changing transplants with the proclamation of Bill 207, the Human Tissue and Organ Donation Amendment Act. The Act was originally introduced as a private member’s bill by MLA Len Webber.
“Organ and tissue donation saves lives and we need to make sure Albertans know how important it is. An online registry will make it easy for Albertans to provide their consent to donate, ensuring all Albertans who wish to donate make it known,” said MLA Calgary Foothills Len Webber.
The Act establishes a single agency to co-ordinate organ and tissue donations in Alberta, and creates a consent-to-donate registry. Albertans who are willing to donate their organs and/or tissue will be able to do so either online or at their local registry when they go to renew their driver’s licence or other identification.
Alberta Premier Alison Redford
“I want to thank MLA Len Webber for putting this vitally important legislation forward. Our government is eager to do everything we can to reduce wait times for transplants and give Albertans in need access to the treatment that will save or drastically improve a life,” said Premier Alison Redford .
“We want to take aggressive action to increase tissue and organ donation rates in Alberta. By making it easier for Albertans to register their intent to donate and raise awareness of the need for donors, we can increase the number of organ donations in Alberta,” said Fred Horne Minister of Health.
Up until the new Act was proclaimed, consent to donate needed to be provided in writing, dated, signed and witnessed, to be legally binding. Albertans could also sign the “Universal Donor Card” on the back of the government issued Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan card.
Under the new Act, Albertans renewing their driver’s licences or other pieces of identification will be asked if they consent the donation of his or her tissue, organs or body. They then provide written consent, and the registry agent transmits that information to the Alberta Organ and Tissue Donation Agency for inclusion in the online registry. The applicant will then receive a sticker than can be put on the driver’s licence or other identification to indicate he is a donor. Albertans will also be able to directly register online.
“We are so pleased that the Government of Alberta listened to our concerns. The sad fact is that many Albertans on organ donation wait lists die before a donor is found. This Bill will make a big difference in the lives of many Albertans waiting for transplants,” saiud Nancy MacDonald, Alberta Donates LIFE Coalition
Alberta used to have 17 donors per one million of the population, but that has fallen over the past decade to less than 10. Ontario and British Columbia both outperformed Alberta with a donor rate of 16.3 donors per million and 11.8 donors per million, respectively, in 2011. Ontario, British Columbia and Manitoba have implemented online registries. While donor rates fluctuate, these provinces have successfully raised the public profile of the need to donate.
The donation co-ordination agency is scheduled to be operational by 2015, with full IT system integration across the province within three to five years.
Under the Building Alberta Plan, our government is investing in families and communities, living within our means, and opening new markets for Alberta’s resources to ensure we’re able to fund the services Albertans told us matter most to them. We will continue to deliver the responsible change Albertans voted for.