Nova Scotia legislature passes presumed consent law for organ donation

The act is not expected to be proclaimed as law for a period of 12 to 18 months

The Nova Scotia legislature has unanimously passed legislation that presumes consent for organ donation, becoming the first jurisdiction in North America to pass such legislation.

The Human Organ and Tissue Donation Act was passed as legislators wrapped up their spring sitting on Friday.

However, the act is not expected to be proclaimed as law for a period of 12 to 18 months to allow time for planning, public education and training for health-care workers.

Under the act, all adults in Nova Scotia would be considered potential organ donors unless they opt out.

Families will continue to be consulted about their loved ones’ wishes, while those under 19 and people without decision-making capacity will only be considered as donors if a parent, guardian or alternate decision-maker opts them in.

READ MORE: 3,300 British Columbians register as organ donors in six days time

Premier Stephen McNeil says the goal is to ensure there are more potential organ donors in order to save lives.

“I am grateful for the support our government has received from Nova Scotians as together, we become leaders in North America on the issue of presumed consent for organ and tissue donation,” McNeil said in a statement.

“We are committed to doing better for our fellow citizens awaiting life-saving transplants, and I look forward to collaborating with Nova Scotians as we work toward proclaiming the legislation next year.”

Earlier this week, Dr. Stephen Beed, who heads the province’s transplant program, told a legislature committee that within five years of the legislation’s implementation he expects Nova Scotia would see a 30 per cent increase in organ donations. Beed added that he wouldn’t be surprised if that number increased by as much as 50 per cent.

He said steps will be put in place to ensure the opt-out provisions are clear.

According to the province, 21 Nova Scotians became organ donors in 2018, while 110 people donated tissues such as corneas and heart valves.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Pilot project thins out overgrown forest location

Immediate and long term logging and environmental benefits eyed

Gitga’at and LNG Canada announce new Marine Emergency Response and Research Facility in Hartley Bay

LNG Canada providing financial support as committed in 2014 Impact Mitigation and Benefit Agreement

Chevron’s move to exit Kitimat LNG project a dash of ‘cold water’ for gas industry

Canada Energy Regulator approved a 40-year licence to export natural gas for Kitimat LNG

Snowfall warning continues for parts of B.C.’s Interior

First significant snowfall of the season prompts Environment Canada warning

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Most Read