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

Mandatory spaying and neutering looms for outdoor Chemainus cats

North Cowichan considers bylaw to control stray and feral cat issues

Fisheries and oceans minister spends Earth Day in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Jonathan Wilkinson in riding to support candidate Michelle Corfield

Climate action can’t be a partisan issue, say Greens

Green Party of Canada celebrated Earth Day early in Nanaimo

Editorial: Climate change is a good reason to cast a vote

Different choices around climate action and inaction will be on the ballot in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Climate action can’t be a partisan issue, say Greens

Green Party of Canada celebrated Earth Day early in Nanaimo

United Way opens grants to help charities tackle social issues

Charities north of the Malahat can apply for grants $2,000 to $20,000

Anti-immigration party is on the ballot in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Opposing candidate says National Citizens Alliance’s participation ‘highly problematic’

Second earthquake in less than two hours strikes off Vancouver Island

The first earthquake happened at 1:27 p.m., the second at 2:44 p.m.

PHOTOS: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says ‘I do’ on Earth Day

May and John Kidder got married Monday morning in Victoria

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Vancouver Island-based company provides glass alternatives to plastic straws

Enviro Glass Straws now producing more than 60,000 straws each year

Most Read