Northern Ontario dominates a newly-released ranking of towns and cities that have the most registered organ donors.

In many northern communities, half of the population has signed up.

Greater Sudbury leads the way, however Timmins, North Bay, Sturgeon Falls and Sault Ste. Marie are also in the top 20.

At the bottom of the list are Toronto and several of its suburbs, where only 13 per cent of people are organ donors.

Ronnie Gavsie, the CEO of the Trillium Gift of Life Network, said she believes more northerners are organ donors because they come from tight-knit communities.

'We try to learn from the success of northern Ontario.' —Ronnie Gavsie, the CEO of the Trillium Gift of Life Network

"We certainly, very deliberately, try to learn from the successes of northern Ontario," Gavsie said. "And translate those learnings, spread those learnings to other communities."

The list of 181 Ontario towns and cities is topped by three areas of Greater Sudbury. Fourty-nine per cent of the residents of Garson, Hanmer and Lively have signed up as organ donors.

Gavsie said staff regularly talks about how to make the south more like the north.

"In close-knit communities, where you have highly cohesive neighbourhoods, where values are shared in the communities, we have higher registration," she said.

In Toronto, only 13 per cent of people are registered organ donors — and it's even lower in suburbs like Mississauga and Brampton.

Gavsie says the Trillium network was thinking of those cities when it decided to post these numbers online "in the hope of motivating people to share the information and elevate the numbers. Facts drive action."

To see how your hometown ranks, go to on