The Current

Drafting policies to increase organ donations is complex but must be done, say experts

Premier Brad Wall's call to adopt a policy of presumed consent puts a spotlight on the challenges to increase organ donations in Canada.
Canada's federal system for health care makes it harder to implement policies to increase organ donations as each province has a different level of implementing policy. (Whitney Curtis/Associated Press)

Read story transcript

The new year means some big changes when it comes to organ donations in France.

As of January 1, 2017,  the European country has strengthened its "presumed consent" policy — meaning a person does not need to "opt in" to donate your organs after death, but rather everyone is presumed to be a donor. The onus is on a person who chooses not to donate to opt out.

The idea has been raised in Canada as well, most recently by Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, who says he'd like to see his province move toward a presumed consent model.

Canada currently ranks 23rd on the international list for organ donations, needing to improve the facilitation of transplants.

We're one of the greatest countries in the world … yet we have one of the worst organ registration rates.-  Michael Ravenhill, CEO of the David Foster Foundation

Only the 18-20 per cent of the population is registered to become donors now, while statistics show a presumed consent model increases the donor pool to 80 per cent.  

Should Canada consider changing its policy to an opt-out model? With health care largely the jurisdiction of provinces, how would we go about doing so?

The Current tasks experts in the transplant community to weigh the options. 

Listen to the full conversation at the top of this post. 

This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry.