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

Cowichan-based company provides glass alternatives to plastic straws

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

Lexi Bainas column: Roger Sparkes honoured, CVAC art show now new and improved

A well-deserved posthumous award goes to Cowichan Theatre’s biggest booster

Workshop helps Cowichan residents understand basic of dementia journey

Free Getting to Know Dementia workshop to Duncan on Thursday, May 2.

Drivesmart column: Liability: pedestrians and drivers turning left

Alexander Zacher was walking to work early on the morning of Oct. 31, 2014 in Tsawwassen.

Robert Barron column: Will the opioid crisis ever end?

There were 31 small white crosses placed about a half-foot apart

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

Coming up in Cowichan: Easter Eggspress; knitting workshops

Hop aboard the Easter Eggspress at the BCFDC The Easter Eggspress is… Continue reading

Trudeau to be portrayed on ‘Simpsons’ episode

Toronto journalist who’s posted videos of himself doing impressions of the PM voiced him for the show

Elizabeth May’s wedding dress a ‘walk through a garden’ on Earth Day

Green Party leader set to get married in Victoria

Campbell River RCMP say alcohol and speed may be factors in collision

Woman injured after driver ran into her car on Highway 19A, says fire captain

Number of ancient humans continues to grow after discovery

Scientists identify at least 12 species outside of Homo sapians following discovery in Philippines

Bodies of 3 mountain climbers recovered after last week’s Banff avalanche

The men disappeared while attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak in the Icefields Parkway

Happy birthday: Queen Elizabeth II turns 93 on Easter Sunday

Sunday is the first of two birthday celebrations each year for the queen

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

Most Read