To become an organ donor in Alberta, the province currently operates on an opt-in system where you need to actively declare yourself an organ donor. An amendment act has been presented which would switch the Alberta organ donor process to an opt-out system instead. This means that you would automatically become an organ donor unless you refuse.
According to CBC News, The Human Tissue and Organ Donation (Presumed Consent) Amendment Act was presented to MLA Matthew Jones last week on Wednesday, November 6, and passed its first reading. Therefore, it is one step closer to becoming a reality.
The new opt-out program would only apply to Albertans who are 18-years-old or older. The new program under Bill 205 would still require a doctor to confirm organ donation with a person’s next of kin.
As of now, only 19% of Albertans are registered as organ donors, which is low considering a survey by Ipsos concluded that 81% of Canadians say they’d be willing to donate their organs if they were to pass away.
Nova Scotia has already passed a presumed consent law, becoming the first North American jurisdiction to do so.
According to CBC, Albertan UCP members are expected to participate in a free vote on the matter.
A donor “can save up to eight lives and improve the health of more than 75 people,” says CTV News. Though, Tyler Shandro, Alberta Minister of Health, told CBC News that “it's not something to rush into” because the change has the potential to make people feel coerced into organ donation.
Even if the new system is approved, there would be a two-year delay for the opt-out program to be implemented in Alberta.
As of now, there are few cases of deaths resulting in potential organ donation in Canada. More specifically, only 1% of deaths provide potential organ donations.
Many Albertans are posting online, sharing their support for the potential opt-out system.
"Implied organ donation in Alberta would be a quantum leap forward for people on the wait-list, save lives and provide hope," one Twitter user wrote. "Kudos to the UCP for this one," wrote another.
Though, there is also some lashback to the poential change.
"This is wild. So if this law passes, you are automatically an organ donor unless you opt-out....smh" says one post.
The amendment has not yet been approved and Bill 205 will not move forth until it is voted upon by Albertan UCP members.
There has been a lot of buzz sounding the new UCP budget and general Albertan politics in recent weeks. With many changes to the public health sector, this could be another significant change to come.