2011.03 National Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Registry

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Whereas, Canada does not have a national organ and tissue donation and transplantation registry; and

Whereas, A national registry with a comprehensive database could make information about organs and tissues available for donation throughout Canada ensuring that more Canadians receive the organs and tissues they urgently need; therefore, be it

Resolved, That the national council of The Catholic Women's League of Canada in 91 st annual national convention assembled urge the federal government to establish and implement a national organ and tissue donation and transplantation registry.

BRIEF: National Organ Donor and Tissue Registry  

In 2007 and 2008 there were more than 2,000 organ transplants performed in Canada, while at the same time more than 4,300 Canadians remained on a waiting list for transplantation. During that period 215 died without receiving the transplant that might have saved their lives (Canadian Blood Services, New Polling ; Canadian Institute for Health Information, Organ Replacement ).

Canada is the only country in the western world without a national organ donor registry. Instead, each province has its own provincial agency to deal with organ donation, and often there is no way of telling if a suitable donor is available out-of-province. ( National Transplant, p. 1 ).

A single deceased organ donor can save up to seven lives by passing on the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and pancreas. Meanwhile, tissue, ligament and bone donations can greatly improve the quality of a recipient's life (CIHI, Organ Donor , p. 2-3).

In 1999 a report by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, and a second report by the National Coordinating Committee for Organ and Tissue Donation, Distribution and Transplantation, highlighted concerns about the growing gap between the supply and the demand for organ and tissue transplants in Canada. Both reports proposed the development of a national strategy and the formation of a council of experts to assist in developing and monitoring the strategy. The Canadian Council for Donation and Transplantation (CCDT) was thus established. However, the CCDT focused mainly on conducting consultation and making recommendations on standards and clinical practice guidelines (Norris, p. 4-5).

A 2008 parliamentary report on Organ Donation and Transplantation in Canada recommended that a central, national, information management system be established with the co-operation of provincial and territorial jurisdictions. It also recommended that the Canadian Blood Services (or other body) study the information management system used in the United States to determine whether a similar system would be appropriate for Canada. Finally, it recommended that a campaign of public awareness be implemented to inform the public of the importance of organ donation (Norris, p. 1-6).

In 2009, Canadian Blood Services (CBS) was commissioned with reviewing how organ donation and transplantation is conducted in Canada, including regional public dialogues. Participants called for a national approach to the issue, with standardized policies and procedures on safety, quality, registries and allocation. This would be a fair and equitable system ensuring people would receive timely, safe, high quality care in relation to organ and tissue transplantation and donation, regardless of one's province or territory of residence, or financial situation (Canadian Blood Services).

More people could be saved if Canada had an effective organ donation and transplantation system that was less bureaucratic, and better coordinated. Canadians want a system that ensures equitable access to donation and transplantation, no matter where they live.


Canadian Blood Services. New Polling Shows Overwhelming Support for Organ and Tissue Donation . [Ottawa]: CBS, August 13, 201 0. (website)



Canadian Institute for Health Information. Organ Donor Activity in Canada, 1999 to 2008(Analysis in Brief). [Ottawa]: CIHI, December 22, 2009.



Canadian Institute for Health Information. Organ Replacement. [Ottawa]: CIHI, [2011]. (website)



National Transplant Registry Needed. Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News , September 1, 2010.



Norris, Sonja. Organ Donation and Transplantation in Canada (Publication PRB 08-24E).

[Ottawa]: Library of Parliament, June 25, 2009.