Bill 207 Passes!
The Human Tissue and Organ Donation Amendment Act was passed yesterday in the Assembly and received royal assent (meaning its law) and that is great news for families waiting for news on whether their loved one's are getting a lifesaving organ.
The law was introduced by Len Webber, a Calgary MLA, and it will establish a single agency to coordinate organ and tissue donations in Alberta and creates a consent-to-donate registry. It makes it easier to tell people you want to donate your organs, like I have. Before this law, you needed your consent to donate your organs provided in writing, dated, signed and witnessed, to be legally binding. Albertans could also sign the universal donor stuff on the back of their health insurance card.
Now you will be able to indicate you wish to donate when renewing your driver's license or other pieces of ID. The registry will then send that information to the Alberta Organ and Tissue Donation Agency for inclusion on the online registry. You will then get a sticker than you can put on your driver's license or other ID to indicate you are willing donor. You will also be able to go directly online to register and offer to donate.
Alberta has less than 10 donors per one million people while Ontario has 16.3 donors per million. Ontario, British Columbia, and Manitoba have online registries which helped increase the public profile of the need to donate. Hopefully in a few years that will also increase the donor rate.
According to the government news release, the donation coordination agency will be operational by 2015 with a full IT system integrated across the province within 3 to 5 years.
This is awesome news for those waiting for an organ donation. It is also great news for families like mine waiting for the news that a wife, son or daughter will now need an organ transplant because of failing kidney functions.
You can read more about the bill here.
Send Mr. Webber a note thanking him for getting this done! Private Member's Bills rarely pass, rarer still is when they become law, so this is an enormous accomplishment. You can send him thank at Calgary.firstname.lastname@example.org