The Human Organ and Tissue Donation Act

Earlier this week our Premier introduced North America’s most progressive organ and tissue donation legislation, The Human Organ and Tissue Donation Act . I applaud the efforts of those families affected by this and as well the medical community who worked so hard to make this a reality.

It is sobering to know that a person is six times more likely to need an organ than to donate an organ. However, it is also important to know that one generous person can save the life of up to 8 people. From tragedy comes hope.

Here is the statement made by Premier McNeil:

Organ and tissue donation is near and dear to the hearts of many Nova Scotians. And I can tell this house that it is a priority for our government and for me personally.

Organ and tissue donation not only saves lives, it gives hope to those waiting for life-saving transplants.

It should be noted that Nova Scotia has the highest rate of donor registration in the country. It’s clear, and not surprising, that Nova Scotians place a high value on organ and tissue donation. But there are still people waiting for life-saving transplants every year and this legislation will help make our donation rates even higher.

The Human Organ and Tissue Donation Act presumes everyone to be a potential donor, allowing those who do not wish to be a donor to opt out. Nova Scotia will be the first jurisdiction in North America to have such legislation.

I firmly believe that Nova Scotians who require a transplant will have a better chance of getting the lifesaving donation they need because of this act.

We also know that many families have been comforted during their time of grief knowing that a fellow Nova Scotian will have a new lease on life as a result of their loved one’s donation.

It is important to note that through this legislation, Nova Scotians continue to have a choice about donation. Anyone can opt out of becoming a donor at any time.

There will be a period of time before this legislation comes into effect that will allow government to make Nova Scotians aware of these changes and their options.

In the meantime, I encourage all Nova Scotians to discuss this topic with their loved ones. When this act comes into effect, families will continue to be consulted about the wishes of their loved ones regarding organ or tissue donation. But this is an important conversation for families to have and it is vital to know the wishes of your loved ones, so they may be respected.

Before I conclude, I want to say how pleased I was to be joined today by many people and organizations who play a vital role in encouraging donations and supporting those who are awaiting transplants. I appreciate their help in getting us here today and their ongoing work to support Nova Scotians.