ST. ANDREW’S WEST — Spearheaded by St. Andrew’s West resident Myles Lynch, a new e-petition to the House of Commons calls on the federal government to study the creation of a “National Opt-Out program” for organ and tissue donation.
Sponsored by local MP Eric Duncan, the petition urges the government to direct the Standing Committee on Health to launch a feasibility study into the idea of presumed consent for organ and tissue donation unless Canadians specifically “opt out” before their deaths.
The example has already been set in Nova Scotia. In an effort to make more organs available, that province became the first jurisdiction in North America to pass a presumed consent law last year. Set to come into effect in mid to late 2020, the Nova Scotia system will treat all residents as “potential donors” unless they have opted out, the province’s website says. Family members are still consulted on their loved ones’ wishes.
Studying the feasibility of a national version would be done “with the hope of saving countless lives across Canada,” Duncan’s office says in a press release.
More than 4,500 Canadians currently await an organ transplant. Two hundred and sixty Canadians died last year while waiting for a potential donor. Meanwhile, the vast majority of Canadians — over 90 percent — support organ and tissue donation, yet many do not take the time to make their wishes known to family and loved ones, or sign up online to indicate their desire to donate.
“In my case, I was fortunate enough to have had three organ transplants over the last five years, but for every exceptional case like mine, there are many others whose time runs about before a good match can be found,” said Lynch. “I felt it important for me to try and do whatever I can to help many more, and the creation of a national opt-out program could save thousands of lives per year for generations to come.”
“I believe a key role as a Member of Parliament is to connect constituents with resources to advocate for issues that are important to them. Myles’ life story is inspiring and I am happy to help him raise awareness on a cause very personal to him,” said Duncan.
Find the petition online at https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-
2398 or on Duncan’s website at www.ericduncanmp.ca