March 29th, 2022

MPP Gélinas tables bill to increase organ donation

QUEEN’S PARK — NDP Health critic France Gélinas held a press conference to discuss the planned introduction of the Peter Kormos Memorial Act (Saving Organs to Save Lives), 2022, which would change organ and tissue donation in Ontario from an opt-in system to a soft opt-out system.

“This bill will take people off transplant wait lists,” said Gélinas. “It will help not only save lives, but help transplant recipients live longer, more productive lives by getting people their transplants sooner.”

MPP Gélinas was joined by Dr. Nick Lacivita who is in need of a kidney.

“I strongly urge the politicians of Ontario to swing the pendulum in the direction of Nova Scotia to quickly pass such a right and just law, because it is the humane thing to do. I live in the greatest country in the world and we can make it better,” said Dr. Lacivita.

Gélinas said that many people want to donate their organs, but don’t fill out the correct paperwork.

“Ontario has among the best organ donation surgeons and nurses in the world. We have the skills and the knowledge to do those procedures, the specialized hospital programs to care for the recipients, the dedicated workers to support donor and recipient families. But although 90 per cent of Ontarians want to be a donor, only 36 per cent are registered. My bill would change the lives of hundreds of people on the organ transplant list today,” said Gélinas.

The bill is named after Welland MPP Peter Kormos, who was passionate about organ donation. Kormos died March 30, 2013.

“We have laws that ensure that in the event somebody dies without a will, his or her assets are distributed to the next of kin,” said Kormos in 2006. “If you don't make a will in this province, it's presumed that you intend for your assets to be given to your children, your grandchildren and your sisters and brothers in a statutory schedule of who constitutes next of kin. I tell you that presumed intent legislation would do the same for organs.”

After introducing a presumed consent system in January 2021, Nova Scotia saw an increase of 40 per cent in tissue donated and increase in donors.