Canadian Blood Services Launches Plan to Increase Organ Donations

June 21, 2012 Updated: March 31, 2014

OTTAWA—In an effort to increase organ donations, Canadian Blood Services has launched “Call to Action,” a documented plan for a single organ and tissue donation and transplantation system.

The 174-page document, which deals with organ donation and transplantation (ODT) and tissue donation and transplantation (TDT) issues and goals separately, contains 25 recommendations for the integrated inter-provincial systems that Canadian Blood Services will oversee.

The call is for all Canadians to commit fully to organ and tissue donation and transplantation.
“I’ve talked about increasing transplants but it all starts with increased donations,” Dr. Graham Sher, CEO of Canadian Blood Services, said at a press conference Wednesday.


Sher explained that the strategy is to double the number of tissue donors in five years and to increase organ transplants by 50 percent in 10 years with processes, programs, and infrastructure that are currently lacking.

Right now Canada lags behind Spain, U.S., Britain, and Australia in the number of deceased donors per million population.

“The status quo in Canada is not acceptable. Today we do not meet the needs of Canadian patients, and with advances in medicine and an aging population, demand for organs and for tissues will only increase,” said Sher.

Transplant wait times vary from province to province, with some being up to three times longer than others. Sher said that an increased supply of donor organs and tissues would ensure a more equitable availability without reducing availability in the areas that currently have shorter wait times.

Sher said Canada needs to “create a culture of organ donation in the hospital setting by making donation a routine part of end of life care.”

He is calling on specialized physicians and investment committees to change hospital culture regarding donation opportunities. A donation-physician specialist program will “optimize opportunities and have facilities in place” to smooth the path of donations.


Although “Quebec operates its own tissue system linked to its blood system, Hema-Quebec, the organ system is intended to be a pan-Canadian system,” explained Sher.

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