Deceased organ donation in Canada: an opportunity to heal a fractured system

Am J Transplant. 2008 Aug;8(8):1580-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2008.02314.x.


There has been no significant increase in the number of deceased organ donors in Canada over the past decade. Canada's donation and transplant system will be restructured with the formation of a new national organization to oversee activity in provincially governed donation and transplantation services. We review the current status of deceased organ donation, highlight issues contributing to the current stagnation in donation and identify changes that will enable success in a new Canadian system. Determining Canada's organ donation performance is difficult because the data required to calculate meaningful metrics of donation performance are not available. Canadians wait longer for transplantation than Americans, and Canada is falling further behind the United States primarily because of fewer donations after cardiac death. The ongoing divide between intergovernmental jurisdictional domains limits national initiatives to improve Canada's donation system. The success of a new national system will be enabled by uniform provincial legislation to ensure that all patients are offered the option to donate, commitment of resources to support organ donation by provincial governments, transparent reporting of comparable metrics of donation performance, establishment of processes to introduce and implement new initiatives and alterations to reimbursement models for organ donation and recovery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Heart Transplantation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Registries*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / organization & administration*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / statistics & numerical data*
  • Waiting Lists