By Kaitlyn Schaeffer

“Manitoba has an organ and tissue donor crisis,” explains the spokesperson for Manitobians for Presumed Consent. “The demand for organ and tissues far exceeds the availability. To make matters worse, the demand for organs is expected to drastically rise in the decades ahead. Manitoba has the worst organ donation rate in Canada, and Canada has one of the worst organ donation rates in the entire western world.”

Concerned citizen Bryan Dyck is determined to help change Manitoba’s current organ donation policies: “We need to create a system that not only saves lives but reflects the wishes of Manitobians.” He has discussed presumed consent policies with the provincial government. Such a system turns the traditional and more common system on its head, allowing for the donation of organ and tissues unless the individual has explicitly made clear in an appropriate legal way that he or she does not wish to donate. Currently, to be an organ donor in Manitoba, individuals must sign a donor card or register online.

If Manitoba makes the switch, it will be the first Canadian province to enact presumed consent policies. Such legislation can save health-care costs, and one donor can save up to eight lives.

Health Minister Sharon Blady is approaching this issue with caution. “There isn’t a consensus on the issue,” she said.

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