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The New Brunswick legislature in Fredericton. Image: Brad Perry

N.B. enacts ‘deemed consent’ for organ, tissue donation

By Brad Perry Jun 21, 2023 | 6:40 AM

New Brunswick is moving toward a “deemed consent” model for organ and tissue donation.

A bill introduced by the Liberals received unanimous consent in the legislature last week.

“By changing the provincial process to deemed consent, this bill increases access to human organs and tissues for those awaiting transplant,” Edmundston-Madawaska Centre MLA Jean-Claude D’Amours said in a news release.

Currently, New Brunswickers have to indicate their intent for organ and tissue donation when applying for or renewing their Medicare card.

Under the changes, most residents will automatically be considered for organ and tissue donation, unless they opt out.

The bill, now known as Avery’s Law, will create a registry to record consents or refusals under the Human Organ and Tissue Gift Act.

New Brunswickers would register a decision to consent to the donation of all or some organs and tissues, also called express consent, or opt out of donation entirely.

Those aged 19 and over who choose not to register a decision will be considered potential donors, with a few exceptions. This is referred to as deemed consent.

“This bill will save and improve thousands of lives across the province,” said D’Amours.

New Brunswick is the second province to enact deemed consent legislation for its human organ and tissue donation program. Nova Scotia enacted similar changes in 2021.


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