The Human Organ and Tissue Gift Act, now known as Avery’s Law, introduced by the Official Opposition received unanimous consent of the Legislative Assembly and Royal Assent. New Brunswick is now the second province in Canada to enact deemed consent legislation for its human organ and tissue donation program. In the coming months, the Department Health will likely review the legislation and develop the regulations and procedures to implement the program.
“By changing the provincial process to deemed consent, this bill increases access to human organs and tissues for those awaiting transplant,” explains Jean-Claude D’Amours, MLA for Edmundston-Madawaska Centre who developed and proposed the bill. “I would like to thank my colleagues, the members of the Legislative Assembly, and the New Brunswickers that lent their voice to speak out on this very important issue. This bill will save and improve thousands of lives across the province. It’s a good day for New Brunswick.”
Avery’s Law will create a registry to record consents or refusals under the Act. New Brunswickers would register a decision to consent to donation of all or some organs and tissues (also called ‘express consent’) or opt out of donation. Those aged 19 and over, who are not exempt or opted out, will be considered for organ and tissue donation. Those who choose not to register a decision will still be considered a potential donor, but with a few exceptions. Under this legislation, their decision will be deemed or considered to have been given. This is referred to as deemed consent.
“It gives me great hope to see this legislature work together to pass this important bill. It’s an honor to work with a team developing legislation that promotes New Brunswick as a leader in health care in Canada,” says Liberal Leader Susan Holt. “Together, we have given recipients their lives back and helped the legacy of Avery and many donors to come, live on.”