Third reading of Bill C-210, An Act to amend the Canada Revenue Agency Act (organ and tissue donors)

By: The Hon. Terry Mercer

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Ceremonial Guard, Ottawa

Hon. Terry M. Mercer: Honourable senators, I rise today to briefly speak about Bill C-210, which authorizes the Canada Revenue Agency to enter into an agreement with provinces and territories regarding the collection and disclosure of information required for the establishment and maintaining of an organ and tissue donor registry.

This may sound like a simple bill, but its effect is far from it.

As you know, I was the first executive director of the Kidney Foundation of Canada in Nova Scotia and, indeed, in Atlantic Canada. That was in my previous life, and I thank Senator Kutcher for his kind words about my work there.

Anything we can do to increase organ and tissue donations, we should.

Working with donors and recipients can be challenging when there are so few organs available. You most often cry with the future recipients who are struggling while they wait for transplants, but then you can celebrate with them when they receive one. We should be celebrating more with more recipients, and this bill should help with that.

Let us not forget that we must also honour the donors and their families for making such an important choice to donate their organs and tissues. Their legacy, that of the gift of life, lives on with recipients.

As was mentioned, Nova Scotia became the first place in North America to switch to the opt-out organ and tissue donation law. This is an important step to help save lives, and I am very proud of my province for taking it. I hope, as that the new rules are implemented in Nova Scotia, that we’ll get some data to tell us that this is something worthwhile that other jurisdictions should do.

This bill is also a step forward that could help save lives, so I encourage you all to support it. Thank you, honourable senators.

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

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