Mr. Chair, I think there are about three or four reasons why.
First, people are reticent to donate organs because they are reticent to donate organs, especially living donors who ask where they would be left if they gave one of their kidneys and something happened that made their other kidney go wonky. Therefore people are reticent. It is a natural feeling. However, this is where it needs to be discussed, one on one, to understand that this is not a huge risk.
Second, a lot of people feel it will cost them money. This is a very interesting myth. People think that if they do this then they will have to bear the cost of the whole transplantation, when it is covered under medicare. People need to have that explained.
Third, a lot of people think there is an age limit to donation. I was reading the other day about a 102-year-old woman who donated to one of her grandchildren, and the organ was fine. There are some organs that can still be donated by people, the sclera on their eyes, et cetera. Age really has nothing to do with it, because once the organ is there then all of the people on the transplantation team decide whether that organ is a match, whether it is a safe organ, et cetera.
However, something that is very important is the ability of physicians and primary care providers to sit down, one on one, and talk with their patients about death, life and organ donations. It is not an easy thing to do, so there needs to be some kind of education of physicians and primary care providers to put this on the table and find ways to donate, to discuss it in a sensitive manner, to be able to answer some of the questions patients may or may not ask, or to be able to sit down with a family and talk about this. These are some of the things we need to look at clearly and to decide.
As well, as I said, this is being done in Ontario right now, or the Trillium Gift of Life Network is thinking of doing it, explaining to people who have already signed a donation card or their driver's licence that it is not necessary to go and seek family approval after that. It is a discussion that must happen. Most families say that because it is their mother or father they do not want to allow it, because they do not believe that when the mother or father agreed he or she was thinking clearly. However, sometimes we have to respect the wishes of people, and that needs discussion at the level of the physician and patient or primary care worker and patient.