Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to participate in the debate on Motion No. 189 and to support my colleague from Thérèse-De Blainville in his effort to promote awareness of organ donation and facilitate the sharing of best practices among the provinces to help build a system that will work across Canada.
It was heartening to listen to the stories shared during the first hour of debate on September 27. It is important to share these success stories and to look at what works in other provinces, territories and countries as we improve our own system. Unfortunately, it often takes a tragedy to provoke action. The numbers do not lie. Two hundred and fifty Canadians still die waiting for a transplant.
In other cases, like the one my colleague from Guelph mentioned, a successful organ donation can promote awareness and encourage more donors. This shows that personal stories, communication and community play an essential role in promoting awareness of organ donation. We must use our local and provincial resources to increase the number of donors, understand what works and develop a national system that is accessible to all Canadians.
Since 1986, Quebeckers just have to sign the back of their health card to officially become an organ donor.
In Ontario, Service Ontario has created the BeADonor.ca website, where people can quickly and easily register in three steps that take less than two minutes. They only need to register once.
A similar process has been in place in British Columbia since 1997. By visiting transplant.bc.ca, anyone can add their name to the registry in minutes.
These systems are found in different provinces. They are easy to access and quick and easy to use. However, in other provinces, resources are limited, which penalizes Canadians who do not have access to them.
Motion No. 189 will allow us to study, share and focus these methods on a common goal, which is to establish a fair nationwide organ and tissue donation system that will ensure we have effective services.
I would like to acknowledge the exceptional work done by the Canadian Organ and Tissue Donors Association, which has been raising awareness since 1983 and providing emergency transport since 1987. From 1987 to December 2017, CODA transported just over 15,000 organs. Of that number, since 2014, 103 transports have been carried out in my city, Laval, by roughly 20 volunteers from the Laval police force.
The success of organ donation does not lie in the generosity of Canadians alone, but also in collaboration between various services, from medical professionals to the countless volunteers who transport these organs and tissues to their final destination. It is our duty to work with the provincial and municipal governments to support and equip our emergency services so that they can do their job effectively. The work that the doctors and nurses do is vital to the success of organ and tissue donations. Let us ensure that they are supported and that the methods that we put in place are beneficial to them as well.
As the hon. member for Thérèse-De Blainville mentioned, we must not forget the human side of this debate. The consent given by the deceased person is sometimes rescinded by their family. This may be due to a lack of communication or a reaction to the loss of a loved one.
People should not have to grapple with decisions like that when they are grieving. The moments following death should be a time to mourn together without having to debate such a sensitive issue.
That is where a plan to increase awareness can help people avoid situations like that. The process should be the same regardless of where a Canadian citizen lives. It is also our duty to communicate information properly, encourage communication with loved ones and break down taboos around organ donation.
We need to remind Canadians that they can register as donors no matter their age. We also have to make sure they know that they can be living donors. That idea might scare some people, which is why awareness campaigns are important.
I feel that the Standing Committee on Health's report on organ donation in Canada is a good starting point with respect to the steps we need to take to act on the recommendations in Motion No. 189.
In closing, I can personally attest to the value of organ donation for those in need. My uncle passed away a few years ago, and because his family donated his eyes, two people were able to see again. In many cases, those involved cannot see the difference they make for themselves, but my cousin had the opportunity to meet those two individuals and to see first-hand the positive impact of organ donation on their lives.
Canada's first face transplant was carried out two months ago in Montreal. What an extraordinary medical feat. It was a total transplant, not just the skin, but the entire face: the nose, its cartilage, the jawbone, teeth and mouth. Only a few patients around the world have undergone a total face transplant.
This encourages us to donate our organs and tissues, especially when we know that one tissue donor can save up to 20 people. Obviously, a lot of work remains to be done to make organ donation a widespread practice in Canada. However, we have valuable tools at our disposal and the will to improve the situation.
I believe that with Motion No. 189, a system can be created that works for everyone, regardless of where the person who needs an organ donation lives. Canadians are very generous. I am confident that we will find the best methods for standardizing organ donation across Canada and encouraging Canadians to get involved and help promote this cause.
I have signed my organ donation card. What about the rest of my colleagues?