Majority support opt-out system of organ donation in B.C., poll finds
Most British Columbians would support a system where adults are automatically considered organ donors unless they decide to opt out, according to a new survey.
The Research Co. poll found a full two-thirds of B.C. residents believe the province should either "definitely" or "probably" adopt what's known as an active donor registration system.
Those systems would consider anyone over the age of 18 an organ and tissue donor until they remove themselves from the donor registry.
Pollsters saw similarly strong support for the system in Alberta and Quebec, with slight dips in other provinces. Ontario was the least enthusiastic, with 57 per cent saying Canada should "definitely" or "probably" implement an active donor registration.
Across the country, 63 per cent of respondents expressed support for the switch.
Earlier this year, Nova Scotia passed its own "opt out" policy, the Human Organ and Tissue Donation Act, which applies to all residents aged 19 and older.
At the time, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said his government will be watching the results of the policy closely, but that there were no plans to implement something similar at home.
Some experts argue opt-out policies lead to a substantial increase in donation rates, pointing to successes in parts of Europe, but the idea has still seen some pushback in Canada – even as people die every year waiting for a transplant.
Statistics show 27 people died while on a transplant wait list last year in B.C. alone.
However, B.C. Transplant has also noted that a very small fraction of people die in a way that allows their organs to be donated.
Research Co.'s poll also broke its results down by voting record, with the widest support for active donor registration (72 per cent) recorded among people who voted NDP in the 2015 election.
That was followed by Liberal voters at 69 per cent and Conservative voters at 60 per cent.
The survey was conducted online from Aug. 12-14 among 1,000 adults across the country. Polls of that size have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.