Len Webber's Bill Would Make It Easier For Canadians To Become Organ Donors

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A Conservative MP has introduced an extraordinarily simple private member’s bill that he believes has the potential to save many lives.

Calgary-Confederation MP Len Webber tabled Bill C-316 Wednesday, which seeks to ask Canadians if they wish to become organ donors through their tax returns.

With one's consent, the information would be passed on to provincial or territorial governments to be added to existing donor registries.

That’s it. That’s all.

len webber
Len Webber speaks in Calgary on Jan. 20, 2014. (Photo: Bill Graveland/CP)

The bill is just a few short paragraphs and seeks only to amend the Canada Revenue Agency Act.

Webber told the House of Commons that 4,600 Canadians are currently awaiting organ transplants.

“We can help,” he said.

The bill is a “sensible, cost-effective way of using an existing and legally-binding document” to update organ donor registries each year, the MP said.

Simply 'collecting vital information'

In a press release, Webber said he expects all parties to get behind his proposed legislation because it completely respects the right of provinces to run their own registries. It also abides by existing privacy and information-sharing agreements.

“The federal government would simply be collecting vital information and passing it along in a timely manner to ensure registries are up-to-date and as comprehensive as possible,” he said in the release.

Webber, a former Alberta MLA, introduced a bill in 2013 that eventually led to the province’s first organ and tissue registry.

National registry bill defeated

In June, Liberal MPs defeated a private member’s bill from Tory MP Ziad Aboultaif that sought to create a national organ donor registry.

At the time, Health Minister Jane Philpott said the bill was “unsupportable” because organ registries were under provincial jurisdiction.

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