Support for New Organ and Tissue Donation Rules Rises in Canada

Seven-in-ten Canadians think their province should consider every adult an organ and tissue donor unless they specifically opt-out.

Vancouver, BC [August 25, 2020] – Seven-in-ten Canadians are in favour of their province implementing new regulations for organ and tissue donation after death, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 70% of Canadians believe their province should “definitely” or “probably” implement an “Active Donor Registration” system for organ and tissue donation after death. This represents at seven-point increase since a similar Research Co. survey conducted in August 2019.

Some jurisdictions around the world have established “Active Donor Registration” systems for organ and tissue donation. Under these systems, every person over the age of 18 is considered an organ and tissue donor after death unless they specifically opt-out of a registry.


“Public support for Active Donor Registration has increased markedly over the past year across Canada,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Sizeable majorities of Canadians in every region of the country would favour enacting this modification for organ and tissue donation after death in their own province.”


The highest level of support for an “Active Donor Registration” system for organ and tissue donation after death is observed in Alberta (74%), followed by Manitoba and Saskatchewan (73%), Quebec (also 73%), Atlantic Canada (also 73%), Ontario (68%) and British Columbia (65%).

Two thirds of Canadians aged 35-to-54 (67%) support the change to an “Active Donor Registration” system in their province. The proportion of supporters for this modification is higher among Canadians aged 55 and over (69%) and Canadians aged 18-to-34 (75%).

Only 18% of Canadians believe their province should not move to implement an opt-out system for organ and tissue donation—down seven points in a year—and 12% are undecided.

In 2019, Nova Scotia’s House of Assembly unanimously passed the “Human Organ and Tissue Act”. The law makes every single person who has resided in the province for at least a year a potential organ and tissue donor after death. Nova Scotians who do not wish to be donors are able to opt-out of the system.

Nova Scotia’s “Human Organ and Tissue Act” will come into effect on January 18, 2021.

Results are based on an online study conducted from August 7 to August 9, 2020, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.