Live Life and Pass it On: How to Register as an Organ Donor

Nine years ago today, Rumble Supershake founder Paul Underhill received a life-saving double-lung transplant. Within weeks, Paul went from being on oxygen 24/7 to being able to stand, walk, and ride his bike. 

Thanks to the generosity of his lung donor and their family, Paul was given the gift of life. In honour of his ‘lungiversary’ (and Organ Donation Awareness Month in BC!), we’re spreading the word about organ donation. Joining your province’s donor registry is the easiest thing you can do to ‘live life and pass it on’ - and it only takes a few minutes. 

Why Register as an Organ Donor

There are 4,500 people in Canada waiting for an organ transplant, and 250 people who die every year without receiving one. Only 1% of all deaths occur in circumstances suitable for organ donation, so even if you’re registered, you’re six times more likely to need a transplant than to end up becoming an organ donor. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to get as many people registered as possible.

Still not Sure?

One organ donor can save up to eight lives - eight! You don’t have to be young and in perfect health, either, because it’s the health of your organs which matters. That said, your life always comes first. The organ donation process is completely separate from the health care staff who look after you if you need life-saving treatment. It’s only once doctors have determined that everything has been done to help you that they will begin to talk to your family about organ donation. 

Speaking of talking to your Family...

Medical teams don’t go ahead with organ donation against a family’s wishes, so it’s super important that you talk to your family about your decision. Registering makes the conversation between the medical team and your family easier, because in almost all cases, families honour the decision if they have evidence that’s what you wanted. 

Ready to register, or not sure if you’re already registered? Here’s how to apply or check your status, wherever you live in Canada:

British Columbia

You only need to register once, either online or with paper forms at ICBC or Service Canada. Not sure if you’re already registered? You can quickly verify registration online with your personal health number. You must be at least 19 years old to register. 

Alberta

As of March 31, 2020, you can now register or check your status online

Saskatchewan

There’s no donor registry yet, but you can get a sticker for your health card or complete an Intent to Donate form for your own health records. Most importantly, talk to your family about your decision. 

Manitoba

Register your status online

Ontario

Register or check your status online. Must be at least 16 years old to register.

Quebec

There’s no online registration yet, but you can download a personalized consent form to mail. 

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is launching a new organ donation program this year which is opt-out only. Under the new program, everyone will be eligible for organ donation unless they opt-out. Until then, you can download and mail in the consent form

New Brunswick

Register your decision when updating your health card

PEI

Register online or mail in a form. Must be 16 years of age or older.

Newfoundland

Register your decision when updating your health card

Yukon

Complete and mail in the form

Northwest Territories and Nunavut

No donor registry yet, so let your family know your wishes.