The Nova Scotia legislature has unanimously passed legislation that presumes consent for organ donation, becoming the first jurisdiction in North America to pass such legislation.
The Human Organ and Tissue Donation Act was passed as legislators wrapped up their spring sitting on Friday.
However, the act is not expected to be proclaimed as law for a period of 12 to 18 months to allow time for planning, public education and training for health-care workers.
Under the act, all adults in Nova Scotia would be considered potential organ donors unless they opt out.
Families will continue to be consulted about their loved ones’ wishes, while those under 19 and people without decision-making capacity will only be considered as donors if a parent, guardian or alternate decision-maker opts them in.
Premier Stephen McNeil says the goal is to ensure there are more potential organ donors in order to save lives.