Organ donation and transplantation collaborative

Organ donation rates have been improving in Canada but it is clear that there is more work to be done. Every year, hundreds of Canadians die while waiting for an organ transplant. With over 4,300 people in Canada waiting for a transplant right now and only a fraction of Canadians registered as donors—the need is critical.

Since 2018, Health Canada has been leading an initiative called the Organ Donation and Transplantation Collaborative (The Collaborative) with provinces and territories (except Québec), Canadian Blood Services (CBS), patients, families, clinical and administrative stakeholders and researchers. Working together, we will continue to improve our system and ensure that Canadians have timely and effective access to quality donation and transplantation services.

This initiative is informed by consultations with a wide range of experts, including clinicians, government officials, CBS, research groups, organ donation organizations, transplant programs, patient and family groups, and other key stakeholders. The Collaborative has summarized these stakeholders' views in a synthesis report entitled What We Heard: Stakeholder Perspectives on the Path Forward (available upon request).

About the Collaborative

The Collaborative’s goal is to achieve organ donation improvements that result in better patient outcomes and an increase in the number and quality of successful transplantations.

Action priorities

The Collaborative members work together to achieve high-impact change in the organ donation and transplantation ecosystem, including on the following activities:

  • Supporting patient/advocate voices to improve patients’ experiences
  • Creating a pan-Canadian data system that will support decisions, avoid missed opportunities and improve patient care
  • Identifying decision-making and accountability mechanisms to ensure Canadians have access to an organ donation and transplantation system that responds to their needs and those of their families
  • Maximizing donor identification in hospitals and referrals to transplantation services across Canada
  • Identifying underserved populations and improving patients’ access to post-transplantation care in remote communities
  • Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of organ sharing processes across jurisdictions to prevent any missed opportunities for donation
  • Increasing living donation as a preferred treatment option (e.g. kidneys, liver)
  • Supporting health care professionals through professional education

Projects underway

Health Canada supports targeted projects through the Collaborative to address persistent gaps in the organ donation and transplantation system. These projects are working towards a higher-performing organ donation and transplantation system and improved equity of access in living and deceased donation and transplantation. Thanks to the engagement and commitment of organ donation and transplantation stakeholders, including patients and families, provincial and territorial representatives, projects are progressing well, and results are expected to have a positive impact on organ donations and transplants for the benefit of patients. For more information, please consult the Collaborative Project snapshots.

Organ Donation and Transplantation Collaborative Progress Update

Transformative changes in the organ donation and transplantation system would not be possible without the connection to the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Conference of Deputy Ministers of Health (FPT CDM) and the committed engagement of provincial and territorial government representatives to maintain forward momentum and to ensure that the Collaborative’s priorities remain on track to completion.

The FPT CDM confirmed support for the Collaborative’s approach and agreed to receiving annual progress updates and having the Collaborative present items requiring FPT CDM direction.

To know more about the Collaborative progress updates, please consult the 2021-2022 ODTC Progress Report Executive Summary.


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