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How to sign up to be an organ donor in Ontario

At any given time, more than 1,000 people in Ontario are waiting for a transplant. Plain and simple – organ and tissue donations save lives. It is often the only form of treatment for people with damaged organs. Without a healthy organ from a gracious donor, someone who needs a transplant will likely die. This is why becoming a donor is encouraged and important for the well-being of our society as a whole.

Many people are surprised when they learn how many people are not donors, especially in Ontario. What people fail to realize is that even if you are a donor, to be able to donate an organ and for your organs to be in a good state for donation, your body needs to die in the hospital, while on life support. This criterion leaves only a small number of people, and it’s even more reason for you to become a donor and help save a life.

What can you donate?

There is a wide range of organs and tissues that you can donate, including the following:

  • Organs such as lungs, heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas
  • Tissues such as bones and bone marrow, skin, heart valves and tendons

Steps to becoming a donor in Ontario

Signing up to be a donor in Ontario is much easier than you might think. Did you know that it only takes 2 minutes to register as a donor? Here is what you need to know about signing up to be a donor:

  • You will be asked to provide some basic information, so get your health card ready
  • Click “Register or Check Now” with Service Ontario at
  • Register or update your registration in a few simple steps

To qualify as a donor in Ontario, you must be at least 16 years of age. There is no cost to becoming a donor, and if you change your mind, you can withdraw your consent at any time.

After you register, you will receive a confirmation letter in the mail, so make sure your mailing address is up to date.

Donor statistics

To put things into context, here are some statistics about donors in Ontario:

  • More than 85% of Ontarians are in favour of organ donation
  • 25% of Ontarians are registered donors (that’s more than 2.9 million people)
  • Over 1,500 people in Ontario are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant
  • More than 10,000 people have received life-saving organ transplants since 2003
  • The current goal is to get 275,000 new registrations between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015
  • In 2012, 284,942 people signed up to be organ donors


Reasons to register as an organ donor

There are many reasons you should consider registering to be an organ donor:

  • Organ donation saves lives
  • Organs from one donor can help or save up to 50 individuals
  • Receiving an organ can provide a person with a new lease on life or a better quality of life
  • Receiving an organ helps the grieving families of those who are waiting for a transplant
  • Donating an organ is like giving someone the ultimate gift

Only 50% of families consent to organ donation if a loved one who dies did not register their consent. If you want to be a donor, it’s important to make your intentions clear, so your family can fulfill your wishes.

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