Minister Ambrose renews support for organ and tissue donation and transplantation

Helping to save and improve more lives through a nationally coordinated donor system

CALGARY, Sept. 27, 2014 /CNW/ - Following a tour of the Alberta Children's Hospital, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, announced today renewed federal support for Canadian Blood Services to continue the Government's joint efforts with provinces and territories to strengthen the organ and tissue donation and transplantation system across Canada.  This support will help increase the public's access to life-saving and enhancing organs and tissues.

The Minister was joined by Laureen Harper, songwriter and composer, David Foster and former professional hockey player and advocate for child abuse victims, Sheldon Kennedy.  Together they spoke about the importance of becoming an organ donor.

Canadian Blood Services is receiving $10.7 million over three years from the federal government so they can continue to make improvements to the national organ and tissue donation and transplantation system and improve the quality of lives of Canadians waiting for organ and tissue transplants. The multi-year commitment will provide Canadian Blood Services and provinces and territories with more predictable funding to continue their joint efforts.

Canadian Blood Services is working closely with provinces and territories, academics, health professionals and health administrators to develop a more coordinated and integrated system for organ listing and allocation across the country. For the thousands of Canadians waiting for organ and tissue donations, these improvements will help increase opportunities to be matched with the most suitable donors.   

The federal government is a key partner with the provinces and territories and Canadian Blood Services in the development of a pan-Canadian strategy to coordinate activities relating to organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Both levels of government provide $3.58 million each per year for a total of $7.16 million per year to support Canadian Blood Services in carrying out the Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Program.

Saturday evening in Calgary the David Foster Foundation will host their annual Miracle Gala.  The Foundation works to provide financial support for non-medical expenses of families with children in need of life-saving organ transplants.

Quick Facts

  • Since 2008, Health Canada has provided $21 million to Canadian Blood Services to improve the organ and tissue donation and transplantation system in Canada. 
  • The Canadian Institutes of Health Research has invested over $76 million in research related to transplantation from 2006 to 2012. In 2011, it invested $11 million to support the Canadian National Transplant Research Program to increase donations and improve the survival rates and quality of life of Canadians who receive transplants.
  • More than 4,500 people are waiting for organ transplants in Canada today; however, only a fraction of Canadians are registered to donate.  While many Canadians are aware of the need for organ transplants, there remains a shortage of donors.
  • In December 2013, Minister Ambrose met with Laureen Harper, MP Harold Albrecht and Hélène Campbell at 24 Sussex drive to kick-off the social media campaign, using the hashtag #GiftOfLife.


"Our Government is continuing to support the vital work being done by Canadian Blood Services, with provinces and territories, so that Canadian families will have better access to life-saving and enhancing organs and tissues.  One organ donor can save up to eight lives, yet in Canada 4,500 people are still waiting for a transplant. I am proud to be an organ donor and to work with people like David Foster and Hélène Campbell to raise awareness about the importance of talking to your family and becoming an organ donor. Visiting Alberta Children's Hospital today allowed me to see first-hand the importance of supporting organ and tissue donation and transplantation across the country. It really brings home why today's announcement is so critical."

The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

"I am very pleased to see the renewed support by Health Canada for organ and tissue donation and transplantation. The work by Canadian Blood Services to encourage Canadians to register as organ donors is of vital importance. The David Foster Foundation continues to work with Canadian Blood Services, the provinces and territories to help support families with children undergoing life-saving pediatric organ transplants. Since 1986, we have supported more than 1,000 families during this difficult time and truly appreciate the support of Health Canada and Canadian Blood Services."

David Foster
Founder of David Foster Foundation

"This investment will help contribute to improvements in the current organ and tissue donation and transplantation system in Canada. It will allow us to increase the number of successful transplants for Canadians. Continued federal support for our interprovincial program and services is crucial as we continue to build upon our success. At the same time, we are growing our strong provincial and territorial collaboration. Working together we will ultimately improve patient outcomes and help save more lives. "

Leah Hollins
Canadian Blood Services

Associated Links

Canadian Blood Services

University Health Network (UHN) Multi-Organ Transplant Program, Toronto, Ontario

The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Mississauga, Ontario

Canadian Society of Transplantation

Canadian National Transplant Research Program

Canadian Transplant Association

Minister Ambrose Launches Organ and Tissue Donor Social Media Campaign - Appeals to Canadians to sign up and give the #GiftOfLife

Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at:


PDF available at:

Image with caption: "Former transplant patient, Cassidy, and her family discuss their organ donation experience at the Alberta Children's Hospital. L-R:Sheldon Kennedy, Laureen Harper, Minister Ambrose, David Foster, Cassidy Creasy, Sandy Creasy and Kelly Creasy. (CNW Group/Health Canada)". Image available at:

SOURCE: Health Canada

For further information: Contacts: Michael Bolkenius, Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health, (613) 957-0200; Health Canada, Media Relations, (613) 957-2983; Public Inquiries: (613) 957-2991, 1-866 225-0709


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