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Bill that looks to make becoming an organ donor even easier passes in House of Commons

A tax return form is pictured in Toronto on Wednesday April 13, 2011. Federal officials are set to blitz seniors in the coming weeks with letters to remind them to file their taxes on time in a bid to get benefits to more low-income seniors.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

CALGARY — On Friday, Bill C-210 took another positive step forward.

The House of Commons unanimously passed the bill which looks to simplify the process of becoming an organ and tissue donor by allowing Canadians to indicate their intent to sign up as a donor through their annual income tax return.

The bill was brought forward by Len Webber, Conservative MP for Calgary Confederation.

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“Over 4,700 Canadians are awaiting a life-saving transplant and this bill gives them hope that they will get a second chance at life,” said Webber. “Canadians overwhelmingly support organ and tissue donation, but our registration rates are disappointingly low. By adding a question to the annual tax return, we make it that much easier to sign up as a donor.”

And while the forward momentum on the bill is a plus, Webber isn’t certain it will move fast enough through the Senate to be on next year’s form.

“The Canada Revenue Agency, they have a timeline of the end of May in order for them to prepare for next tax season, and so I don’t think we’re going to achieve it, so I think it’s going to be delayed for another year,” he said.

This push from Webber isn’t his first move when it comes to organ and tissue donations.

He laid the foundation for the creation of the Alberta organ and tissue donor registry.

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Now, Webber says it will become even easier to become a donor.

“The CRA will collect the information from the income tax form and they will transfer that to the provinces because organ and tissue donation is a provincial jurisdiction.”

Webber added this is something he promised his late wife, who passed from cancer a number of years ago, he would do.

Every organ donor can save up to eight lives and every tissue donor can benefit up to 75 people.