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Expanding the organ and tissue registry


Residents of the Northwest Territories can now join the Alberta Organ and Tissue Donation Registry, increasing the number of potential donors and helping save lives.


Due to low population density and medical availability in the Northwest Territories, residents who die there cannot donate their organs and tissues. Patients requiring critical care are often transported to a hospital in Alberta, yet were not previously included in the Alberta registry.

A new agreement allows consenting residents of the Northwest Territories to be considered for donation if they are in a hospital in Alberta and pass away in a manner that makes their organs or tissues eligible.

“This agreement will help shorten the organ and tissue waiting lists and improve the chances of a match for those in need. By working together, our governments are expanding the pool of potential donors, improving health and saving lives. I continue to encourage all residents in Alberta to register their wish to become organ donors.” Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health
“Providing N.W.T. residents with the option to register their consent for organ and tissue donation is a long-standing commitment of our government that is now possible through this agreement with Alberta. I am pleased that this option is now available and I encourage residents to register.” Diane Thom, Minister of Health and Social Services, Government of Northwest Territories

Under the agreement, Alberta’s health-care teams can now access the registry to see if a patient from the Northwest Territories provided their consent to donate. The agreement includes measures to ensure that an individual’s personal information and privacy are respected and protected at all times.

The Northwest Territories will cover any costs associated with changes and maintenance to the registry that are needed to accommodate their citizens.  

Alberta quick facts

  • The Human Tissue and Organ Donation Act governs the organ and tissue donation and transplantation system in Alberta.

  • About 600 people in Alberta are currently awaiting a transplant.

  • As of July 6, more than 723,000 Albertans have registered their wish to be an organ and tissue donor.

  • One organ and tissue donor can save up to eight lives and make life better for up to 75 other people.

  • Organ donors provided 382 organs for transplant in Alberta in 2018.

  • In 2019, 223 residents of the Northwest Territories received care in an Alberta intensive care unit.

  • Prior to the agreement being signed, a privacy impact assessment was completed.

Northwest Territories quick facts

  • Approximate costs associated with the agreement include:

  • Modifications to the registry – $100,000

  • Annual maintenance costs – $40,000


  • N.W.T. residents will be able to donate organs and tissues, as long as they are in a hospital with access to donation services at the time of death, such as in Alberta.

  • Registration is free and voluntary.

  • All personal health information collected, used, and disclosed will be done so in accordance with the N.W.T. Human Tissue Donation Act and the Health Information Act, as well as Alberta’s Human Tissue and Organ Donation Act and Health Information Act.



Alberta Provincial Press Release July 13, 2020 @ 10:01 AM



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