Spotlight Paper: Introducing an Organ Donor Registry in Saskatchewan

The CDTRP would like to congratulate Amy Zarzeczny and collaborators who have been working on the paper “Introducing an Organ Donor Registry in Saskatchewan“, recently published in Health Reform Observer! Our Research Manager, Katie Bain, asked Amy a few questions about it:

How do you think the research will advance the field?

This paper is narrow in scope but will hopefully help advance awareness and future evaluation of this policy intervention intended to improve donation rates in SK. It may also provide policy lessons for other jurisdictions considering similar initiatives.

How did the CDTRP contribute to initiating this work?

This work emerged from my work into legal and policy issues in transplantation, which was prompted by earlier CDTRP funding.

How has the CDTRP supported the project?

CDTRP funding supported the involvement of a graduate student research assistant on this paper (Luiza Radu). She was my co-author on the publication

How could the CDTRP support the future directions of this work?

I don’t have plans to take this particular research any farther, but future CDTRP support could facilitate continued law and policy research in this field.


On 3 September 2020, Saskatchewan launched an organ donor registry that allows participants 16 years and older to register their intent to be an organ donor either online or using a paper form. Saskatchewan has historically performed poorly at a national level with low rates of organ donations. Saskatchewan’s new registry is intended to increase the numbers of organ donors in the province, while also helping to modernize its organ donation system and ease donation conversations with families. Saskatchewan’s introduction of this registry brought the province in line with other provinces and territories across Canada that use similar systems, and provided a response to the surge in public interest around organ donation that followed the Humboldt Bronco bus crash tragedy and related “Logan Boulet Effect.” The 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 provincial budgets included dedicated funding for the development and launch of the registry, which was accompanied by a media campaign to increase public awareness. Though it is too early to evaluate the success of the registry, early indications suggest donation rates will be a key evaluation metric. Registries are commonly thought to help increase public awareness of, and support for, organ donation, but improving Saskatchewan’s organ donation rates will likely also require companion measures to strengthen the culture and practice of donation in the province.

You can read the paper here.