Gift of Life
THIS YEAR’S ANNUAL CONFERENCE CSR INITIATIVE
WILL BE IN SUPPORT OF THE ORGAN PROJECT – A
WORTHY CAUSE BENEFITTING THE 4,500 CANADIANS
WAITING FOR A LIVE-SAVING TRANSPLANT. BUT
ORGAN DONATION IS NO LONGER SOLELY THE
DOMAIN OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS – THERE’S
PLENTY YOU CAN DO TO HELP AS WELL. HERE’S
WHAT HR PROFESSIONALS NEED TO KNOW.
By Catherine Shaw
As a human resources professional, and as an employer, organ donation and
transplantation may not seem like an obvious concern. However, the shortage
of transplantable organs in Canada presents a potentially expensive and
The good news is that there is a solution within our reach. One that does not require
research, more equipment or more money. We just need more people to agree to leave
their organs for others when they die, and we need to make it easier for people who
want to be living donors. It is a solution that Canadian employers can make a significant
Canada has an organ shortage problem that, based on current trending, is only going to
get worse. There are simply not enough organs – for example, heart, lungs, liver and kidneys
– available, and the consequences are expensive and sometimes tragic.
THE SITUATION IN CANADA
According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), Canada completed
2,835 organ transplants in 2016 – not nearly enough to keep up with demand. The number
of Canadians waiting for an organ transplant was approximately 4,500. Some 260 Canadians
died while they waited.
As an employer, you need to realise that the incidence of organ failure is on the rise, and
that organ failure can happen to anyone, at any time. It can be expensive and highly disruptive
to the individual, his or her family and the employer. Costs include missed work,
hospitalization, medication and, in many cases of kidney failure, ongoing hemodialysis. For
employees with children or parents experiencing organ failure, the impact is almost as significant
as if they were sick themselves.
In most of cases of organ failure, transplantation is the best, and frequently only, treatment.
The obvious course of action is to improve the accessibility to transplants by making
more organs available.
Canadian employers can have a tremendous impact by:
1. Implementing workplace programs that raise awareness and encourage staff to register
as deceased organ donors; and
2. Ensuring your employment policies and benefits programs facilitate living
36 ❚ CONFERENCE ISSUE 2018 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL