System Progress Data Reporting

This interactive online platform reports national performance data for organ donation and transplantation in Canada. The dashboard consists of nine primary sections presenting data on key aspects of the donation and transplantation across the system. The data presented are results as of Dec. 31, 2019. This format replaces our previous annual System Progress Report publication.

2019 System Progress Data Dashboard 

Highlights from 2019

  • In 2019, the generous gifts of 1,436 organ donors and their families saved or improved the lives of 3,053 Canadian patients
  • There were 8% more deceased donors in 2019 as compared with the previous year, with Canada’s national deceased donation rate increasing from 20.6 donors per million population (dpmp) in 2018 to 21.9 dpmp in 2019.
  • There were 11% more living organ donors in 2019 as compared with the previous year, with Canada’s national living donation rate increasing from 15.0 donors per million population (dpmp) in 2018 to 16.3 dpmp in 2019.
  • In 2019, in Canada, there were 822 deceased organ donors and 614 living organ donors
  • In 2019, 250 Canadians died while waiting for a transplant, up from 223 in 2018.
  • Canada still has a shortage of organs, with 4,419 patients waiting for transplants at year’s end 2019. 

For data related to eye and tissue donation and transplantation in Canada, click here.

Data offers hope to patients waiting for organ transplant

Family mourning loss of wife and mother hopes system improvements will help others

Two new reports offer signs of hope for patients in Canada who require an organ transplant. Canadian Blood Services’ 2019 System Progress Data reveals an increase in the rate of organ donation after death. In 2019, there were 21.9 donors per million population, compared with 20.6 in 2018.This rate puts Canada on par with other high-performing countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom — a significant achievement. Equally notable is the degree to which the system uses each donor’s gift. Canada’s organ utilization rate is world class, with an average of three organs from every deceased donor being transplanted.

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Executive Summary

Each year we are reminded of the remarkable collaborative effort that underpins the organ and tissue donation and transplantation (OTDT) system in Canada. On behalf of that collaborative network, we are pleased to share the 2019 update on OTDT system progress. 

The results reflected within this data represent the individual and collective work of both the provincial programs and the national efforts led by Canadian Blood Services. Most importantly, we sincerely acknowledge the generosity of the 1,436 organ donors and their families who gave so selflessly in 2019. We also recognize the heartfelt appreciation of the recipients whose lives were saved or changed through the generous act of donation. 

Canada’s performance in terms of deceased organ donation and transplantation remains relatively stable, experiencing a minor increase when compared to the previous year’s results. At 21.9 dpmp, we are very close to reaching our target of 22 dpmp. Similarly, national living donation rates have improved slightly over last year, but also remains relatively stable overall. In 2019, a total of 250 Canadians died while waiting for a suitable organ transplant opportunity. As such, there remains much work yet to be done.   

Given our experience as the national coordinating body for OTDT in Canada and our knowledge of the components required for success, we believe that national priorities in this realm must continue to focus on strategies that will advance interprovincial organ sharing, improve living donation rates, assist jurisdictions as they implement leading practices, and enhance system performance measurements and accountability mechanisms. As a nation, we have the recipe for system improvement: when the key elements are implemented, marked improvement is achieved. By working together to ensure these key elements are in place, we will continue to save lives. 

Canadian Blood Services sincerely acknowledges the generosity of the organ and tissue donors, and their families and loved ones, who gave so selflessly to provide hope to transplant candidates across the country.

Canada’s OTDT system has demonstrated that patients with the greatest need, and those whose clinical profiles are most difficult to match, benefit when organs are shared across provincial boundaries. This work includes three national patient registries that serve to maximize transplant access for patients most in need. These programs operate on a sophisticated technology platform called the Canadian Transplant Registry (CTR), which is currently used by more than 400 health professionals coast-to-coast. By maintaining these interprovincial organ sharing programs, we are proud to help coordinate national collaborative efforts to improve transplant opportunities for Canadians. 

Another key focus area of our collective work is toward system development and improvement. In 2019, we made great strides in enhancing our effectiveness and our collaboration. We rely on the generosity of the clinical and professional community and our partner organizations to continue to effect the positive change and evolve in the areas of leading practice development, professional education, public education and awareness and data analysis and reporting. 

We thank all system collaborators for their continued support and engagement as we work together to continue to improve the national OTDT system on behalf of donors and patients.

Key elements of a high-performing deceased donation system

Key elements of a high-performing deceased donation system Through experience gained provincially, nationally and internationally it is generally accepted that fundamental key components to a high performing deceased donation system exist, and when implemented, lead to improved performance. These foundational elements include adequate resources and infrastructure, availability of highly trained front-line specialists, leading practice guidelines and professional education, data and analytics to inform system and performance improvement including death audits and the identification of missed donation opportunities, adequate legislation (including mandatory referral), and the presence of appropriate accountability tools and structures. A comprehensive description of each element is provided here.

foundational elements of a high preforming deceased donation system

Another fundamental component of a high-performing system is adequate public education and awareness. Organ donation and transplantation is complex and not well understood. There are many misconceptions that contribute to barriers to registering intent to donate. Increasing awareness for organ and tissue donation and transplantation, and increasing the number of registered organ donors, is part of a comprehensive system-wide approach to increasing donation rates.


This report acknowledges the generous gift made by organ and tissue donors, both living and deceased, and the families of those who have donated. The report further acknowledges the hopes of patients with end-stage organ failure and the dedication of healthcare teams and practitioners throughout the health care system who make it possible to fulfill and increase opportunities for organ and tissue donation and transplantation. This report was made possible through the collective effort and input from members of Canadian Blood Services’ Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Committees, the Canadian Institute for Health Information, and the Information Management team with Canadian Blood Services’ Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation department.

Further reading

Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation System Progress Report, 2018

The results reflected in this report represent the individual and collective work of the provincial and territorial partners, organ donation programs, and transplant programs as well as the national efforts led by Canadian Blood Services. 

Read the full 2018 System Progress Report: 

English: Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation - System Progress Report 2018
French: Don et greffe d'organes au Canada - rapport d'étape sur le système 2018 


Past System Progress Reports