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Statement By Minister Meilleur On Organ Retention

Archived News Release

Statement By Minister Meilleur On Organ Retention

Ministry of the Solicitor General

Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Madeleine Meilleur, released the following statement:

"For decades in Canada and around the world, it has been standard practice to retain organs as part of an autopsy to help determine the cause of death -- in some cases, families were not notified.

Now, families are routinely notified when an organ is retained and, whenever possible, they are asked their wishes regarding final disposition.

We fixed the problem moving forward, and now we are fixing this historical problem. We are doing the right thing and making this process as open and transparent as possible. We're doing it in a way that balances the need for transparency with the potential distress this could cause families.

I am confident that our approach in terms of notifying families who may have been affected is the most respectful and open way to correct this historical practice.

On behalf of the government, I want to apologize for any distress brought upon families as a result of learning that an organ of a family member who died before June 14, 2010, may have been retained as part of a coroner-warranted autopsy."

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Health and Wellness Home and Community Law and Safety Aboriginal People