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RSNL1990 CHAPTER H-15

HUMAN TISSUE ACT

Amended:

2006 c40 s21

CHAPTER H-15

AN ACT RESPECTING HUMAN TISSUE AND THE DISPOSITION OF HUMAN BODIES

Analysis


       
1.   Short title

       
2.   Definitions

              PART I
GIFTS FOR TRANSPLANTS BETWEEN LIVING INDIVIDUALS

       
3.   Lawful transplants

       
4.   Consent for transplant

       
5.   Removal of tissue, etc.

              PART II
AFTER DEATH GIFTS FOR TRANSPLANTS  AND OTHER USES

       
6.   Use of body after death

       
7.   Consent to use

       
8.   Judge's direction

       
9.   Determination of death

     
10.   Failure of gift

              PART III
MEDICAL SCHOOLS

     
11.   Medical schools

     
12.   Inspection

     
13.   Unwanted body

     
14.   Registry of bodies

     
15.   Interment of bodies

              PART IV
GENERAL

     
16.   Pituitary gland

     
17.   Civil liability

     
18.  
Sale of tissue, etc. prohibited

     
19.   Disclosure of information

     
20.   Offence

     
21.   Summary Proceedings Act


Short title

        1. This Act may be cited as the Human Tissue Act.

1971 No66 s1

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Definitions

        2. In this Act

             (a)  "consent" means a consent given under this Act;

             (b)  "inspector" means the Inspector of Anatomy referred to in section 11;

             (c)  "legally qualified medical practitioner" means a person registered under the Medical Act;

             (d)  "minister" means the minister appointed under the Executive Council Act to administer this Act;

             (e)  "person lawfully in possession of the body" does not include

                      (i)  a peace officer in possession of a body for the purpose of an autopsy or other examination after death,

                     (ii)  an embalmer or funeral director in possession of a body for the purpose of its burial, cremation or other disposition, or

                    (iii)  the superintendent of a crematorium in possession of the body for the purpose of its cremation;

              (f)  "school" means a medical school designated under section 11 as a school to receive bodies under this Act;

             (g)  "tissue" includes an organ, but does not include skin, bone, blood constituent or other tissue that is replaceable by natural processes of repair;

             (h)  "transplant" as a noun means the removal of tissue from a human body, whether living or dead, and its implantation in a living human body, and in its other forms it has corresponding meanings; and

              (i)  "writing" for the purposes of Part II includes a will or other testamentary instrument, whether or not probate has been applied for or granted and whether or not the will or other testamentary instrument is valid.

1971 No66 s2; 2006 c40 s21

PART I
GIFTS FOR TRANSPLANTS BETWEEN
LIVING INDIVIDUALS

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Lawful transplants

        3. A transplant from 1 living human body to another living human body may be done in accordance with this Act, but not otherwise.

1971 No66 s4

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Consent for transplant

        4. (1) A person who has reached the age of 19 years, is mentally competent to consent, and is able to make a free and informed decision may, in writing signed by him or her, consent to the removal from his or her body of the tissue specified in the consent and its implantation in the body of another living person.

             (2)  Notwithstanding subsection (1), a consent purportedly given by a person who had not reached the age of 19 years, who was not mentally competent to consent, or who was not able to make a free and informed decision is valid for the purpose of this Act if the person who acted upon it had no reason to believe that the person who gave it had not reached the age of 19 years, was not mentally competent to consent, or was not able to make a free and informed decision.

             (3)  A consent given under this section is full authority for a legally qualified medical practitioner

             (a)  to make an examination necessary to assure medical acceptability of the tissue specified in the consent; and

             (b)  to remove immediately that tissue from the body of the person who gave the consent.

             (4)  Where the tissue specified in the consent is not removed in the circumstances to which the consent relates, the consent is void.

1971 No66 s5

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Removal of tissue, etc.

        5. A legally qualified medical practitioner acting under paragraph 4(3)(b) may act under that paragraph only where it is reasonable to perform the removal having regard to the state of health of the person at the time the removal is made and to all the circumstances of the case.

1971 No66 s6

PART II
AFTER DEATH GIFTS FOR TRANSPLANTS AND OTHER USES

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Use of body after death

        6. (1) A person who has reached the age of 19 years may consent

             (a)  in a writing signed by him or her at any time; or

             (b)  orally in the presence of at least 2 witnesses during his or her last illness

that his or her body or the part of the body specified in the consent be used after his or her death for therapeutic purposes, medical education or scientific research.

             (2)  Notwithstanding subsection (1), a consent given by a person who had not reached the age of 19 years is valid for the purpose of this Act if the person who acted upon it had no reason to believe that the person who gave it had not reached the age of 19 years.

             (3)  Upon the death of a person who has given a consent under this section, the consent is binding and is full authority for the use of the body or the removal and use of the specified part for the purpose specified, except that a person shall not act upon a consent given under this section if that person has reason to believe that it was later withdrawn.

1971 No66 s7

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Consent to use

        7. (1) Where a person of whatever age who has not given a consent under section 6 dies, or in the opinion of a legally qualified medical practitioner is incapable of giving a consent because of injury or disease and that person's death is imminent

             (a)  his or her spouse of whatever age;

             (b)  where there is no spouse or where his or her spouse is not readily available, 1 of his or her children who has reached the age of 19 years;

             (c)  where there is none of those persons referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) or where none is readily available, either of his or her parents;

             (d)  where there is none of those persons referred to in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) or where none is readily available, 1 of his or her brothers or sisters who has reached the age of 19 years;

             (e)  where there is none of those persons referred to in paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) or where none is readily available, another of his or her next of kin who has reached the age of 19 years;

              (f)  where there is none of those persons referred to in paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) or where none is readily available, the person lawfully in possession of the body other than, where the person died in hospital, the administrative head of the hospital; or

             (g)  where there is none of those persons referred to in paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d), (e) and (f), other than the administrative head referred to in paragraph (f) or where none is readily available and the person died in hospital, the administrative head of the hospital

may consent

             (h)  in a writing signed by the spouse, relative or other person;

              (i)  orally by the spouse, relative or other person in the presence of at least 2 witnesses; or

              (j)  by the telegraphic, recorded, telephonic or other recorded message of the spouse, relative or other person,

to the body or the part of the body specified in the consent being used after death for therapeutic purposes, medical education or scientific research.

             (2)  A person shall not give a consent under this section if that person has reason to believe that the person who died or whose death is imminent would have objected to it.

             (3)  Upon the death of a person in respect of whom a consent was given under this section, the consent is binding and is full authority for the use of the body or for the removal and use of the specified part of the body for the purpose specified, except that a person shall not act on a consent given under this section where he or she has actual knowledge of an objection to the consent by the person in respect of whom the consent was given or by a person of the same or closer relationship to the person in respect of whom the consent was given than the person who gave the consent.

1971 No66 s8

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Judge's direction

        8. Where, in the opinion of a legally qualified medical practitioner, the death of a person is imminent because of injury or disease and that medical practitioner has reason to believe that subsection 23(1) of the Summary Proceedings Act may apply when death does occur and a consent has been obtained for an after death transplant of tissue from the body of that person, that medical practitioner shall apply, in an informal manner and at a reasonable time, to a Provincial Court judge for directions, and that Provincial Court judge may, notwithstanding that death has not yet occurred, give, in writing, those directions that the judge thinks appropriate respecting the removal of that tissue after the death of that person, and a medical practitioner shall not act contrary to a direction of which he or she has knowledge.

1971 No 66 s9; 1979 c35 Sch A

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Determination of death

        9. (1) For the purpose of an after death transplant, the fact of death shall be determined by at least 2 legally qualified medical practitioners in accordance with accepted medical practice.

             (2)  A legally qualified medical practitioner

             (a)  who takes part in the determination of the fact of death of the donor; or

             (b)  who has had an association with the proposed recipient that might influence his or her judgment

shall not participate in the transplant procedure.

             (3)  Nothing in this section affects a legally qualified medical practitioner in the removal of eyes for cornea transplants.

1971 No66 s10

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Failure of gift

     10. Where a gift under this Part cannot be used for the purpose specified in the consent, the subject matter of the gift and the body to which it belongs shall be dealt with and disposed of as if no consent had been given.

1971 No66 s11

PART III
MEDICAL SCHOOLS

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Medical schools

     11. Where a medical school in the province

             (a)  admits students for the purpose of attending courses in anatomical or pathological science; and

             (b)  expresses a willingness to enter into an agreement with the minister where it agrees

                      (i)  to pay all expenses in connection with the removal, delivery and burial of a body coming into its possession under this Act,

                     (ii)  to pay the inspector the remuneration for his or her services that the minister determines, and

                    (iii)  to comply with this Act and the other terms and conditions that the minister considers expedient,

the Lieutenant-Governor in Council may

             (c)  designate the medical school as a school to receive bodies under this Act;

             (d)  authorize the minister to execute the agreement referred to in paragraph (b); and

             (e)  appoint an Inspector of Anatomy for the purpose of this Act.

1971 No66 s12

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Inspection

     12. The minister may inspect at the times and in the manner that the minister thinks appropriate

             (a)  the anatomy rooms of a school;

             (b)  the methods used by a school for preserving bodies; and

             (c)  the register kept by the school under section 14.

1971 No66 s13

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Unwanted body

     13. (1) Where a direction has been given under section 6 or 7 for the use of a deceased person's body for the purposes of medical education or scientific research and that direction is binding and of full authority as specified in section 6 or 7 and at the time of the death there is no request for the use of the body for either of those purposes,

             (a)  where the body is lying in a hospital, the administrative head of the hospital; or

             (b)  where the body is lying elsewhere than in a hospital, the person lawfully in possession of the body

shall notify the inspector, and the inspector shall

             (c)  where the body is accompanied by the documentary evidence as to the cause of death that the inspector may consider satisfactory; and

             (d)  where the inspector is of the opinion that there is no reason of health or other reason for refusing to accept the body,

take control of the body and deliver it to and for the purposes of the teachers of anatomy or surgery in a school, and, if there is a school in the locality where there is a body to be delivered to those teachers, that school has the 1st claim to the body, but, where the body is not accepted by the inspector or where there is no school in the province, the body shall be disposed of as in cases which do not come under this Act.

             (2)  The inspector may enter premises in the exercise of a power or the performance of a duty under this Act and may take the action, make the orders and give the directions with respect to a matter that he or she considers advisable for the purpose of the exercise and performance or in the interest of the public health.

1971 No66 s14

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Registry of bodies

     14. A school shall enter in a register kept by the school for the purpose, where that information is available,

             (a)  the name, age, sex, colour of skin, marital status, religion and nationality of the deceased whose body is received by the school;

             (b)  the date each body is received by the school;

             (c)  the date each body received by the school was delivered for burial; and

             (d)  the name and description of the cemetery in which a body received by the school was buried.

1971 No66 s15

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Interment of bodies

     15. When the purpose for which a body has been received by a person or school under section 6, 7 or 13 is served, that person or school is responsible for its decent interment in accordance with the religious belief of the deceased, shall defray all expenses in connection with that interment and shall notify the inspector and the minister of the time and place of interment.

1971 No66 s16

PART IV
GENERAL

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Pituitary gland

     16. (1) Notwithstanding that there has been no direction under Part I or II of this Act or another Act for the use of the body after death or the removal of parts from the body after death, a person performing an after death examination of a body in cases described in section 23 of the Summary Proceedings Act may remove the pituitary gland from the body and retain it for use in the treatment of persons having a growth-hormone deficiency.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not apply where the person performing the after death examination of the body has reason to believe

             (a)  that the deceased would, if living, have objected to the removal of the pituitary gland for use in the treatment of persons having a growth-hormone deficiency; or

             (b)  that

                      (i)  the surviving spouse of the deceased,

                     (ii)  if none, children of the deceased 18 years of age or over, or

                    (iii)  if none, either parent of the deceased, or

                    (iv)  if none, a brother or sister of the deceased 18 years of age or over,

objects to the removal of the pituitary gland for use in the treatment of persons having a growth-hormone deficiency.

1981 c41 s1

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Civil liability

     17. An action or other proceeding for damages does not lie against a person for an act done in good faith and without negligence in the exercise or intended exercise of an authority conferred by this Act.

1971 No66 s17

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Sale of tissue, etc. prohibited

     18. A person shall not buy, sell or otherwise deal in, directly or indirectly, for a valuable consideration, tissue for a transplant or a body or part of a body, other than blood or a blood constituent for therapeutic purposes, medical education or scientific research.

1971 No66 s18

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Disclosure of information

     19. (1) Except where legally required, a person shall not disclose or give to another person information or a document where the identity of a person

             (a)  who has given or refused to give a consent;

             (b)  with respect to whom a consent has been given; or

             (c)  into whose body tissue has been, is being or may be transplanted

may become known publicly.

             (2)  Where the information or document disclosed or given pertains only to the person who disclosed or gave the information or document, subsection (1) does not apply.

1971 No66 s19

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Offence

     20. A person who knowingly contravenes this Act is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or to both a fine and imprisonment.

1971 No66 s21

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Summary Proceedings Act

     21. Except as provided in section 8, nothing in this Act affects the operation of section 23 of the Summary Proceedings Act.

1971 No66 s22; 1979 c35 s34