Organ and Tissue Donation Legislation, Balanced Budget Highlight Spring Sitting

The spring 2019 sitting of the 63rd general assembly of Nova Scotia ended on April 12, which featured lifesaving legislation to increase organ and tissue donation and a fourth consecutive balanced budget.

The Human Organ and Tissue Donation Act, once put into effect, will make every Nova Scotian a potential donor, unless they opt out. It will increase the availability of organs and tissue, giving hope for patients province-wide waiting for transplants, who will now have a better chance of getting one sooner. The legislation is the first of its kind in North America.

“I am grateful for the support our government has received from Nova Scotians as together, we become leaders in North America on the issue of presumed consent for organ and tissue donation,” said Premier McNeil. “We are committed to doing better for our fellow citizens awaiting life-saving transplants, and I look forward to collaborating with Nova Scotians as we work toward proclaiming the legislation next year.”

The 2019 budget continues to invest in health care, education, people, communities and infrastructure, but also makes sure to maintain the government’s strong record of fiscal management.

“I’m proud of the work Nova Scotians have done with us around the budget and legislation” –┬áPremier Stephen McNeil

22 bills were passed this session, including legislation to protect Nova Scotia’s coastlines and strengthen student safety and protection. In terms of economics, bills were passed to address short-term rentals in the shared economy, and encourage investment in small- and medium-sized businesses.

One of the highlights was a unanimous passing of the House of Assembly Tartan Act. The legislation, supported by all parties designated an official tartan for the house and recognized April 6 as Tartan Day.

“I’m proud of the work Nova Scotians have done with us around the budget and legislation we brought forward during this sitting,” said Premier Stephen McNeil.

“Our strong fiscal foundation, including our fourth consecutive balanced budget, allows us to invest in Nova Scotians’ priorities in areas like health, education and creating opportunities for young people.”

Significant announcements and milestones during the spring sitting include:

  • Expanding the pre-primary program to 56 more schools across the province, in year three of a four-year rollout that will see every four-year-old in Nova Scotia have access to pre-primary by 2020.
  • Announcing details of the Cape Breton Health Care Redevelopment Project, radically changing the way health care is delivered for generations to come. Changes include a new 190,000-square-foot building on the Cape Breton Regional Hospital site that will house a new emergency department, critical care department and cancer centre.
  • Nova Scotia’s population reached an all-time high, at 965,382 at the beginning of 2019.
  • A milestone was reached by the province’s seafood exports, which exceeded $2 billion in 2018 – leading the country with more than 29 per cent of Canada’s seafood exports.

For a complete list of bills passed during the spring sitting, visit