Overview

In Ontario, medical schools or schools of anatomy depend on the generosity of persons willing to donate their bodies after they die to:

  • train future medical professionals
  • enhance skill sets
  • expand knowledge

Body donation means that your whole body is donated to a School of Anatomy for educational and research purposes.

Donating your body to science is different from donating organs and tissues to a living person. For information on donating organs and tissues to a living person, please visit the Trillium Gift of Life website.

Your wishes

It is important that you make your wishes to donate your body known to your next-of-kin. You can also indicate your wishes in your will.

You can provide consent to donate your body:

  • by filling out a consent form (Donation of Body to School of Anatomy) available from any School of Anatomy
  • in writing, as per section 4(1) of the Gift of Life Act
  • orally, in the presence of at least two witnesses prior to death

If consent has not been given prior to death, next-of-kin may give consent after death, as per section 5 of the Gift of Life Act.

Donation location

While whole body donations are usually made to the School of Anatomy closest to the donor’s home, it depends on the needs of the school. A School of Anatomy may refuse to accept a donation if:

  • an autopsy was conducted
  • embalming occurred
  • amputation occurred
  • the deceased had certain infectious diseases or was emaciated
  • the school is not in need of donations

There may be additional exceptions. Please contact a school of your choice for further details.

Typically, Schools of Anatomy hold an annual Service of Gratitude. Families and friends are invited, to honour and remember donors and their generosity. Remains of the body are either:

  • respectfully cremated and interred in the school’s plot
  • returned to the family upon request

Contacts

For further information on body donation, please contact one of the following Schools of Anatomy in Ontario:

Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College
Toronto (Ontario)

McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario

Queen’s University
Kingston, Ontario

University of Ottawa
Ottawa

University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario

University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario

University of Western Ontario
London

University of Waterloo Waterloo, Ontario

Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Thunder Bay, Ontario

Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
Toronto, Ontario