Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise this evening to discuss private member's Bill C-350, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (trafficking and transplanting human organs and other body parts), which was introduced by the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan on April 10, 2017.
This bill raises some complex legal and social policy issues. I want to point out that the House has contemplated these issues a number of times in the past decade. To be specific, a very similar proposal was introduced in the House on February 5, 2008, with Bill C-500, and again on May 7, 2009, with Bill C-381. A virtually identical proposal, Bill C-561, was introduced on December 6, 2013.
Our government condemns the underground trafficking of human organs, which so often victimizes vulnerable people in developing countries and under totalitarian regimes. There have been disturbing reports, as has been mentioned by my hon. colleague, of organ harvesting operations in recent years, all of which are extremely troubling. While the actual transplanting of illicitly obtained organs does not appear to be occurring within Canada's borders, we know that some Canadians have gone abroad to purchase life-saving organs due to a global shortage in organs for legitimate transplantation purposes. This practice is sometimes referred to as transplant tourism.
Bill C-350 proposes to create a number of new Criminal Code offences that would criminalize most people involved in the illicit trafficking of organs. The bill places particular emphasis on the recipients of illicitly obtained organs and would also criminalize those who assist purchasers, medical practitioners who take part in the transplantation of illicitly obtained organs, and any intermediaries who facilitate the transplantation. Those who sell their own organs are the only players who would not be directly criminalized, likely due to their vulnerability. The bill would allow Canada to extend extraterritorial jurisdiction where a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada commits any of these offences abroad.
Bill C-350 also proposes regulatory reforms that would require the establishment of a specific Canadian entity to monitor legitimate transplantations. It would require medical practitioners who examine a person who has had an organ transplanted to report the identity of that person as well as other health information to this proposed new entity. As part of this regulatory regime, the bill would impose a duty on the person who receives an organ to obtain a certificate establishing that it was donated and not purchased.
Currently in Canada, organ trafficking is prohibited by Criminal Code assault laws, given that removal of an organ without the informed consent of the patient constitutes aggravated assault. The Criminal Code provisions regarding accomplices and accessories after the fact also apply. In addition, the Criminal Code prohibits human trafficking under section 279.01, a related but distinct form of criminal conduct. The human trafficking offences can be enforced extraterritorially, but the assault offences cannot. Provincial and territorial regulatory laws governing legitimate organ transplantation also apply. They require informed and voluntary consent on the part of the donor and prohibit buying and selling organs. Transplanting organs outside of this regulatory framework constitutes a regulatory offence. Regulatory offences are generally punishable by a fine and/or a maximum of six months' imprisonment and cannot be enforced extraterritorially.
Basically, Bill C-350 would—