An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking and transplanting human organs and other body parts)

This bill was last introduced in the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in September 2008.

Sponsor

Borys Wrzesnewskyj  Liberal

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Not active, as of Feb. 5, 2008
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment provides for the imposition of penal sanctions for persons who, in Canada or outside Canada, are involved in the medical transplant of human organs or other body parts obtained or acquired as a consequence of a direct or indirect financial transaction or without the donor’s consent.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

November 20th, 2018 / 6:40 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

, seconded by the member for Victoria, moved that Bill S-240, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (trafficking in human organs), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

He said: Mr. Speaker, two well-known Canadians, David Matas and David Kilgour, have uncovered something shocking. Their painstaking research has unearthed that between 60,000 and 100,000 human organs are being transplanted in Chinese hospitals each year, with virtually no system of voluntary donation in place. Most of the organs come from prisoners of conscience, primarily Falun Gong practitioners.

I make this speech today in the presence of people who have been arrested in China, and had their blood tested in prison. It may have been that the only thing that prevented their victimization was that they did not match a potential recipient. They understand, more than anything else, the importance of what is happening on the floor of the House today.

Today, I am moving a Senate bill to ask the House of Commons to rule on a fairly simple proposition, that the removal of vital human organs from living patients without their consent is morally unconscionable and must be stopped.

About a similar bill in the past, the parliamentary secretary has said that this bill raises some complex legal and social policy issues. There can be no doubt, though, that the moral issues raised by the bill are quite clear cut. On the legal side, the bill has been well studied by the Senate. I believe it significantly improves on Bill C-350 that I proposed, and also on the original Bill S-240, which was subsequently amended by the Senate committee to bring us the version we have today.

The legal issue is not particularly complex, but in an effort to stop this horrific practice, it does invoke the idea of extraterritoriality. This is where the state seeks to punish someone for a crime he or she committed elsewhere. This is relatively uncommon, although morally necessary in cases like this. Generally, states do not see it as their affair to prosecute crimes that take place elsewhere, because the government of the state in which the crime occurs is best positioned to undertake that prosecution. The government ought not to be indifferent to serious crimes committed by Canadians abroad, but it is generally wise to leave the prosecution of those crimes to the state where they took place.

However, the normal practices should clearly not apply in cases where the local government is indifferent to, is unable to respond to, or is directly facilitating a grievous violation of fundamental human rights. In such cases, Canada can and must prosecute Canadians who go abroad to abuse human rights. Human rights do not apply any less to human beings in other countries. Nation states provide the practical framework through which rights are generally identified and preserved, but this should not be an excuse for allowing their own people to be complicit in grievous violations of human rights.

In 1997, during the tenure of Liberal justice minister Allan Rock, Canada explicitly made it a criminal offence in Canada for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to engage in so-called child sex tourism; that is, to go abroad and participate in the sexual exploitation of children. Exactly the same principle applies in this case. One notable difference, though, is that offences related to organ harvesting are probably easier to prosecute. Unlike someone who engages in the despicable practice of child sex tourism, someone who benefits from organ harvesting will have follow-up medical needs in Canada.

This bill is morally necessary and it follows a well-established legal track.

A brief word on the legislative history of this initiative. My friend, the member for Etobicoke Centre, began this process on February 5, 2008, with a very similar bill, Bill C-500. He is, for those who do not know, a Liberal. Bill C-561 was proposed by former Liberal justice minister Irwin Cotler in December of 2013. I proposed Bill C-350 in this Parliament before Bill S-240 was proposed by the very excellent Senator Salma Ataullahjan in the Senate.

We have had four bills in 10 years, and now we have less than one year until the next election. When the next election is called, every bill will die and we will go back to the beginning. Four bills, 10 years, and fundamental human rights are at stake. If we do not proceed to a vote on this as soon as possible, I fear we will significantly reduce our chances of getting this done this Parliament. There have been four bills, 10 years and cross-party co-operation and engagement up until now. Let us not force the victims to wait any longer. Let us pass the bill as soon as possible.

Human RightsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

October 22nd, 2018 / 3:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have the honour of presenting a petition. The petitioners express grave concern about the illegal international harvesting of organs, as documented by the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated David Matas and David Kilgour. They call for a stop to the barbaric practice of harvesting and trafficking in human organs and body parts.

The petitioners urge Parliament to adopt Bills C-350 and S-240. These bills, which are based on Bill C-500 and Bill C-381, which I previously introduced in 2008 and 2009, would make it illegal to obtain organs or body parts from unwilling donors or as part of a financial transaction.

Human Organ TraffickingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

June 18th, 2018 / 3:30 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have the honour of presenting a petition signed by Canadians from across the country.

The petitioners express great concern about the harvesting and trafficking of human organs and body parts without consent and for profit, as documented by the independent Matas-Kilgour investigations.

In an effort to put a stop to the industry of harvesting and trafficking of human organs and body parts, the petitioners urge Parliament to adopt House Bill C-350 and Senate Bill S-240. These bills continue the work of Bill C-500 and Bill C-381, introduced by myself in 2008 and 2009, and Bill C-561, introduced by Irwin Cotler in 2013.

The petitioners urge Parliament to move quickly on this legislation and end this horrific multi-million dollar industry.

JusticeAdjournment Proceedings

May 17th, 2017 / 7:30 p.m.
See context

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Marco Mendicino LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

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—

Criminal CodePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

May 15th, 2008 / 1:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I have the pleasure of presenting a petition signed by over 1,500 constituents from my riding of Etobicoke Centre, as well as individuals from the greater Toronto area.

The petitioners express grave concern about the Canadian connections of “Dr. Horror” and the illegal harvesting of kidneys from 500 poor labourers in New Delhi, India, as well as the harvesting of organs of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience languishing in Chinese prisons, as documented by the independent Matas-Kilgour investigation.

In an effort to put a stop to the harvesting and trafficking of human organs and body parts, the petitioners urge the House of Commons to pass Bill C-500, which makes it illegal to obtain organs or body parts from unwilling donors or as part of a financial transaction and would also establish a certification program and registration process to ensure that organs are legally donated and that no money transactions occurred for the procurement of an organ for Canadians, either in Canada or abroad.

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

February 5th, 2008 / 10:10 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-500, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking and transplanting human organs and other body parts).

Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce my private member's bill, an act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking and transplanting human organs and other body parts).

This horrific underground industry in human organs and body parts is a consequence of three global trends coinciding during the last decade: first, the development of medical technology, allowing the inexpensive transplantation of virtually any body organ; second, the immense increase in global disparities and incomes; and finally, easy and accessible travel to any part of the globe.

Recent articles about the million dollar business of “Dr. Horror”, involved in the illegal harvesting of kidneys of a possible 500 poor labourers in New Delhi, India, and his Canadian connections, as well as a spotlight placed on illegal harvesting of organs of prisoners of conscience in China in the 2007 Matas-Kilgour report entitled “Bloody Harvest”, underscore the urgent need to address this modern horror.

By enacting this legislation, Canada will become an international leader in combating the sinister underground trade in human organs and body parts.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)