Canadian Organ Donor Registry Act

An Act to establish the Canadian Organ Donor Registry and to coordinate and promote organ donation throughout Canada


Ziad Aboultaif  Conservative

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


Defeated, as of June 15, 2016

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-223.


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

The purpose of this enactment is to establish the Canadian Organ Donor Registry. The Registry is a compilation of information on organ donors and recipients and a system that links to compilations held by third parties. The enactment provides for the confidentiality of all information contained in the Registry or accessible through it.

The enactment also provides for the development of a national strategy to promote organ donation in Canada and facilitate the exchange of information on organ donation between provinces.

Finally, it mandates an annual report.


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.


June 15, 2016 Failed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Health.

Canadian Organ Donor Registry ActPrivate Member'S Business

April 15th, 2016 / 2:05 p.m.
See context


Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to have the opportunity to speak to Bill C-223, an act to establish the Canadian Organ Donor Registry and to coordinate and promote organ donation throughout Canada.

This is monumental legislation and I am very proud of my colleague, the member for Edmonton Manning, for introducing it, as it will absolutely save lives.

My comments this afternoon will come from a different perspective than most of those who will have the opportunity to speak to the legislation. I do not presume to be an expert on organ transplant issues. Therefore, I ask the indulgence and patience of my colleagues as I share some of my personal journey over the past several years, some of whom may already know it.

On the May 2, 2011 election night, as my wife Betty and I were watching the early results of the election along with a campaign volunteer, Betty suddenly experienced a headache. Within seconds she collapsed to the floor. While she was breathing normally and had a strong pulse, there was no response. Minutes later, following a 911 call, local volunteer firefighters from the New Dundee detachment were on the scene to provide assistance. They were followed very closely by EMS personnel.

Betty was taken by ambulance to Grand River Hospital, placed on life support, and immediately transferred to a major health centre for more specialized care. ICU personnel and surgical specialists cared for her. They explained in some detail that Betty had experience a spontaneous intracranial hemorrhage and that in spite of surgical intervention attempting to stop the bleeding, their best efforts had been unsuccessful. The intense bleeding had applied extreme pressure to sensitive brain tissue and brain function had ceased.

After consultation with neurosurgeons and ICU doctors regarding Betty's neurological death, we now were faced with the question of the possibility of organ and tissue donation. We were then introduced to a team of very compassionate personnel representing the Trillium Gift of Life Network. They presented the options to us and provided the answers to all of the questions that were raised by me and my three adult children. There was no doubt in our mind as to what Betty would want to do. We knew that she would want to continue giving in the same spirit of generosity in her death as she had always done in her life.

Betty and I had also discussed this issue openly each time we renewed our driver's licence, and had always both agreed that should anything ever happen to either of us we would be open to the question of organ donation. We would want to help in that way.

As I reflect on the difficult journey of our grief during that difficult time, that journey of grief has been made less difficult by two key factors: first, our personal faith journey as followers of Jesus Christ, and our confidence in the resurrection and the certain hope that he gives us; and, second, our decision to follow through on Betty's wish that upon her death, if possible, her organs be donated.

Why not help out one of those thousands of people who are currently on the waiting list for a specific organ? Many of those who are waiting are still in the prime of life, and organ donation can make the difference between life and death. Our decision, while not easy, was made somewhat lighter knowing that someone else would possibly receive the gift of life, even as we journeyed into our own grief and loss.

As an aside, on a technical note, let me assure members of the House and Canadians that we can rely on the safety of organ transplants in our country. This is because of Canada's strong organ transplant community, and Health Canada's work in establishing rigorous safety standards and requirements through the implementation of the safety of human cells, tissue and organs for transplantation regulations.

In the years and months following Betty's death, the Trillium Gift of Life Network followed up regularly with letters of support, offering access to resources, and letting me know of the health status of the organ recipients. Five people had received the gift of life through organs that were transplanted: heart, liver, lungs, and two separate kidney recipients. In addition, others have benefited from the gift of her eyes, bone, and muscle tissue, which will aid in the transplant process. I know that because of our decision to donate, there are now at least five people enjoying fuller, richer lives, and even more who are benefiting from tissue transplants.

We are in a death-denying society. No one wants to think he or she will die before 80 or 90. Because of amazing medical advancements, many people will live to that age, and even beyond. However, we have no guarantee, as my family discovered so quickly, and with no advance warning of any kind. We know that 4,000 Canadians are waiting for organ donation at any given period.

In Ontario alone, more than 1,500 people are waiting for a life-giving transplant. More than 1,000 of those people are waiting for a kidney transplant.

It is easy to register one's intention to donate. In Ontario, one can simply go to the website Elsewhere in Canada, one can go to

Right now, only 20% of Ontario's residents have registered their intent to be an organ or tissue donor. Why not go online right now and register?

In addition to registering, it is important for individuals to discuss this matter with their families. They should let their families know their decision and then register at This decision could very well save a life and offer hope.

Thousands of adults and children are counting on us and our fellow Canadians to give the gift of life. It is time that we as a nation closed the gap between the need for life-saving and life-enhancing organs and the supply of organs that are available. Why not take steps now to make a difference? It could be anyone: a son, a daughter, or a granddaughter who will be the recipient of our or someone else's good decision to register to donate our organs.

I think all my colleagues will understand why I seconded this fantastic initiative by my colleague. It really is unacceptable that 200 Canadians die each year waiting for an organ transplant when only 20% of Canadians are registered.

Canada needs a national initiative that raises organ donation awareness and encourages people to register to be a donor.

As I said at the beginning of my talk, a Canadian organ donor registry would save lives, and I am hopeful that all parties in this House will unanimously support this extremely important legislation.

Let me just add that I ask the government not to hide behind potential jurisdictional challenges and to support Bill C-223.

Canadian Organ Donor Registry ActPrivate Member'S Business

April 15th, 2016 / 2:10 p.m.
See context


David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-223 and our government's efforts to improve the organ and tissue donation and transplantation system in Canada.

Indeed, the member for Edmonton—Manning has put an important issue before the House. Evidence demonstrates that organ and issue donation and transplantation saves lives, improves the health status of Canadians, and is cost effective for the health care system. It is, in a word, important.

For example, in 2014 2,356 Canadian lives were saved through organ transplants. Patient and family testimonials attest to the improvements in longevity and quality of life of patients receiving organ transplants.

Transplantation is also cost effective for our health care system. For example, the most cost-effective treatment for end-stage kidney disease is transplantation. Dialysis costs between $40,000 and $60,000 a year. A kidney transplant costs approximately $40,000, followed by approximately $10,000 in transplant drug therapy. Over time, that would lead to over $100 million in cost savings for the health care system per year if all patients waiting at year end received a transplant.

Our government is committed to working closely with our provincial and territorial counterparts and key stakeholders to provide the best results for Canadians as it relates to organ and tissue donation and transplantation in Canada.

As my colleague, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health noted, the government of Canada is doing its part by recognizing that improvements are needed in the organ and tissue donation and transplantation system in Canada. Together with the provincial and territorial governments, we have invested over $64 million since 2008 to support the Canadian Blood Services' efforts to improve the system. This funding supports its work in establishing three vital interprovincial organ sharing programs under the Canadian transplant registry.

We know from recently published statistics from the Canadian Institute for Health Information that over the last decade the number of Canadians waiting for a new organ has been higher than the number of transplants performed within a given year. In fact, we know that more than 4,500 Canadians were waiting for a transplant in 2014.

With an aging Canadian population, we expect that there will be a higher demand for organs over time. This means we must collectively focus our efforts on increasing the number of organ donors across Canada. One donor alone can save up to eight lives and benefit more than 75 people.

We can all help. Organ and tissue donation is a unique opportunity to make a concrete difference in the life of someone else. Three ways that have been proven to increase the number of organ donors across Canada are strengthening public awareness, improving health professional education, and implementing leading practices.

Our government is committed to encouraging Canadians to become organ donors through active public awareness campaigns. Since December 2013, Health Canada has had a web page on the Healthy Canadians website to promote organ and tissue donation across Canada and assist Canadians with registering as donors with their provincial and territorial organizations through an interactive map. I would invite all my colleagues in the House to visit the website.

April17-23 is National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week , and our government, the provinces and territories, and Canadian Blood Services are sending messages to Canadians and promoting events to raise public awareness.

Our government is committed to encouraging all Canadians to consider becoming donors. It takes a few minutes to take the important step of registering to donate. Canadians are also being encouraged to discuss organ and tissue donation with their doctors and their families and friends. It is important that they know your wishes and you know theirs.

In addition to raising public awareness, the other proven methods of increasing the number of donors are through improving health professional education and implementing leading practices. Health care professionals are a critical factor in improving the number of donors. Opportunities may be missed if physicians are unaware of best practices, do not know the patient's wishes regarding donation, or do not ask families about donation.

Over the last decade, the skill level among clinicians in the organ and tissue donation and transplantation community has increased through professional education on leading practices. For example, through the Canadian Blood Services' initiative, new leading practices have been developed on topics such as donor management, death determination, and end-of-life family conversations and consent. These leading practices are being shared and implemented across the country through training health care professionals and changing health care policies or procedures for organ and tissue donation and transplantation.

Our government applauds these efforts and is committed to continuing to work with the provinces and territories, the Canadian Blood Services, and other key stakeholders to enhance the organ and tissue donation and transplantation system in Canada.

Our government strongly supports the objective of improving the organ and tissue donation and transplantation system but believes that Bill C-223 would not lead to improved donation rates. As my colleague the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health noted, the evidence does not support registries as a way to improve donation rates.

The other measures proposed in the bill would duplicate the collaborative initiatives already under way with the provinces and territories, and with Canadian Blood Services. The proposed measures would also infringe on provincial and territorial jurisdictions for the delivery of health care in the area of organ and tissue donation and transplantation.

Provinces and territories are already investing in strategies known to improve organ donation rates, such as professional education, implementation of leading and best practices, compilation of quality data to support performance management and public reporting, investments in research and innovation, and enhancements to health system capacity.

We believe that introducing national legislation without adequate consultation, engagement, and buy-in from the provinces and territories and other key stakeholders would be detrimental to the system improvement work that is already under way. It is an implementation, jurisdiction, and co-operation issue, not necessarily a philosophical one.

Our government is committed to improving the organ donation rates to ultimately improve the organ and tissue donation and transplantation system in Canada.

Our government commends every living and deceased donor and their families who have saved the lives of thousands of Canadians. We applaud every Canada who has registered to become a donor, every organization that is promoting organ donation awareness, all health care professionals who are enhancing their skills through training, and every health care institution that is implementing new policies and procedures to improve organ donation.

Together we can make a difference. Together we can produce results for Canadians. Together we can ensure that Canada has a world-class organ and tissue donation and transplantation system.

I would like to congratulate the member for Edmonton Manning for his hard work on this file, and I look forward to the debate continuing.

Canadian Organ Donor Registry ActPrivate Member'S Business

April 15th, 2016 / 2:20 p.m.
See context


Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Madam Speaker, first I want to thank the member for Edmonton Manning for bringing the bill forward and also sharing his very personal story.

I am so pleased to speak in support of Bill C-233 . Last week, my son Henry donated blood for the first time. His commitment came from having a cousin who battled leukemia and at this point is healthy, as his mother watches and waits.

Often when we know what we can do to help, we do it. For many years I was a volunteer with a hospice. Every Saturday evening, I would sit with the palliative patients and their families. Some of these families were still holding out for an organ donation to save their family members. It was incredibly hard to sit with these families who could do nothing but hold onto hope.

We know that every year 1,600 Canadians will be added to the organ donor list, while 5,000 Canadians are still waiting. These numbers tell us a story. They tell us the story that we need to do better.

A national registry would make a significant difference. It would help people across this country. It would increase access, address disparities, and increase efficiency. It would be a national program that could bring all the provinces and territories together to make a difference, to give people a second chance in this life.

In my riding of North Island—Powell River, I have a constituent named Debbie Hooper, who is a 56-year-old grandmother. She has been waiting three years by her phone, waking every morning hoping the call will come that means her lung disease will be fixed by this amazing gift of an organ transplant.

Across this country, people are facing challenges that many of us have never experienced. We have to do our due diligence as people who have been elected to sit in this place to make sure we are helping save the lives of people in this country, and that we are creating accessibility.

I have heard from the other side, and I am so sad to see that the bill will not be passed by the other side.

We need to send the bill to committee. We need to be hearing those witnesses from across this country. We need to hear how it is going to work. We are asking that the bill be before committee so that we can see potential solutions that would make a difference and give people their lives.

Brenda Small is another constituent who received a transplant, and she said something extremely poignant. “It’s the worst day of somebody’s life and the best day of yours. I cry every time I think about it.”

If we are not doing our work, bringing forward this issue to committee, having the discussions we need to have so that we can make the best decisions, bringing together the provinces and territories to see how we can do this more effectively, then we are not doing our jobs.

I ask, please, for people to take this into their hearts, to think as we are supposed to in the House of Commons, and to make a decision that looks after the people of Canada.

I thank the member for his hard work. I am thankful for the history that we have in this place of multiple members bringing forward private member's bills in this same theme of creating a united country, acknowledging that we have a universal health care system, and making a change that will save lives.

Canadian Organ Donor Registry ActPrivate Member'S Business

April 15th, 2016 / 2:20 p.m.
See context


Bradley Trost Conservative Saskatoon—University, SK

Madam Speaker, I have to admit that I was not anticipating getting to speak today, until a couple of minutes ago, but I appreciate the opportunity to stand in the House on this private member's legislation. One thing I would like to do is explain to new members in the House why, even if they are not at this point convinced of the legislation, the bill needs to go to committee.

I heard the parliamentary secretary's arguments earlier today about jurisdictional issues, and the various problems that this bill may have, but I will remind hon. members, particularly government members, who, of course, will naturally have a certain degree of deference for the parliamentary secretary, which no one is disputing, that this is a bill that seeks to solve a real problem. It is helping to save people's lives. The principles underlying this I am sure every single member of the House agrees with. The parliamentary secretary and members of all parties have said that.

I ask hon. members on the other side to think about this and vote for the bill at least at second reading. Why? We are voting for the principle of the bill. The underlying principle, is to save lives. This is what the hon. member was trying to point out with his very compelling personal story of his great courage with his son and so forth.

Yes, the details of every piece of legislation sometimes are not perfect and sometimes they need to be worked out. However, this is what we need to think about and why this legislation needs to go to committee, so that we can make a better and more perfect piece of legislation to advance this cause.

No one in the House disputes that more lives could be saved if more Canadians were interested in signing up and supporting organ donation to save lives. However, if we end this piece of legislation before it gets to committee, we won't have the ability to understand, argue in a positive sense, and figure out ways to improve the system that we have in Canada.

I have been in the House for a few years, on both sides of the aisle, previously in government and this is the second time in opposition. I realize governments tend to be a little hesitant in supporting private members' legislation that the government is not deeply invested in, but in the previous session, I was the second most likely Conservative member in the House to break party ranks, often because I believe things should be voted on and sent to committee to be discussed and thought about. I was sometimes the only Conservative to back NDP or Liberal legislation. When speaking with voters after having voted for legislation that was not perfect, I never found that people told me it was not a perfect bill and that I had made a mistake by voting for it. That is why I am making the case for what we are doing today.

I will admit that I do not completely understand the differences and the jurisdictional issues between the provincial system and the federal system. I do not totally understand what all may be involved, but I do understand this absolute one simple fact, that this is an attempt to make a system better, a system that is not world class, that is not first, that is not the best. On something this serious and substantive, human life, we should absolutely give our all.

That is why I am asking all members, even if they are unsure of the legislation, to give this piece of legislation a chance. Organ donation saves lives. It is one of the most noble causes we will ever be able to support around here, because there is nothing more precious than human life.

I encourage all hon. members to think about this. Even if they are not completely convinced of the merits of the legislation, they should remember to vote for it in principle at second reading so that we can make it better.

I am happy to have had the time to share my words with the House.

Canadian Organ Donor Registry ActRoutine Proceedings

February 19th, 2016 / 12:05 p.m.
See context


Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

moved for leave to introduce C-223, an act to establish the Canadian organ donor registry and to promote organ donation throughout Canada.

I rise today to introduce my private member's bill to establish the Canadian organ donor registry and to promote organ donations throughout Canada.

More than 200 Canadians die each year waiting for an organ transplant. Their deaths could be prevented if only more people were aware of the need and willing to help. As someone who has been an organ donor and who has seen the need first-hand in my family, I understand only too well how the lack of national coordination can sometimes lead to tragedy. A national registry would help save lives. I urge all members to support this bill and promote organ donations throughout Canada.

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