An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (trafficking in human organs)


This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.


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

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to create new offences in relation to trafficking in human organs. It also amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to provide that a permanent resident or foreign national is inadmissible to Canada if the appropriate minister is of the opinion that they have engaged in any activities relating to trafficking in human organs.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


Dec. 14, 2022 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill S-223, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (trafficking in human organs)
May 18, 2022 Passed 2nd reading of Bill S-223, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (trafficking in human organs)

May 16th, 2023 / 11:10 a.m.
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Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

I remember hearing testimony to say that this does not impact the organ transplant bill at all, so there's no impact on what we've already done in that bill. Whatever was in that bill is there, and this does not have any impact on that or change it.

That's what I heard from experts. I'm not an expert on it, but I did hear that.

May 16th, 2023 / 11:05 a.m.
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General Counsel, Department of Justice, Legal Services Unit, Canada Border Services Agency

Scott Nesbitt

As for the (c.1) provision, it remains unchanged from as enacted in Bill S-223, so I believe it does apply to permanent residents and foreign nationals, but the Bill S-8 inadmissibilities on sanctions only apply to foreign nationals.

May 16th, 2023 / 11:05 a.m.
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Dave Epp Conservative Chatham-Kent—Leamington, ON

I have one more question to the officials then. It is very clear through G-1 that both foreign nationals and permanent residents are deemed to be in scope of inadmissibility through the provisions from Bill S-223. Is that correct?

May 16th, 2023 / 11:05 a.m.
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Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

It's Bill S-223. I got my numbers mixed up. Sometimes bills leapfrog each other, but I don't think it's that unusual. I've had it five or six times in committee.

May 16th, 2023 / 11:05 a.m.
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Director, Sanctions Policy and Operations Coordination, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

May 16th, 2023 / 11:05 a.m.
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Dave Epp Conservative Chatham-Kent—Leamington, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I have a question for clarification at this point.

I note that CPC-1 and G-1, I believe, are trying to correct the same omission, and I'll give credit to Mr. Hoback's office for discovering this.

I have a question to Mr. Oliphant.

Is paragraph 35(1)(c.1) remaining or being repealed? To me, that is the section that refers back to the coordinating amendment from S-223 and refers to section 240.1 of the Criminal Code and must remain. Is it clear that it is being retained in Bill S-8?

May 9th, 2023 / 12:45 p.m.
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Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

It's my understanding that there would need to be technical amendments to coordinate Bill S-223—Senator Ataullahjan's bill, sponsored by Mr. Genuis—to make sure that we don't superimpose something over a bill that we just passed.

May 9th, 2023 / 12:45 p.m.
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Vice-President, Strategic Policy Branch, Canada Border Services Agency

Kelly Acton

Mr. Chair, I would offer that, in terms of coordinating amendments, there were changes made to the inadmissibility regime under Bill S-223 around trafficking in human organs. In bringing these additional changes to the inadmissibility regime, there are coordinating amendments to—

Human Organ TraffickingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

December 14th, 2022 / 4:45 p.m.
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Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Madam Speaker, I rise to present a petition on behalf of Canadians. The petitioners are calling on Parliament to expeditiously pass legislation banning forced organ harvesting and trafficking.

This afternoon, this House unanimously passed such legislation, Bill S-223. I want to take this moment to commend Senator Salma Ataullahjan and the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan for their steadfast leadership. They are both great champions of human rights.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

December 14th, 2022 / 3:40 p.m.
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The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 23, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill S-223 under Private Members' Business.

The House resumed from December 7 consideration of the motion that Bill S-223, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (trafficking in human organs), be read the third time and passed.

Human Organ TraffickingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

December 13th, 2022 / 11:55 a.m.
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Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, I have two petitions to present today.

The first petition is in support of Bill S-223, which is a bill to prohibit forced organ harvesting and trafficking. The bill would make it a criminal offence for a person to go abroad and receive an organ taken without consent. It would also create a mechanism by which a person could be deemed inadmissible to Canada if they are involved in forced organ harvesting and trafficking.

This bill has been before the House in various forms for the last 15 years, and it will be proceeding to a final vote tomorrow. The petitioners no doubt hope that it will finally pass into law.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

December 7th, 2022 / 6:10 p.m.
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James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Madam Speaker, it is indeed an honour to rise today to speak to Bill S-223, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to stop the trafficking in human organs. I want to thank Senator Salma Ataullahjan, who brought this bill forward in the Senate, where it passed all three readings. It is now being considered here in the House of Commons, sponsored by my colleague from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.

This bill would amend the Criminal Code to create some indictable offences for those who are engaged in illegal organ harvesting. It would also allow the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship to intercede. If it is believed that someone is in Canada as a permanent resident or here as a foreign national, they can be deemed inadmissible to Canada if they have participated, in one way or another, in the harvesting of human organs.

I have been advocating for this for quite some time. We brought forward the Sergei Magnitsky law, which passed this place unanimously in 2018. The government has failed to use it since that time, other than for the first tranche of people who were sanctioned. It was to make sure that those individuals who are committing gross human rights violations around the world were held to account and that they were not allowed to use Canada as a safe haven.

We know there has been a systematic organ harvesting program going on in China, led by the Communist regime in Beijing. They have used it on political dissidents and ethnic and religious minorities, like the Falun Gong practitioners, like the Uighurs, like Christians and others. They have gone out after them, arrested them and then forcibly removed their organs to profit from them.

We talk about gross human rights violations. It is disgusting that someone would actually take people who are being persecuted because they are a minority group or someone who does not agree with the regime in Beijing, or other countries for that matter, and arrest them, detain them and then literally rip them apart and market their organs around the world.

Bill S-223 would make sure that those individuals, if they ever came to Canada, would face our criminal justice system. They would not just be facing sanctions and be banned from Canada or have their assets frozen here in Canada, but they would face criminal prosecution here in Canada.

Let us consider someone who needed an organ transplant and knowingly used an organ that was harvested in this manner from a political dissident, from a Falun Gong practitioner or Uighurs. Right now, the Uighurs are being persecuted to the highest level. Essentially a genocide is being carried out by the Communist regime in Beijing against the Uighurs. If somebody wanted to buy one of these organs, they could be facing criminal prosecution here in Canada.

We know that this market exists. Estimates suggest that illegal organ trafficking generates $1 billion to $2 billion Canadian every year. That is sourced from 12,000 illegal transplants, predominantly coming from mainland China. That is 12,000 transplants a year. We have to put an end to this.

I had the privilege of working with the Falun Dafa Association here in Canada. It represents Falun Gong practitioners. Many of them have fled mainland China to make sure they had the ability here in Canada to have the things that we take for granted, such as freedom of association, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. All of that is denied by the Communist regime in China.

They put together some great research over the years. A former colleague has put together a rather large report with the assistance of David Matas. When I say a former colleague, I mean David Kilgour, who was a long-time MP here, who always championed human rights.

They had a list of over 150 individuals who were profiting from the sale of illegally obtained organs that were harvested from Falun Gong practitioners. Last spring, I presented a petition that called on the government to look at this. It said that in the last 21 years, Communist Party officials had orchestrated the torture and killing of a large number of people who practised Falun Gong and that it was being done on a mass scale so their vital organs could fuel the communist regime's organ transplant trade. There were 14 names to sanction under the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, the Sergei Magnitsky Law, and the government responded but never sanctioned any of the individuals named.

In October 2021, I sent a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs congratulating her on her new appointment and asking her to take action on behalf of Falun Gong practitioners. I asked her to look at the entire list of individuals, which said who they were, what position they held in mainland China and what operations they were involved in with regard to persecuting and arresting Falun Gong practitioners, harvesting their organs and ultimately trading those organs around the world. I first sent the 150 names to her predecessor at the time and then to her. Again, we got a response but no action was taken.

I know the bill is getting support from all sides of the House and from every corner of the chamber, but we need to make sure we step up and sanction those individuals to ensure they are not coming to Canada. We can sanction them using the Sergei Magnitsky Law. They are hiding their wealth, taking advantage of our strong banking system, taking advantage of our fairly robust real estate market and capitalizing on the illicit gains they have been able to achieve because of this illegal trade in organs.

There are Canadians who need organ transplants. We have to encourage more and more people to donate organs in Canada so that we can extend the life of those who need transplants. That way, we can also deter this illicit trade in illegally harvested human organs and make sure it does not spread to other jurisdictions. We always like to concentrate on the communist regime in China, but we know this is happening in other places in the world. There are stories of African nations, and it is not just governments doing this, but gangs and the people out there in human trafficking who are resorting to this as a way to generate illicit revenues.

We need to continue to stand on the side of the individuals who cannot stand up for themselves. We have to make sure Canada continues to be a leader on the issue of human rights.

We need to make sure that those committing these crimes can be held to account. I know Bill S-223 would go a long way in ensuring that they would not be allowed to work in Canada and would be arrested if they did, and would not be allowed to travel to Canada or they would be arrested and face charges. We also need to make sure that those who know they are purchasing organs through this gross human rights violation of illegal organ harvesting face the full cost and full force of law here in Canada.

I again want to congratulate Senator Ataullahjan for bringing this bill forward. It is something she has been working on for a number of years. It has died on the Order Paper in the past, and this is our opportunity to make sure it comes into force as quickly as possible.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

December 7th, 2022 / 6:05 p.m.
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Lori Idlout NDP Nunavut, NU

Uqaqtittiji, I thank my constituents in Nunavut for putting their trust in me. I will continue to work hard to ensure their needs are being met and to ensure their voices are being heard.

Bill S-223, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act related to the trafficking in human organs, is important to many Canadians and people abroad. This bill, if passed, could do one of three things.

The bill’s proposed amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act could help to ensure that receiving organs or benefiting economically from this illicit trade is inadmissible in Canada. This is particularly important for developing countries where impoverished people are experiencing forced removal of organs, like kidneys and livers. This could be a strong message to countries like India and Pakistan that have corrupt agents to people in developed countries, including Canada.

The bill, if passed, could send a clear message that the government should do what it can to protect the vulnerable people who are exploited by these heinous crimes. Most importantly, the issue of organ trafficking is not a partisan one and we need to work together to get this bill passed.

We know that organs, like kidneys and livers, are being forcibly removed from many people worldwide. It is a very real problem on which the government has been needing to pass legislation for a while. It is something that, through several Parliaments, we have been waiting for substantive action on. This is the opportunity to pass this important legislation.

The World Health Organization has noted that one out of 10 organ transplants involves a trafficked human organ. This totals about 10,000 a year. We know this is a crime that disproportionately affects people who live in developing countries that do not have access to the same rights, privileges and equality under the law.

The Canadian government, by taking a firm stance on this issue, is sending a message that the trafficking of human organs is a criminal action and should be punished as such. In addition to supporting this initiative, more should be done to encourage ethical, safe organ donation domestically to alleviate the need for trafficked organs.

A total of 2,782 organ transplants were performed in Canada in 2021, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. There are more than 3,300 Canadians on waiting lists for a kidney transplant, which is almost double the number from 20 years ago, and close to a third of them are from Ontario, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Organ donation is greatly needed within this country. With such a large need within this country, it is important to have a conversation on how the Canadian health care system needs to talk about these needs. With so many Canadians needing organ donations, the illegal trade of organs in Canada continues to grow.

The people who are exploited in this trade have given testimony speaking to their experiences. There are stories of people who have woken up in a drugged haze to someone wearing a surgical mask and gloves telling them that their kidney has just been removed and that they need to take care of themselves. Often, these victims can suffer very serious, lifelong health consequences from that and because of the nature of the operation, some people have ultimately died from it.

In expressing what matters to indigenous peoples, this is an opportunity to remind all Canadians and parliamentarians of the consequences of federal government neglect in investing in first nations, Métis and Inuit health. Indigenous peoples continue to suffer elevated health indicators worse than those of mainstream Canadians.

Generally, the health care needs of indigenous peoples are not being met. Nunavut continues to rely too much on a medical travel system that does not invest well enough in the potential to invest in human resources in Nunavut and indigenous peoples across Canada. An article regarding challenges experienced by indigenous transplant patients in Canada confirmed:

Northern, remote and rural Indigenous populations are further challenged as small population sizes mean that there are significantly fewer local diagnostic and health-care services, and the distances to travel to receive these services is often challenging for patients and families, particularly when regular treatments are required.

By addressing the seriousness of this issue, and through years of discussion, this bill should be passed.

I am pleased to see that this Parliament has tried to address that by making it easier for people to sign up and become an organ donor. However, the illegal organ trade continues to grow and people continue to be exploited. The demand for organs is high and as our population ages, we certainly need to have smart and effective policy to address this issue. It is important that education on organ donation be made more accessible to Canadians.

Canada has a shortage of organs, with 4,129 patients in 2020 waiting for transplants at the end of the year and 276 Canadians who were waiting on a transplant list dying. That was up from 250 to 223 in previous years.

Indigenous children, including first nations, Inuit and Métis, experience persistent health and social inequities and face higher rates of end-stage organ failure requiring solid organ transplantation. The reasons for these inequities are multi-faceted and linked to Canada's history of colonialism and racism. Organizations and labs across Canada continue to conduct research to present their findings of inadequate health care system experiences that indigenous peoples face. With a better discussion, there is hope for the future.

New Democrats have long opposed all forms of trafficking, be it human trafficking for sexual exploitation, labour trafficking or the trafficking of human organs. We continue to fight for human rights.

We all must do what we can to protect vulnerable people. By passing this bill, Canada can send a strong message to other countries. Let us stand together in sending this message out.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

December 7th, 2022 / 5:55 p.m.
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Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, as members of Parliament, we have the opportunity to speak in this House about issues that are important to us. Every day, our colleagues rise to commend or denounce a situation that sometimes brings us together and other times drives us apart.

Everyone knows that I am very happy when I can jump into the political arena and debate with my colleagues from other parties. It is not news to my colleagues that I like standing up to my Liberal, Conservative or NDP friends once in a while—with all due respect, of course. That is what our job is all about: defending our ideas. Having said that, there are some issues where debate is not really appropriate, not because I want to impose my ideas, but because, very often, unanimity triumphs over difference of opinion. Most of the time, this happens when the issues relate to the protection of human rights or the well-being of individuals.

As the Bloc Québécois immigration and human rights critic, today I want to talk about the protection and well-being of individuals. I want to talk primarily about Bill S-223, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, trafficking in human organs, which was debated and passed in the Senate. This shows that there is consensus among Canadians and Quebeckers with respect to the cruel and barbaric practice of organ trafficking. There is already a consensus on this. Therefore, no one will be surprised to hear me say that, just like my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I support the principle of this bill.

Before continuing, I would like us to examine some notions together. Organ transplants were first performed in the 1950s and have saved countless lives. However, the demand for organs now far exceeds supply. It is estimated that legal transplants meet the needs of 10% of all patients on waiting lists worldwide. Consequently, thousands of people die each year waiting for a transplant. There is a reason why organ trafficking is on the rise. Just look at the numbers. The desperate need for organ transplants has led to a thriving criminal, transnational and lucrative market. Organ trafficking is a global phenomenon.

This phenomenon is everywhere, even though the practice is prohibited in nearly every country. It is a practice that is widely considered unethical and, sadly, it disproportionately affects the poor and disadvantaged. The numbers speak for themselves. The typical recipient is a 48-year-old man with an average annual income of $53,000. In contrast, the typical donor is a 28-year-old man with an average annual income of $480. The problem is that these transplants performed abroad are dangerous, not only for the donors, but also for the recipients. There is no regulatory framework to ensure the safety of the procedure or the viability of the organs in either the donor or recipient countries. Although the issue of organ trafficking is internationally recognized, attempts to prevent and prohibit it have had limited success. As a result, this crime remains widespread in many parts of the world.

So far, legislative measures in Canada to strengthen federal laws on trafficking in human organs have yielded poor results. “Canada is back”, the Prime Minister told us in 2015 and during the last Parliament. To that I say that Canada is far from back. What is more, on international human rights files, Canada has been dragging its feet for some time now. There is currently no Canadian law prohibiting Canadians from going abroad to buy organs, get a transplant and return to Canada. In these conditions, we certainly cannot say that the measures taken by the Government of Canada have scared off many giants. In any case, certainly not China.

I can say that the situation in China is especially concerning. It is the only country in the world that organizes trafficking in organs on an industrial scale by removing organs from executed prisoners of conscience. This is forced organ removal. My Uighur friends know this all too well. I will rise in the House and denounce loud and clear the atrocities committed by the Chinese government against their community any chance I get. Today, I am doing so once again because we cannot say it enough.

As I stand here before members of the House, nearly two million Uighur and Turkic Muslims are in concentration camps, where many acts of torture are committed. Human beings are killed in cold blood and their organs are sold on the red market. At the risk of repeating myself, but above all out of necessity, I will again state the following in the House. At this very moment, in China, the most awful crime that a government can perpetrate against its own citizens is being committed, the crime of genocide.

China currently has the two largest transplant programs in the world. They grew quickly in the early 2000s without a corresponding increase in voluntary organ donors. This has rightfully raised questions about the origin of the organs. The trade in organs harvested from Uighurs interned in Chinese camps has been repeatedly investigated. Unsurprisingly, the investigations are always suspended.

We have to ask ourselves why we were elected, but also why we ran in the first place. I realize there can be a political price associated with going after a giant like China. There can be economic repercussions. Every single one of our ridings has economic interests in China. That is to be expected because China is an economic giant. At the same time, as we speak, Uighur women are being forcibly sterilized and Uighur children are being taken away from their families and placed with Han families.

As we speak, Uighurs' organs are being stolen. The stolen organs are then transplanted in a capitalist market where they can be bought and sold. Canadian citizens take advantage of this market. It is important to remember why we are in politics. Yes, we have to stand up to these people no matter the political cost. I am ready to put my seat on the line by standing up to China.

When I say “China”, I am talking about the Chinese communist regime in power, which is committing atrocities against its own people. Bill S‑223 is therefore very important. We are going to stand up to China for once. This will be one of the little things that we are doing, one of the small steps that we are taking, to stand against the giant that is China.

I will close with the following point. I do not know what is going to happen with Bill S‑223, but at least no one can plead ignorance, which is the greatest ally of totalitarian regimes, after blindness. Let us be neither ignorant nor blind. It is with this in mind that I will be supporting the bill to combat organ trafficking, but it is mainly for reasons of safety, social justice and principle.

As members can imagine, I will never compromise on this. My principles and my conscience come first, and that is how we best represent our constituents who have decided to put their trust in us.