House of Commons Hansard #97 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was election.


Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Saint Boniface—Saint Vital Manitoba


Dan Vandal LiberalMinister of Northern Affairs

Mr. Speaker, kwe, kwe. Tansi.

Today I am participating in the debate from my office in the riding of Saint Boniface—Saint Vital in Winnipeg, the homeland of the Métis nation and Treaty 1 territory.

I am proud to support Bill C-30. There are many important reasons to proceed with passing this essential budget implementation bill. Although all those reasons are important to our collective future, the most important, in my view, has to do with how this bill will benefit indigenous peoples and those living in Canada's north.

Our recovery plan for jobs, growth and resilience will improve the lives of people in the north in a significant and measurable way through investments in the fight against climate change, education, health, well-being and young people.

Bill C-30 creates economic opportunities for northerners while responding to the many socioeconomic challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This bill addresses the need to fight climate change, and nobody is more aware of the need for urgent action on the climate crisis than those living in the north and in the Arctic. Canada's north is warming at three times the global rate, which has massive repercussions on the lives and livelihoods of northerners. The territories are experiencing increased wildfires, loss of sea ice, shoreline erosion, melting permafrost and adverse impacts on roads and infrastructure due to a change in climate. Indigenous peoples are experiencing its impact on their way of life, which is closely tied to land and water.

The good news is that those experiencing this would benefit from our plans to build back better. This is already apparent in places like Yukon, where the government is funding 100 climate change and clean-energy projects totalling over $50 million. This funding has supported northern and indigenous climate leadership to prepare for climate impacts and introduce innovative renewable energy projects that are locally led.

I recently had the opportunity to meet virtually with three first nations in Yukon and northern British Columbia who were able to install microgrid systems to reduce reliance on diesel with funding from our northern reach program. It was so very impressive to see how this is helping to improve food security by installing solar panels on a teaching and working farm and providing power to fish and culture camps so people connecting with the land through traditional activities now have access to sustainable power. To continue supporting locally led solutions, budget 2021 commits a further $25 million this year to the Government of Yukon to support its climate change priorities.

To help more northern communities transition to clean energy, budget 2021 proposes to invest $40.4 million over three years, effective this fiscal year, to support the feasibility and planning of hydroelectricity and grid interconnection projects in the north, providing clean power to northern communities and helping reduce emissions from mining projects. This could advance projects such as the Atlin hydro expansion project in Yukon and the Kivalliq hydro-fibre link project in Nunavut. Just this week, I joined Kivalliq Inuit Association in announcing an additional $3 million to support progress on this very important project.

Budget 2021 also proposes to invest $36 million over three years through the strategic partnership initiative. These funds would be used to build capacity for local economically sustainable clean-energy projects in indigenous communities.

The pandemic has hurt many, many small and medium-sized businesses, indigenous partners and particularly the tourism and hospitality sector in the north and we are responding with historic investments to help. Five hundred million dollars would be earmarked for a tourism relief fund which would be administered by the regional development agencies, supporting local tourism businesses in adapting their products and services to public health measures.

Budget 2021 also proposes to provide $2.4 million to the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada to help the indigenous tourism industry rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID. To help indigenous entrepreneurs start and grow businesses, and to create jobs to generate prosperity in their communities, the budget pledges to invest $42 million over three years, starting this year, to expand the aboriginal entrepreneurship program. This would directly support indigenous-led businesses and help indigenous communities generate wealth by improving access to capital and business opportunities.

Our government is determined to ensure that northerners, and particularly young people, will be able to fully capitalize on increasing business opportunities and contribute their skills and talents to their communities. A reflection of this commitment is budget 2021's proposal to provide $8 million over two years, starting this year, to the Government of Northwest Territories to facilitate the transformation of Aurora College to a polytechnic university. This would help create new opportunities in the Northwest Territories and prepare northerners for good jobs.

To further boost employment, budget 2021 would expand access to the travel component of the northern residents deduction. Northerners without employer-provided travel benefits would be able to claim up to $1,200 in eligible travel expenses. This measure would take effect as of the 2020-21 tax year. We have also proposed $117 million to renew the indigenous business community fund. This proposed funding would bring the total of indigenous community business fund support to $234 million to ensure indigenous communities can continue to provide services and support jobs for their members through collectively owned businesses and micro-businesses affected by this pandemic.

Another way budget 2021 is designed to meet the needs of northerners is by increasing access to housing, which is integral to people's health and welfare. If approved by Parliament, this budget would provide immediate support of $25 million this year to the governments of NWT and Nunavut as a down payment on the construction of 30 new housing units across the territories.

Indigenous peoples across the north would also have access to a wide range of enhanced programs and supports strengthened by budget 2021's proposed $18-billion investment to close the gaps between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. This would include $4.3 billion over four years, starting in 2021-22, for the indigenous community infrastructure fund, a distinctions-based fund, to support immediate demands prioritized by indigenous partners, such as housing or other infrastructure.

The price of food in northern Canada is considerably higher than in the rest of the country. That is why budget 2021 proposes to provide $163 million over three years to expand the nutrition north Canada program and enable me, as the Minister of Northern Affairs, to work directly with indigenous partners, including those in Inuit Nunangat, to combat food insecurity.

Last year, our government launched the harvesters support grant, which provides funding to help reduce the high costs associated with hunting and provide better access to traditional food. That is an essential component of food sovereignty.

Northerners will benefit from ongoing investments in the development of infrastructure and fast-track initiatives to end the national tragedy of missing and murdered indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.

The goals and objectives of Canada's Arctic and northern policy framework were developed jointly with Arctic and northern partners.

This budget reflects what I have heard from northerners since I became minister. It recognizes the important roles that northerners play in our country. It is a critical step forward to reconciliation with indigenous peoples. I encourage everyone to support this legislation.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:05 p.m.


Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to question the minister from Saint Boniface—Saint Vital on the budget. He talked a lot about support for indigenous communities and so on. I recently met with a number of the first nations bands in my riding of North Okanagan—Shuswap. They pointed out the difficulty in receiving funding for infrastructure projects. Some of the freshwater programs have been completed. They are looking at expanding their economy and the local economy through collaborative working relationships with local governments, and there are so many complications in trying to put that together.

The shortfall we see in this budget is that there is very little focus on long-term objectives for infrastructure development and so on. Would the member support abandoning the Canada Infrastructure Bank, which has been put in place and has failed dramatically at delivering infrastructure projects in Canada, and repurposing that funding toward collaborative infrastructure projects between first nations and local governments?

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:10 p.m.


Dan Vandal Liberal Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, MB

Mr. Speaker, I do not agree with the premise of the question. We are investing $18 billion into indigenous communities over the next five years in partnership with Inuit nations, first nations and the Métis nation.

All indigenous nations will have access to the indigenous-based infrastructure funding, which is $4.3 billion over four years. That is certainly over $1 billion a year. It is a substantial infrastructure announcement. It is distinctions-based and its priorities will be determined by the indigenous nations themselves, which can include housing.

Our commitment to infrastructure is second to none and I am very proud of the progress we are making.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:10 p.m.


Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am glad my hon. colleague, the Minister of Northern Affairs, talked about the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls inquiry. The government has not taken action when it comes to the calls for justice. It does not have a plan. It does not have a framework.

We have lost three people from the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in my riding who are currently under independent investigations by police that are not indigenous-led: Chantel Moore in New Brunswick; and Julian Jones, who died at the hands of the RCMP in Tla-o-qui-aht just a couple of months ago.

When is the government going to come back with a plan and reforms for the RCMP? These people cannot get a meeting with the Minister of Public Safety. I hope this minister will meet with them and listen to their concerns.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:10 p.m.


Dan Vandal Liberal Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, MB

Mr. Speaker, I agree that we all have much more work to do to meet the needs of indigenous women and girls. However, our government has invested over $30 billion since 2015 in new funding over and above the base funding of the departments for health care, education, justice and infrastructure. In northern Manitoba alone, we have invested over $1.5 billion for all of those preventative issues. We have introduced co-developed bills on child and family services and language.

We have made progress. However, there is so much more work to do. We need to keep working in collaboration.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:10 p.m.


Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

As my party's critic for status of women, I want to point out that we have been waiting a very long time for the government to implement the recommendations in the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. I hope this will not turn into an election promise, which is what many of the measures in the budget seem to be. I hope we will see concrete action as soon as possible in honour of missing and murdered indigenous women.

My colleague had a lot to say about the environment and investment. It is good for the environment, and the government recently committed to some demanding targets. The problem with Bill C-12 is that its targets are not associated with actual objectives or an independent entity to monitor whether those targets are being met. The government is also pumping more and more money into pipelines and offshore drilling. We had a debate about Enbridge's Line 5 just yesterday, in fact. I would like my colleague to comment on the concrete environmental actions that the government must take as quickly as possible.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:15 p.m.


Dan Vandal Liberal Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for this important question. Her intervention included a number of questions.

Our government has invested over $30 billion since 2015 through partnerships with indigenous nations in the areas of education, public health, justice, and child and family services. I believe that we have made excellent investments, but we still have a lot of work to do.

The highlights of this budget are children's services and education, in which we will invest $31 billion over five years. In addition, we will invest $20 billion over five years in the environment. In these times of environmental crisis, such investments are essential. In partnership with indigenous nations, we will also invest $18 billion to address their needs.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:15 p.m.


Tamara Jansen Conservative Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.” That is a quote from the great Charles Dickens in his novel David Copperfield. It was published way back in 1850, but is just as prescient as ever 171 years later. It is this basic principle of the need to live within one's means that has stood the test of time, keeping people and countries out of the poorhouse century after century. However, with the pandemic, we have seen common sense flung out the window, baby, bathwater and all.

Under the guise of the unprecedented nature of COVID-19, we have seen the government wield the heavy hand of opportunistic change in this budget, adding 16 billion dollars' worth of new permanent spending while Canadians are too busy trying to keep food on their tables and clothes on their backs to fight back. In a finance committee dissenting report, the Conservative members stated:

Now is no time for risky experiments or fantastical utopias. Instead, we must do what has always worked: free enterprise. Only voluntary exchange of work for wages, investment for interest and product for payment allows free people “to do well by doing good”....

Unfortunately, the Minister of Finance has ignored the true value and dignity that work affords a person, and has thrown the dice on a plan to print as much money as she wants to spend, hoping that her assumptions of low interest rates and low inflation last forever. What about the assumption that interest rates will remain low for the long term? Has the finance minister run some what-if scenarios with her team to see how much could change if any one of her hunches fail? The Parliamentary Budget Officer has intimated that there is no wiggle room in the current budget for inflation or interest rates to rise without serious consequences. It looks like we got a budget full of unicorn dreams that is long on hope and short on reality.

What is the reality we are currently living in? I can say with full confidence that inflation has reared its ugly head at every hardware and grocery store across the country, hitting those who can least afford it the hardest. Not only has damage to the global supply chain kicked low inflation in the teeth, but Canadians find themselves short on cash for necessities every month. In the latest consumer debt index survey from MNP LTD, just over half of Canadians surveyed said they are, at most, $200 per month away from being unable to pay all of their monthly bills and debt obligations. That is an incredibly scary statistic when we know that the cost of meat and dairy is rising, along with that of gas and rent, at a very steady pace.

With the continued implementation of quantitative easing, the Bank of Canada, in concert with the government, has decided to print money as fast as the government spends it. It has been proven by our own finance department that we do not need the huge sums of dollars the Bank of Canada is pumping off its printing presses. Our economy has been functioning well, with mortgage business increasing by 20% over the previous year. No one has been hoarding their dollars, which can be seen by the 20% increase in cash available on the market. The suggestion that these measures were necessary because of the risk of deflation has also been proven to be completely false.

As the government continues to spend, supported by the complicit printing presses at the Bank of Canada, our dollar is being seriously devalued, and the hardest hit are those who can least afford it. For those who rent, the rent is going up. For those going to the grocery store, the grocery bill is going up. For those getting gas at the gas pump, the gas bill is going up.

At the finance committee, the Governor of the Bank of Canada was adamant that he is completely independent from the government and the finance minister's policy decisions. However, let us take a deeper dive into what that independence actually looks like.

Last year our deficit was $352 billion, and last year the Bank of Canada bought $302 billion of that debt. This year our deficit will be $154 billion, and lo and behold, the Bank of Canada will buy $156 billion of that debt. Is it a mere coincidence that these numbers look so eerily similar, or can we all just admit that the governor has no choice but to respond to the policy decisions of the finance minister?

At committee, the Conservatives put forward the following recommendation: “Restore the independence of the Bank of Canada to ensure it focuses solely on its mandate of targeting inflation to 2 per cent a year.” It is very deep within the report, but it is there, because we believe this is imperative for a strong economy.

As we see, inflation has risen above the 2% target, and the lockstep of government deficits and Bank of Canada debt purchases continues. It is clear that independence is not functioning as it should.

The business of creating dollars out of thin air that has been happening in our country simply debases the money that already exists. That is the money people have in their savings accounts. It is the money they got in last month's paycheques. It is the money they have been saving for down payments on their first homes. It now buys less than it did a year ago. The monetary policy this government is utilizing to cover its unhinged spending is costing Canadians big time. It is nothing but a tax by another name, and the poor middle class end up bearing the brunt of it.

The Liberal budget has been widely criticized by many economists for being more concerned with redistribution than with economic growth. The focus is not so much on earning the money, but on borrowing it, so much so that we will borrow more in the next six years than in the last 152 combined.

No new taxes were another recommendation that the Conservatives included in our dissenting report. The Financial Post recently reported that our finance minister has indicated her support for joining President Biden's plan for a global minimum corporate tax, urging all countries to do the same. As a matter of fact, she called the idea “a breakthrough moment”. She made it clear that global interests are a priority over the best economic and financial interests of Canada, our workers and our young people, who will inherit our debt and our social programs.

What about $10-a-day day care? It is the centrepiece of this budget. The path to getting every Canadian back to work, we hear, is making sure every woman can put her children in a government-run institution for a mere 10 bucks a day. The finance minister would have us believe that all the mothers out there have been dying for this one-size-fits-all solution.

As a matter of fact, what I hear from constituents is that they want choice. Some prefer to leave their preschool children with close family, perhaps with grandparents where they are able to share their cultural and moral values. Others might want to share child care responsibilities with their neighbours, giving them flexibility around their very complex schedules. A one-size-fits-all program just does not fit the needs of Canadian parents for flexibility and alternatives. Does this government really think that it knows better than a mother what sort of care would be in her child's interests?

Add to that the challenge of getting the provinces on board. The finance minister has made this promise with some big strings attached. Since she will only foot 50% of the bill, the provinces will have to cough up the rest. Right now they cannot afford it, according to our Parliamentary Budget Officer. From where I stand, it looks like a very empty promise meant only as part of an upcoming election platform. The Liberals have been pledging this for years, and reneging on it just as often.

When Liberals stand up in the House and talk about their record, I would urge Canadians to stop and think about how much their grocery bills have risen since the Liberals came to power, about how much it costs to fill their gas tanks at the pumps or how far away their dreams of owning their own homes have become. Under the Liberals' watch, everything has gone up in price.

As Conservatives, we know that there is nothing better for our country than having its young people aspire to new heights, develop new ideas, and work with their hands and their hearts to create new wealth and prosperity free from government overreach. It is our commitment to all Canadians to create opportunities for them to be the solution and the economic drivers of our recovery. It is Canadians' hard work and ingenuity that makes this country great, not the Liberal government. I am thankful for all that Canadians do for their communities.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia


Sean Fraser LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and to the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her remarks, although I was particularly put out by the aspersions she cast upon the independent Governor of the Bank of Canada. She has made wild allegations, which I can only describe as a conspiracy theory, that somehow the Governor of the Bank of Canada has lost his independence from the Government of Canada. I attended the same finance committee meetings as the hon. member did, where the Governor of the Bank of Canada affirmed his independence. It demonstrates to me that the Conservatives are not serious about trying to form government when they ignore the independence of this important institution, which potentially has never been more important.

I will give the hon. member an opportunity to correct the words she put out on the floor of the House of Commons in her speech. Does she seriously believe that the government and the Governor of the Bank of Canada are working with one another in a way that runs contrary to the essential independence of the governor, or is she peddling a conspiracy theory for purely partisan, political reasons?

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:25 p.m.


Tamara Jansen Conservative Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that the hon. member look at the numbers again that I mentioned in my speech. Our deficit last year was $352 billion, and $302 billion of debt was bought. This year, our deficit will be $154 billion and lo and behold, as I mentioned, the Bank of Canada will buy $156 billion of debt. It cannot be mere coincidence. These numbers look eerily similar and this is a massive problem. We need to get back to having the focus of the Bank of Canada be on the 2% inflation rate target that it had set for itself.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:25 p.m.


Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.

At the beginning, she seemed to be expressing disapproval of the government's extravagant spending.

Where would she like to make cuts? What does she think of my suggestion that we start by cutting subsidies to the oil industry?

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:25 p.m.


Tamara Jansen Conservative Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, I did not quite hear the end of the question, but what we have mentioned as Conservatives over and over is the fact that obviously programs were absolutely necessary during the pandemic, but they needed to be targeted programs that actually helped those in need. We still do not have well-targeted programs, and many people are falling between the cracks. Look at the HASCAP: Very few people have taken that up and they are the most impacted in this pandemic. Again, it is about doing programs that actually work and are targeted.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:25 p.m.


Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member on one hand is saying that the government should not spend so much on programs, that we need to be mindful of the debt and that we cannot spend in these difficult times. On the other, she is saying that we should assist Canadians who need help during the pandemic.

We really cannot suck and blow at the same time. The truth of the matter is that Canadians need help during this difficult time. Would the member support the call for the government to ensure that seniors and people with disabilities also get the support they need? That is not in the budget at the level at which it is needed.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:30 p.m.


Tamara Jansen Conservative Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to reiterate my answer from the previous question. It is very important that the programs instituted actually work, and that we are not spending more than we should be spending. We have seen many, many programs not work well, but I agree that we need to ensure that those with disabilities and seniors are well supported. Absolutely. As the member mentioned, they are not well targeted either.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:30 p.m.


Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate and support early childhood education and day care programs for those who want them, especially those who are most vulnerable as single or low-income parents who need or want to work and deserve to have quality day care spaces designed and available for them. However, choice in child care is a high priority for mothers and fathers in my riding, including the options of using family or friends, or participating in a co-operative. There is an amazing co-operative in my riding of Yorkton—Melville.

Under the government's national child care plan, will all working parents be required to use a national, government-run child care system as their only option to receive financial support while participating in the workforce?

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:30 p.m.


Tamara Jansen Conservative Cloverdale—Langley City, BC

Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more that choice is what parents are looking for in their day care. If we want to keep mothers working, it would be important to ensure they have choice and have day cares that are flexible, rather than very set, stringent nationally run government day care systems. We need to look at how we can ensure that women will be given choices that fit their complex schedules.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

1:30 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

It being 1:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's Order Paper.

The House resumed from April 12 consideration of the motion that Bill C-210, An Act to amend the Canada Revenue Agency Act (organ and tissue donors), be read the third time and passed.

Canada Revenue Agency ActPrivate Members' Business

1:30 p.m.


Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-210 at third reading. I have already spoken to this bill in the past, last November.

This bill seeks to amend the Canada Revenue Agency Act to allow the CRA to enter into agreements with the provinces and territories to collect, via income tax returns, any information that Quebec and the provinces require to establish or maintain an organ donor registry. The second part of the bill would allow the CRA to disclose this information to the provinces and territories with which it has entered into an agreement.

I will discuss three different aspects of this bill. First, I will lay out our party's position on this matter. Then I will describe the state of organ donation in Quebec, Canada and the world, and share some examples of cases. Finally, I will talk a little about the ongoing difficulties caused by the pandemic for organ donation.

I will start by stating the Bloc Québécois's position even though this bill will not affect Quebec at all. Let me explain. We still want Quebec to administer its own single tax return. That is no secret. Even though we have not yet made that happen, Quebec can get all the information it needs to have its own income tax return. The Bloc Québécois therefore has no problem with this bill, but Quebec is unlikely to want to enter into an agreement with the Canada Revenue Agency because Quebec, as I said, already has its own tax return.

Let me reiterate that what the Bloc Québécois wants is to implement a single tax return—I am giving a shout-out to my colleague from Joliette—that is administered by Quebec, which means that this bill would not affect Quebec at all. Even if Quebec wanted to enter into an agreement, we would have no problem with the idea of sharing this information. Quebec is free to enter into an agreement or not. This bill does not commit Quebec to anything or limit it in any way. Allowing the Canada Revenue Agency to collect information as part of an agreement with a participating province and sharing that information with the provinces is not a problem. It actually makes sense because the CRA handles all the tax returns outside Quebec.

I will give a few examples where that has already been put in place in Canada. Nova Scotia recently passed a law to reverse consent for organ donation. Nova Scotians are now deemed to be consenting unless they state otherwise. Nova Scotia's decision to adopt this policy of presumed consent to organ donation has pushed some provinces to consider whether that is the best solution to increase the number of donors. Survivors and loved ones think that it is, but the answer is not that simple for some experts.

Nova Scotia adopting legislation that assumes all citizens are organ donors has given the rest of the country something to think about. The Premier of Nova Scotia, Stephen McNeil, hopes that his initiative will snowball, but for now, nothing is certain. While New Brunswick is looking at the idea closely, the governments of Quebec and British Columbia will be closely monitoring what happens in Nova Scotia, and Ontario says it is happy with its system.

Some European countries like France and Spain adopted presumed consent several years ago. At this time, the data do not show a clear correlation between presumed consent and an increase in the number of donors. Marie-Chantal Fortin, a nephrologist and bioethicist at CHUM, said that it is a simple solution to a complex problem. She pointed out that countries with presumed consent like Spain have excellent organ donation rates, yet the United States, which does not have presumed consent, also has a similarly high organ donation rate.

What experts do agree on is that better training is needed for medical teams and, above all, people need to talk about organ donation with their friends and family. This is yet another argument for improving funding for the health care system.

This debate is gaining momentum in Quebec. I once had the opportunity to witness a heated debate on this topic at a policy convention. Quebeckers are supposed to indicate on their health card whether they consent to organ donation in the event of death. Quebec has all the information it needs to improve the situation.

According to experts, increasing the supply of organs would be very helpful, but we need more doctors who specialize in organ and tissue retrieval and transplants. This brings us back to the subject that the Bloc Québécois is still advocating for, which is the importance of increasing health transfers to Quebec and the provinces. It is only logical. Without additional funding, it would be difficult for Quebec and the provinces to have these medical specialists. The federal government had a chance to increase these transfers in the latest budget, but all we heard was radio silence.

In addition, the number of potential donors is relatively limited, which further complicates things. Statistics drawn from current events speak for themselves. There is not enough supply to meet the demand. Even though the number of transplants has increased by 33% over the past 10 years, there is still a shortage of organs in Canada, according to the latest data published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, or CIHI.

In 2008, 4,351 Canadians were on a transplant waiting list according to CIHI figures. In the same year, 2,782 organ transplants were performed in Canada, and 223 people died while waiting for transplants.

The increased need for organ transplantation is in part being driven by the rising number of Canadians diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease, which went up 32% over the 10 years studied. One of the reasons for the increased number of transplants is that many countries have expanded deceased organ donation practices beyond brain death cases to include donation after cardiac death, meaning the heart has permanently stopped beating.

This has led to an increase of almost 430% in the number of donation-after-cardiac-death organs used for transplantation, from 42 in 2009 to 222 in 2018. The number of donors after brain death also increased by 21% between 2009 and 2018. That is an encouraging trend, given that a deceased donor can provide up to eight organs.

Data published by CIHI also reveal that there were 555 living donors in Canada in 2018. These are people who donated a kidney or a lobe of liver. There were also 762 deceased donors in Canada. The number of deceased donors increased by 56% between 2009 and 2018, whereas the number of living donors remained stable.

I will now talk about a few cases. I was recently very touched by the testimony of a mother who spoke about her son, Justin Lefebvre, who drowned at a party. He unfortunately died far too young. As we can read on the website, Justin, who was eight years old, became a superhero because, by donating his organs, he saved the lives of four children and helped them regain their health. One of his friends and his family had the idea of creating a foundation to honour his memory, but especially to promote organ donation, increase awareness and raise money for research. I therefore invite members to visit the Fondation Justin Lefebvre website to find out more about this touching story. His mother also wrote a book about his story, which I recommend reading.

I also already talked about Sammy, a young boy from Montreal who was diagnosed four years ago with Kawasaki syndrome, a childhood illness that leads to heart complications. He has been living with a new heart for three years now. He is in good health and obviously believes in mandatory organ donation.

Linda Paradis's life was turned upside down at age 60, more than two years ago, when her lungs started to deteriorate. This active businesswoman from Quebec suddenly learned she had a few weeks to live. She ended up getting a double lung transplant. She believes in presumed consent, but knows that no doctor can remove organs without the family's consent.

I would like to add that the pandemic has exacerbated problems with organ donation. According to an article published in July 2020, the organ donation rate is the lowest it has been in five years because of COVID-19. The provincial organization responsible for organ management counted only two people who donated organs to save five patients in April 2020, while the number of donors was already low. Despite the resumption of activities in April, Transplant Québec noticed a 50% drop in the number of organ donors and a 60% drop in transplants for the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

In closing, I hope that we can come up with better solutions in this debate so that we can save lives without feeling uncomfortable talking about the signature on the back of the card. I invite people to visit the Facebook page “Le Don d'organes parlons-en, parlez-en”. Beyond just talking about it, however, I would suggest that we do something about it.

Canada Revenue Agency ActPrivate Members' Business

1:40 p.m.


Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a huge honour to rise today to speak to Bill C-210.

I want to start by sharing a story with my colleagues in the House of a fellow Vancouver Islander, Paul Underhill. Paul lives with cystic fibrosis. This past April he completed a five kilometre run and a five kilometre walk to commemorate the double lung transplant he received 10 years ago.

Paul was raising awareness for BC Transplant who say that there are more than 700 people currently on a wait-list for an organ transplant in British Columbia. Around 5,500 British Columbians are alive today because of organ donation. In the past year alone, 451 lives were saved because of organ donors.

Paul stated:

I want people to realize how much of an impact it can have. Just two minutes out of your life to register and you can literally save a life.

Inspired by Paul and the stories of others, some not so fortunate, I am honoured to rise today to speak to this bill. The bill was tabled by my good friend from Calgary Confederation, who has been determined on this bill. In the last Parliament, he tabled Bill C-316, which I was honoured to be a seconder of, and also worked with my Liberal colleague from Oakville North—Burlington on this bill. This bill should not be a partisan issue. When it comes to saving lives, lives that could be saved through the help of others, we should be working collectively together. Again, I want to thank my good friend from Calgary Confederation for his determination to see this through.

Bill C-210 allows the federal government to coordinate with provinces and territories to allow Canadians to register as an organ and tissue donor through their federal tax filing. We know Canadians are currently dying, as I stated, on wait-lists because our organ donation rate is unacceptably low. At present, only 20% of Canadians have joined their province's organ and tissue registry. This is unacceptable.

At the end of 2018, the most recent year of available data, there were 4,351 people across Canada on a waiting list for an organ transplant, including 2,890 who were active on that list. In total, 223 people died while waiting for a transplant. In order to meet this demand, improved coordination across provinces and territories is critically needed.

As New Democrats, we believe that we must make every possible effort to ensure that every Canadian who needs an organ or tissue transplant receives it. One donor could save up to eight lives and benefit more than 75 people, and yet at 18 donors per million people, Canada's current donation rate puts us in the lower third of developed countries.

Allowing Canadians to register as an organ and tissue donor through their tax returns would help increase registration rates, improve consent rates and help build a donation culture in Canada.

As New Democrats, we support the adoption of presumed consent or an opt-out system for organ and tissue donation. We understand that such an approach would make a huge difference in the number of organs available to save lives.

One potential concern that has been raised in association with the bill is the unauthorized sharing of personal information. However, individuals would still be required to consent to the sharing of that information before the agency would share that information with other levels of government for the purpose of being added to an organ and tissue donor registry. That is covered.

In the previous Parliament, the Standing Committee on Health undertook a study on organ donation in Canada. It met with key stakeholders. This bill aligns with long-standing advocacy and legislative work of New Democrats around organ donation. In February 2016, the MP for Edmonton Manning, whose own son has been the recipient of three donated livers, reintroduced a private member's bill calling for a national registry. Similar bills had previously been introduced seven times, by a Liberal and two New Democrats. Lou Sekora tabled it. New Democrat Judy Wasylycia-Leis tabled it. Another New Democrat, Malcolm Allen, in 2009 and again in 2013 tabled it.

Unfortunately, in the last Parliament, the Liberal caucus voted to defeat the member for Edmonton Manning's bill. This bill aligns with long-standing advocacy and legislative work, as I have cited, of New Democrats around organ donation. The bill is essentially a critical piece to creating a pan-Canadian organ donor registry, and it needs to be pushed forward.

The previous bill, Bill C-316, which passed in the House of Commons, went to the upper house where it stalled and died in the past Parliament. It is shameful that people's lives are being lost because of politics.

The Liberals, again, previously killed the pan-Canadian registry without studying it. The push for a rapid implementation of a pan-Canadian data and performance system for organ donation needs to be moved quickly, and we are offering our non-partisan support for this sensible proposal.

The Liberals saw this pass, it went to the Senate and they had ample time to implement the contents of the bill that could have saved lives. I urge the government for quick passage and for all members of Parliament to support the bill and get it to the upper house. I urge the upper house to pass this and give it royal assent quickly, because people's lives are at stake and the sense of urgency could not be greater.

I want to talk, more important, about some stories, but I will get to that in a second.

As New Democrats, we have consistently advocated for the adoption of a presumed consent or opt-out system for organ donation. It is an approach that would make a huge difference in the number of organs available to save lives. Unlike our current opt-in system, an opt-out approach would automatically register all citizens for organ donation unless they chose to indicate otherwise.

I will speak a bit about countries with opt-out systems that consistently record higher donation rates than opt-in countries like ours. Indeed, this approach has helped to make Spain a world leader in organ donation, which the previous speaker just spoke about, over the last 25 years. In Austria, the donor rate quadrupled after instituting opt-out legislation, and similar regulations in Belgium doubled kidney donations. The most important success of this system has been that it has led to organ donation being routinely considered when a patient dies, regardless of the circumstances of death.

I have heard from many people, stories of Canadians who have donated organs, and they inspire me.

Meghan Walker, a good friend of mine from Parksville, reached out to me last night to share her story. She donated her liver to her best friend, Michelle, saving her life. Michelle has two young children. She had one before the transplant and one since the transplant. She has a loving family, and that organ donation kept her alive. It saved her life.

Lorelie Rozzano from Nanaimo recently shared a story with me through my childhood friend, Bonnie Bartlett. It is about her daughter, Shannon McIntosh, who received a transplant. She told me this story, which I will share. She said, “I'll never forget hearing my daughter needed a liver transplant and that she only had a few months to live. I watched my daughter waste away as she fought to hold on. Then came the call. It was bittersweet. What brought us hope brought sorrow to another family.” This is too often the case.

She went on to say, ”On February 1, 2021, Shannon got her new liver. One day later, she was standing. A week later, she was walking around the hospital floor. Four weeks later, she was walking around the block. Eight weeks later, she was walking ten thousand steps at a time. Now I can barely keep up with her. Through the process, Shannon learned her donor was a young person. She cried when she heard that. There are no words big enough to describe our gratitude to the donor's family. I hope to meet them one day and to say thank you in person. Their decision to be an organ donor gave our family the most precious gift of all, the gift of life.”

Shannon, Michelle and Paul would not be here without donors, without the people who had the goodwill to put their names on these lists. Many others overlook that, but would like to be donors. We need to fast-track this legislation, because we know thousands of people are not as lucky as Shannon, Michelle and Paul. This is an opportunity for us to stand united.

Again, I want to thank my friend from Calgary Confederation for using his slot in the draw, he was first this time for parliamentarians, and for his determination to see this through. Let us get behind him, let us get behind all those people on those waiting lists and let us save some lives and work together.

Bill C-19--Notice of time allocation motionCanada Elections ActPrivate Members' Business

May 7th, 2021 / 1:50 p.m.

Saint Boniface—Saint Vital Manitoba


Dan Vandal LiberalMinister of Northern Affairs

Mr. Speaker, an agreement could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Orders 78(1) or 78(2) with respect to the second reading stage of Bill C-19, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act, COVID-19 response.

Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the Crown will propose at the next sitting a motion to allot a specific number of days or hours for the consideration and disposal of proceedings at the said stage.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Canada Revenue Agency ActPrivate Members' Business

1:50 p.m.


Terry Dowdall Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a great pleasure to rise today in this chamber to speak to Bill C-210, An Act to amend the Canada Revenue Agency Act, organ and tissue donors.

This is a common-sense, non-partisan piece of legislation that should be supported by every single member of this House. I want to congratulate my friend, the hon. member for Calgary Confederation, for this great initiative.

Most Canadians would agree that donating their organs is an important thing to do. We all know that it can save lives. In fact, it is estimated that organ donation by one person can save up to eight lives. A single tissue donor can improve the lives of up to 75 people. Something that many people do not know is that there are three ways that they can donate here in Canada. The first is after neurological determination of death, what is commonly called brain-dead. The second is after circulatory death, or when someone's heart stops. Let us not forget the third one, which is living organ donors where someone can give away certain organs or parts of their organs while still alive. Living donors often give part of their liver, pancreas, intestine or a lobe of their lung to a family member in need, but it does not have to be a family member; living donors can donate to anyone in need.

While we often use the term organ donation, I want to make it clear that we are also including tissues and that tissues are also critical to improve the lives of others. In fact, tissue donation is often more commonplace. People may be surprised to learn that skin can be donated as well; so can tendons and even eyes. A donated heart valve can save a life. One can also be a living donor and donate tissues. Bone marrow is a common procedure that many of us are aware of and so is the most common tissue that we all donate, which would be blood.

To give everyone a sense of what impact the donation of one person's organs can make, let us look at the tragic case of Logan Boulet. Logan, who died on April 7, 2018, in the aftermath of the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash, was an organ donor. Six other people were able to have their lives saved through his organs. Our annual Green Shirt Day was created to honour, remember and recognize all the victims and families of that fatal crash and to continue Logan's legacy by inspiring Canadians to talk to their families and register as organ donors.

I have always figured that, if we ask them, most people would indicate an interest in donating an organ, but I also figured that the majority of them would not, for various different reasons. When preparing to give this speech, I learned the actual numbers. The difference between those who support organ donation and those who are organ donors is even more stark than I expected. Ninety per cent of Canadians approve of organ and tissue donation, but only 20% are actually registered as organ donors. That is an astounding 70% gap, which needs to be addressed. Only about 21 in a million Canadians actually become an organ donor. Spain has the highest organ donation rate. It is twice that of Canada, at 43.4 people per million. That still seems like a low number, but those extra numbers do save lives.

Every day in this country, close to 5,000 of our fellow Canadians desperately need an organ transplant. Hundreds of them die waiting for that transplant. What is the problem? Why are so many people who indicate an interest not registered to donate their organs? There are a number of factors, each of which is addressed by this excellent bill.

The organ donation network in this country is managed by each province and territory. Each one has a different system to encourage people to sign up as an organ donor. Some are more successful than others, but all are based on the opt-in premise and usually related to their driver's licence or their health care card. For those of us who have signed up as organ donors, it would appear to be a successful system, but that certainly would not be accurate. As I outlined earlier, using the existing opt-in method has given Canada one of the poorest organ donor rates in the industrialized world. In fact, compared to our peers, Canada comes in at number 19 globally. I know we can all do better.

When we talk to people in the field, they say it is always education that matters. Simply put, there is not enough awareness about how to become an organ donor. We need more people to know about it, but we also need to make it easier. It is not simple and it sure is not straightforward.

People have to sort through a lot of paperwork, and it is often the last thing people think of when getting their health care card or driver’s licence. In today’s busy click-based world, we need to make it as easy and straightforward as possible for everyone to do. We need to make sure it is right there in people’s faces so that saying yes to saving a life is just as easy as checking a box.

Also problematic, especially for those needing organ donations, is the declining rate of young people who have actually passed their driving test and received their driver’s licence in provinces where being an organ donor is linked to driver’s licences. Members may be surprised to learn that only 69% of 19-year-olds have a driver’s licence today. This is a 20% drop from the previous generation and a full 31% of our youth who could not agree to become organ donors even if they wanted to in some of those provinces.

Even more surprising is when we look at today’s 16-year-olds. We see an incredible 47% decline in licensed 16-year-old drivers today versus a generation ago. I would argue that if we broke these numbers down further, the numbers would be even lower for youth living in our major cities, where urban transit, biking and more walkable neighbourhoods further depress the need for a driver’s licence. That is a very low number of potential organ donors for the future, especially in major cities.

In short, if we are relying on driver’s licences to recruit the youth of today to be tomorrow’s organ donors, we are already facing an uphill battle. Using health cards may be more effective, but neither is as effective as it could be. We know that we can do better.

The member for Calgary Confederation has proposed a way to make organ donations easier for everyone. It is a way that will ensure that our youth are more likely to be included. It also makes doing something that we all find painful, which is taxes, a little more worthwhile. Bill C-210 would allow people to sign up to be an organ donor while completing their tax return. Put another way, doing taxes may help someone save a life. It takes a little sting out of doing taxes, does it not?

I think we can all agree that most Canadians know that they can register to be on the voters list when doing their taxes. In fact, I would estimate that is how most of us do it already. If passed, Bill C-210 would have a section added right there on page one of the tax form alongside the section from Elections Canada. If a Canadian agrees to be an organ donor, then their information will be provided to their respective province or territory. It is that simple. Even members of the House of Commons would be able to help promote it, as our staff would be able to highlight this section whenever our offices are put on clinics to help our constituents with their taxes.

For whatever reason, there will never be a 100% organ donation rate. I know that this simple and straightforward change would increase our dismal number and that it would save lives. The most surprising thing about the bill is that it actually needs to be done at all. It is such a practical solution that one would assume this is the way it always has been done, even though it is not.

My colleague from Calgary Confederation came close in the last Parliament to making it reality. This bill could be passed quickly and unanimously through all stages in the House. It is my hope that in this same spirit, it continues to move quickly through this Parliament again. There are thousands of Canadians and their families counting on us to do the right thing. I want to thank the member for Calgary Confederation for introducing this excellent piece of legislation.

My father passed away during the election process. I had to drive to see him with my sister. He was 80 years old. He unfortunately had not filled that out. He had a brain aneurysm. They asked whether he would want to donate his organs and my sister and I knew my father would want to do that if given the opportunity. We did sign off on that, but I think if it was simpler, my father would have made that decision ahead of time and it would not have been something that we had to do.

I thank my friend, the member for Calgary Confederation, for this bill. I urge all members to push this through as quickly as possible.

Canada Revenue Agency ActPrivate Members' Business

2 p.m.

Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook Nova Scotia


Darrell Samson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am also very pleased to speak to the importance of creating and maintaining an organ and tissue donor registry for every province and territory in Canada.

There are currently far too few Canadians on the list of organ and tissue donors, and that needs to be remedied. The Government of Canada is firmly committed to improving the organ and tissue donation and transplantation system in Canada for Canadians to have quicker and more efficient access to this care.

I have to thank the member for Calgary Confederation for bringing attention back to the issue of organ and tissue donation by introducing Bill C-210, an act to amend the Canada Revenue Agency Act with regard to organ and tissue donors. Making this change to the Canada Revenue Agency Act will certainly benefit Canadians by considerably increasing the number of potential donors in Canada.

The Government of Canada will support Bill C-210.

The Government of Canada recognizes the value of organ and tissue donation and transplantation. It also recognizes the important role it has to play in protecting the health and safety of Canadians, and has made several investments to date to support this goal. For example, since 2018 Health Canada has been leading the organ donation and transplantation collaborative. In addition to Health Canada's professionals, this collaborative engages with the provinces and territories, patient and family groups, representatives, researchers, clinical organ and tissue donation organizations and Canadian Blood Services.

I want to note that Canadian Blood Services, a not-for-profit charitable organization funded by the Government of Canada, manages the national waiting list and interprovincial organ-sharing registry. Part of the collaborative's mission is to improve the efficiency of the donation and transplant system in Canada. I can assure members that, in partnership with the Government of Canada, it is working hard to establish leading practices, strengthen professional education and raise public awareness to improve organ tissue donations in Canada.

Second, as a reminder of the Government of Canada's commitment to organ and tissue donation and transplantation, I would like to mention the investments made in budget 2019.

Our government allocated $36.5 million over five years starting in 2019-20 and $5 million a year after that to Health Canada. This money is earmarked to develop a pan-Canadian data and performance system for organ donation and transplantation. Improving consistency and quality in data and allowing more donors and recipients to be effectively matched are priority objectives of this investment.

The Government of Canada is investing these significant amounts to help Canadians move to a more coordinated and effective approach to organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Bill C-210 would do this through the addition of subsections 63.1(1) and (2). I firmly believe that we will be taking another step towards increasing the number of donors on the waiting list in Canada.

Currently, each province and territory in Canada is responsible for creating and maintaining its own organ and tissue donor registry. Each province and territory is also responsible for obtaining informed consent from every enrolled donor. The legal requirements for donor suitability and informed consent, which fall under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, are complex and vary widely across Canada.

For this reason, the amendment to Bill C-210 would allow the CRA to work in partnership with each jurisdiction to reach an agreement under the modification of paragraphs 63.1(1) and (2). In implementing some of the amendments in Bill C-210, the CRA would continue to respect the important role of the provinces and territories in organ and tissue donation, as well as to ensure the personal information of Canadians is handled in a secure manner.

The Government of Canada has full confidence in the CRA's ability to negotiate these agreements and to prioritize the safekeeping of Canadians' personal information. Ultimately, this initiative would advance the partnerships with provinces and territories that are essential to making real, positive changes for Canadians in organ and tissue donation.

That said, I should point out that the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge proposed a much simpler, faster and more direct method that would have achieved the same result.

Rather than having the Canada Revenue Agency directly collect donor consent on behalf of the provinces and territories, which would involve long negotiations because each province and territory has different eligibility criteria, the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge proposed asking Canadian taxpayers whether they would like to receive information about organ and tissue donation in their province or territory so they could decide whether to register to be added to the donor list.

The CRA would then confidentially provide the names of these potential donors to the provinces and territories in question, which would then send documentation to these potential donors and get the appropriate registration process started.

For this reason, the amendment proposed by the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge would have deleted the reference of proposed subsections 63.1(1) and 63.1(2) in the current bill, which refer to the income tax returns filed under paragraph 150(1)(d) of the Income Tax Act.

This method was inspired by the approach taken by the Government of Ontario, which includes a separate page in the Ontario taxpayers' income tax return for provincial benefits. Once the CRA has processed an Ontario tax return, this benefit information is forwarded to the Ontario government, which processes the benefit using its own system and methodology.

While I regret that the amendments proposed by my colleague from Vaughan—Woodbridge were not adopted, the government and I will nevertheless continue to support this bill.

In conclusion, there are far too few organ and tissue donors on waiting lists in Canada. However, by working together at the national level, we can improve the organ and tissue donation and transplantation system to ensure that Canadians have timely and effective access to care. Furthermore, if this bill is passed, which we hope it is, the government sincerely believes that the Canada Revenue Agency can play a significant role in this process.

Canada Revenue Agency ActPrivate Members' Business

2:10 p.m.


Doug Shipley Conservative Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to be here today with my colleagues to speak to Bill C-210, an act to amend the Canada Revenue Agency Act (organ and tissue donors), which was tabled by my colleague and friend from Calgary Confederation. It is important to note that this critical legislation was tabled in the House in the previous session, passing the House, but dying on the Order Paper in the Senate when Parliament dissolved for the last election. When the hon. member for Calgary Confederation tabled the bill, it was seconded by members from all parties and supported by numerous transplant organizations and doctors.

Currently, 4,600 Canadian are awaiting a life-saving organ transplant. Polls have shown that 90% of Canadians approve of organ and tissue donation, but the reality is about only 25% of Canadians have registered their consent with the province or territorial registry where they live. This creates numerous issues that I will address shortly, but Bill C-210 is simple. The legislation asks Canadians when filing their taxes if they consent to having the provincial or territorial government informed of their desire to be added to the organ and tissue donor registry in the province or territory.

One hurdle to this is that currently the Canada Revenue Agency forbids the use of the income tax form for any purpose other than tax administration. For this simple change to be implemented, asking a simple question regarding organ and tissue donation, a legal exemption needs to be created. This has been done before to allow Elections Canada to ask Canadians for updated contact information, so it is not out of context.

Making a simple line addition to the tax form would have little to no cost implications and it would not infringe on any provincial jurisdictional concerns or create any privacy concerns. The legislation would allow for the use of established protocols for information sharing between the federal government and provinces as they currently use an encrypted method to share sensitive information. Another reason that this simple addition to the tax form makes sense is that we see the current voluntary method of registering is not proactive or effective.

Another unfortunate complicating factor with donation, particularly when someone passes away, is a grey area that exists for hospitals and families. Sometimes there is confusion between family and what exactly the wishes of the deceased are with respect to organ and tissue donation.

In the Standing Committee on Health report on organ donation in Canada, Dr. Levy, vice-president of Medical Affairs and Innovation at Canadian Blood Services, says, “it behooves us not to miss the use that donation of an organ or set of organs.”

In 2016, 260 Canadians died while waiting for a transplant. While Canada has seen an uptake in living and deceased organ donations, Canada ranks among the top 20% of countries in the world when it comes to deceased donor rates. It was also noted that those rates were half the rate of some other high-performing countries in the world, for example, Spain.

Dr. Levy noted to the committee “Our living donation rate, on the other hand, compares quite favourably internationally...Canada ranked 14th internationally for living donors in 2016”, even with the rates declining or staying stagnant. We can do better; we need to do better. If we do not make changes now, the issue is only going to get worse.

Currently, donation rates are not meeting the needs of patients' needs. There is a fragmented approach across the country with respect to donation programs and some areas are considered the gold standard while others are facing challenges. It is incumbent upon us in the House to ensure that provinces have the tools to deliver for those in need. Supporting the private member's bill of my colleague from Calgary Confederation is the smartest and most effective way of doing that right now.

Several issues with respect to organ donation in Canada were highlighted to the committee in testimony. Some gaps in the systems and reporting and classification of the need and type of donation needed are a couple.

A couple of things jumped out to me as I was researching for this topic. The total annual costs of dialysis range from $56,000 to $107,000 per patient, where the cost of a transplant is about $65,000 in year one and $23,000 in subsequent years. It is estimated the health care system would save up to $84,000 per patient per transplant annually.

The National Transplant Research Program explained to the committee that organ transplantation was not only a treatment option for people facing organ failure, it was becoming the preferred treatment for ailments such as type I diabetes, kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, heart failure and congenital heart disease, lymphoma, myeloma and leukemia.

Giving the provinces the ability to obtain accurate and up-to-date information on donation intentions allows them to ensure their wait-lists are accurate. Knowing who intends to donate through a legally binding declaration would further address consistency for provinces when it comes to measuring and reporting those willing to donate so that they can better prepare. The member for Calgary Confederation's private member's bill would address all of these. This is not a political issue. As my colleague said in his original speech in the previous session, this is a human issue.

Anyone in this House, family or friends, could need donor organs or tissue at any time. Adding a simple line item to the tax form could save hundreds of lives. If we couple that with increased public education and awareness, we could see even more registrations. We saw in the fall of 2018, in the tragic accident with the Humboldt hockey team, that one of the victims, young Logan Boulet, had registered for a donation. That donation saved six lives, as Ms. Ronnie Gavsie, President and Chief Executive Officer, Trillium Gift of Life Network noted at committee when testifying.

The time has come for this legislation to pass this House and the Senate. My colleague from Calgary Confederation has spoken eloquently and dedicated his efforts to his friend, Robert Sallows. The legislation has received support from all parties in this House and stakeholders have been universally supportive of the bill. Families who have loved ones awaiting this are welcoming this legislation. It is now up to everyone in this House to make sure that we do not delay this much-needed legislation any further. We owe it to the hundreds of people who pass away every year on the wait-list. We owe it to the organizations on the front lines and we owe it to the provinces to give them the tools they need to adequately support and deliver their donation programs.