Bill C-210 – Organ & Tissue Donation – 2nd Reading
April 12, 2021
Mr. Len Webber (Calgary Confederation, CPC): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak on my Private Member’s Bill – Bill C-210- here in 3rd Reading.
For those who may not be familiar with Bill C-210, it is a proposal that would allow Canadians to indicate their interest in being an Organ & Tissue donor through their annual tax forms.
Right now, the tax forms can only be used for the collection of taxes. This Bill would create a legal exemption, just like that made for Elections Canada, to allow for this important question of organ donation to be added to the tax form.
This Bill was unanimously supported at both 2nd Reading and at Committee.
This Bill was also my Bill C-316 in the last Parliament where it was also unanimously and unfortunately it died in the Senate, but it got a second lease on life as Bill C-210 this Parliament.
It is very timely that we’re speaking about this today as April is Organ & Tissue Donor Awareness Month and we are two weeks away from the tax filing deadline.
Mr. Speaker, if we have any hope of getting these changes to the tax form implemented in time for the next tax year, we need to move this through both this House and the Senate (Red Chamber) before the summer. If we miss that deadline, the The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will not be able to implement the required changes for yet another year. We can`t let that happen.
I want to convey my sincere thank you to all parties in this House for showing such strong support and offering genuine cooperation to move this proposal forward. Your unanimous and unwavering support at every stage has been heartwarming and shows we really can pull together for Canadians.
I specifically want to thank all my colleagues on the Health Committee back when I served, who have been vocal, determined and dedicated supporters of this Bill.
I also want to thank the government for their allocation of funding in the past Fall Economic Statement to facilitate the implementation of this legislation.
Governments do not often commit funding ahead of legislation passing, especially when it is for a Private Member’s Bill from an Opposition Member of Parliament.
That funding was very much appreciated and it signifies a shared will to see this Bill passed.
Mr. Speaker, I want to bring up a matter that came up at Committee.
First of all, for this initiative to be most effective, the question on organ and tissue donation needs to be placed on the front page of the tax form. The Committee members made this very clear to the CRA. In fact, they explicitly voted down the idea of suggesting that CRA have the latitude to move it to some back page. Parliament has spoken and it wants it on the front page.
I was pleased that the individuals from the CRA, in the past, have acknowledged this as a priority of Parliament and committed to putting this on the front page.
So, I implore the folks at the CRA, to dig deep and push forward to make sure we get this done as soon as possible. Your work will have life-changing consequences.
One other aspect I want to spend a few minutes on is something the Bill does not directly address, but one which is a significant problem in Canada. It is the reason we have organ and tissue donor awareness month.
Research has shown that as many as one-in-five potential organ and tissue donors have their final wish overturned by their family at their time of death. That`s 20% of families overturning the wishes of their deceased loved one. 1 in 5.
This decision by their families is robbing those in need of a life-saving transplant of a chance to live. It is robbing their loved one of their final wish.
To me, this is unconscionable and it has to change. We can do better. We must do better.
Mr. Speaker, I have met many people who have allowed the donation of the organs & tissues of their deceased loved ones.
Every single one of them, without exception, has said it was an essential part of their grief and healing process.
The ability to find some good, in a time of utter grief and loss, was profound and ever-lasting.
They want other families to know that sharing your loved one makes accepting their loss so much easier. Their loss has purpose. And their gift has brought unimaginable relief and joy to another family in need.
That is a legacy to leave for your loved ones.
Mr. Speaker, we all have our own reasons for supporting this legislation.
Some of those reasons are closer to home for some Members than others.
Some Members themselves, or their family members, have medical conditions that mean that they know, one day, they may require a life-saving transplant.
And other Members in this House… are able to love, laugh and live with loved ones because they got a life-saving transplant and are still with us today.
No matter your reasons for supporting this Bill… it is very much appreciated.