The Winnipeg Chapter started just a few months after a local woman named Susan Griffiths went public with her story about needing to go to Switzerland to die because Canadian law had not yet changed to allow her to die with assistance at home. Susan had to die as much as a year or two before it would’ve been truly necessary, because she would’ve required help after a certain point. A few of us got angry enough about the need to change the laws that we agreed to start a Chapter.Now that Canadian law has changed to allow for medical assistance in dying, we have shifted our focus to mainly public education and support.
The majority of our work as a chapter involves helping people understand patient rights and the legal and practical aspects of their Health Care Directive. We also talk to people about their end of life wishes: the practical, emotional, and social implications of preparing for the last chapter of life.
Meetings for chapter members are about whatever we’d all like to talk about; contact us with your ideas for a get-together.
Cheri Frazer is the chapter head and works with head office in Toronto to coordinate advocacy campaigns. Before the MAiD laws changed in 2021, she coordinated 70 volunteers across the province who served as legal witnesses to requests for medically assisted deaths.
Carolyn Rickey is our finance officer. She is an accomplished, award-winning public relations professional with thirty-eight years of public relations expertise in both the profit and not-for-profit fields in Manitoba.
Lori Blande is our workshop & events coordinator. She retired after 30 years in the healthcare field and quality management followed by 10 years as a small business owner. She also has experience as a health care proxy and end-of-life caregiver.
Advance Care Planning Educator
Christine Cross is one of our Advance Care Planning educators. She has worked in a combination of nursing positions for over 30 years and is also a death doula. She is passionate about educating people to become informed and empowered about their health care options. Christine lives in rural Western Manitoba.
Advance Care Planning Educator
Dorothy Stephens is our Advance Care Planning educator. She has a Bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Manitoba and worked as a Registered Nurse in Winnipeg hospitals for 30 years. She also has experience as a caregiver and health care proxy for several family members, including during end-of-life care.
Licensed Funeral Director
Quinn Hunter is a licensed funeral director and the owner of Hunter Funerals. Combining modern sensibilities with the wisdom of our ancestors, Hunter Funerals supports clients in creating meaningful end-of-life experiences that infuse death with the reverence it deserves. With a focus on green burials, home funerals, death-positive education and holistic planning, Quinn brings a fresh perspective to the funeral industry that honours both autonomy and community at the centre of this most important transition.
Sherry Lyn Marginet
Member at Large
Sherry Lyn Marginet has always been interested in matters to do with end of life issues. She once worked in the funeral industry and now assists with the running of the chapter.
About Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) in Manitoba
Note: The Winnipeg Chapter of Dying With Dignity Canada and the Manitoba MAID team are not the same thing! The MAID team is a group of medical professionals who help patients who request medical assistance in dying. DWDC is a non-profit organization dedicated to patient rights and end-of-life issues.
There is currently only one MAID team, based in Winnipeg, that coordinates all requests for assistance to die in Manitoba. If you are considering applying for MAID, don’t wait until the situation is dire to contact the team. Contact them today for a chat if you’re unsure.
An effective Advance Directive (also called a Health Care Directive) indicates your wishes about your care should something bad happen and you can’t speak for yourself. Many people arrive at hospitals with either no instructions in writing, or with a paragraph written in language too vague for doctors to act upon. Don’t assume that just because your spouse knows your wishes that that’s what will happen in an emergency. Dying With Dignity Canada has many years of experience in helping people express their wishes clearly in an Advance Care Plan.
To learn more, scroll further down this page to read What is an Advance Care Plan – and why do you need one?
The complete DWDC Advance Care Planning Kit is available to anyone to download for free. However, based on past presentations and reports from patients, families, and health care professionals, there are lots of questions and many issues that need further elaboration and interpretation – hence the need for these events, which are held both in-person and online via Zoom.
Topics addressed in the presentation include:
Legal issues around Advance Care Planning (ACP) and Health Care Directives (HCD), including the difference between an HCD and a Power of Attorney
Your rights as a patient
How to choose your health care proxy (Substitute Decision-Maker)
How to ensure that your wishes are carried out
Comparisons of different types of HCD’s, and a look at other forms used in Manitoba
Discussion of common but imprecise phrases such as “heroic measures” and “artificial means”
A walk through the ACP workbook and the Health Care Directive form
How to complete the form / how to make copies
What to do (and what NOT to do) with your HCD after it’s completed
Resources for those who want further information or guidance
“Having the material visually displayed on the screen was most helpful”
“We already have a plan through our lawyer, but this pointed out how insufficient it is. Greatly appreciated.”
“A wake up call to get started & do the necessary work.”
“Loved all the info provided. Very knowledgeable presenter. I like that is was presented by someone with a medical background & experience in the medical / real world & life experience.”
“It was a real eye opener.”
“Excellent presenter, much practical experience & knowledge was shared. Helped me get my head around the idea of an (sic) HCD, which I previously preferred to ignore!”
“Well done. Dorothy was knowledgeable, well prepared – very effective speaker! Thank you!”
“Notes were given so you can pay attention to the presentation.”
“The information gave direction as to what to enter on the form. Gave me info on what to think about – WOW! I’m glad I came.”
“Excellent presenter, & class organization & handouts.”
“ I am glad I attended the workshop. Very informative.”
“Sharing by the presenter of the intracacies (sic) and practicalities from her experience about health care directive decisions.”
DWDC supports Canadians navigating end-of-life choice and care, we do not provide the information or means to end a life.
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What is an Advance Care Plan – and why do you need one?
Dorothy Stephens is the Advance Care Planning educator for Dying With Dignity Canada's Winnipeg Chapter. She has a Bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Manitoba and worked as a Registered Nurse in Winnipeg hospitals for 30 years. Sh...