Forced Transfers in British Columbia 

Seeking access to MAID is an individual decision and a constitutional right that should be respected at all publicly-funded health care facilities.

Provincial government building in BC

Medical assistance in dying (MAID) has been legal in Canada since 2016. Even with changes to ensure access through Bill C-7, many people across Canada are being denied access to MAID because of artificial restrictions put in place by some publicly funded providers. In British Columbia, one such restriction is in the form of an outdated agreement that allows taxpayer-funded health care facilities an exemption from providing certain services.

The agreement, between the provincial government and the Denominational Health Association (DHA), known as the Master Agreement, allows DHA member facilities to collect billions in taxpayer dollars and to refuse to allow health care services that they find objectionable. In many DHA facilities, this includes services such as MAID.

Dying With Dignity Canada (DWDC) has joined forces with Arvay Finlay, Gaye O’Neill and Dr. Jyothi Jayaraman in a court challenge to ensure that the rights of vulnerable patients to access MAID are protected within all publicly-funded health care facilities in BC. A claim was filed on June 17, 2024 to end the practice of forced transfers at faith-based organizations – such as St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. Read more about this court challenge.

Notes:

  • If you, or someone you know has or is experiencing or has witnessed a forced transfer, and you would like support or to share your experience, please share your story with us.
  • Individual clinicians have the right to object, for conscience reasons, to providing medical assistance in dying (MAID) or other medical treatments. The issue of Institutional Religious Obstructions is not about the objection of clinicians, but that of institutions, which do not have conscience rights.

A 2023 poll conducted by Ipsos on behalf of DWDC shows that 84% of British Columbians support the Carter v Canada decision of the Supreme Court that recognized Canadians’ right to access MAID, and 75% believe all health care facilities that receive public funds have an obligation to provide the full range of legal health care services.

Advocacy Toolkit: Institutional Religious Obstruction in BC’s publicly funded health care facilities

This toolkit has been designed to provide you with the messaging and resources to effectively communicate to your MLA, DWDC’s position that all publicly funded health care providers must be obligated to allow MAID at their facilities, and that the government must amend an agreement which currently allows some taxpayer funded health care facilities to refuse to allow services they object to.

Tell your MLA: All BC health care facilities that receive taxpayer funding must permit MAID onsite 

Health care facilities that receive taxpayer funding should permit the full range of legal health care services, including MAID, at their facilities.

Provincial government building in BC

Empower. Inform. Protect your rights.