Institutional religious obstructions

Everything you need to know about institutional religious obstructions in Canada.

An institutional religious obstruction (IRO) occurs when an institution denies, blocks, or impedes a person’s legal right to health care, including medical assistance in dying (MAID), on religious grounds. IROs can take many forms, the most grievous of which is a forced transfer from the institution, but can also include refusing to provide information about MAID upon request, not allowing MAID assessments on-site, denying admission to hospice or palliative care because the patient wishes to access MAID at a later point, as well as obstructions to other health care rights such as abortion and women’s health services.


  • 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 legal team is preparing a court challenge to institutional religious obstructions of medical assistance in dying in Canada. For this reason, Dying With Dignity Canada is presently focused on religious obstructions but we recognize that there are other obstructions or barriers to MAID for non-religious reasons. If you have experienced any obstruction (religious or not), please share your story with our team here

A 2023 poll conducted by Ipsos on behalf of DWDC shows that 73% of people across Canada believe that publicly funded health care facilities should be required to provide the full range of health care services, including MAID, if they have the proper equipment and staff to do so.

Tell your local representative: All health care facilities that receive taxpayer funding must permit MAID onsite

People in Canada are being denied access to medical assistance in dying (MAID) at publicly funded health care facilities across the country.

Empower. Inform. Protect your rights.