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

British Columbians are being denied access to medical assistance in dying (MAID) at publicly funded health care facilities across the province.

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An outdated agreement between the Government of British Columbia and denominational hospices, long-term care homes, and even hospitals, allows these facilities to refuse to allow any services they find offensive. 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 MAID.

Denying people access to MAID in publicly funded health care facilities forces already suffering people to endure gruelling transfers. It separates them from their community of care. In some cases, it delays and even denies their access to MAID.

A 2023 poll conducted by Ipsos on behalf of DWDC shows:

  • 84% support the 2015 Carter v Canada decision of the Supreme Court that recognized Canadians’ right to access MAID
  • 75% believe all health care facilities that receive public funds have an obligation to provide the full range of legal health care services

In 2021, the Government of British Columbia, through the Fraser Health Authority, stepped in to protect equitable access to provincial health services by taking control of Irene Thomas Hospice when the Delta Hospice Society refused to allow MAID services.

And now the provincial government must step in again to protect access to health care services such as MAID that are legally available within BC’s health care system but are being denied by some health care facilities.

In Canada, everyone should have the right to make informed choices about their end-of-life care, and to have those wishes respected at any health care facility funded by British Columbians’ tax dollars.

Take action today

When people across Canada have demanded change to MAID laws, change has happened. It happened with Bill C-7 in 2021 when you told the federal government to amend Canada’s MAID law to eliminate the requirement that one’s death be reasonably foreseeable, and to allow an eligible individual, who has a scheduled MAID date, to waive the final consent requirement.

Now we need change in BC. 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.

We are encouraging all British Columbians to write to their MLA and tell them they believe all publicly funded health care facilities, faith-based or not, must allow all legally available health care services, including MAID, onsite.

The letter to your MLA is fully customizable. A copy will also be sent to the Hon. Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. Let them know the DHA agreement must be amended now.

Empower. Inform. Protect your rights.