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.

Home / Advocacy / Stop Institutional Religious Obstructions (including forced transfers)

Religious institutions obstruct access to MAID by forcing patients to undergo grueling transfers away from the facility, refusing to provide information about MAID upon request, not allowing MAID assessments on-site, and/or denying admission to hospice or palliative care because the patient wishes to access MAID.

The most grievous example of an Institutional Religious Obstruction comes in the form of forced transfers. A forced transfer away from an institution for medical assistance in dying (MAID) forces already suffering, often frail, people to endure grueling transfers, separates them from their community of care, delays and even denies their access to MAID, and stigmatizes them based on their personal end-of-life wishes. Obstructions also occur when patients are denied information or access to other health care services that are legally available in Canada. 

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

  • 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

Provincial governments must step in to protect access to health care services such as MAID that are legally available within our 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 tax dollars.

Notes:

  • 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.
  • 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.

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 are encouraging people across Canada to write to their local representative 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 local representative is fully customizable. Let them know if you or a loved one have a personal experience with an Institutional Religious Obstructions and any other details that may strengthen your letter.

NOTE: If the postal code you enter does not yield any results, your letter will be sent to Chris Jones, Dying With Dignity Canada’s Director, Government & Stakeholder Relations to help you contact the appropriate representative.

Empower. Inform. Protect your rights.