Blog

Richard’s story: 52 independent witness requests in 52 weeks

Under the federal law, a sick and suffering individual looking to have an assisted death must have their written assisted dying request signed by two independent witnesses. These witnesses must not be involved in the applicant's care and cannot stand to materially benefit from the person's death.

For many people, finding two suitable witnesses can be tremendously difficult, which is why Dying With Dignity Canada (DWDC) launched its independent witness program in late 2016. Since then, our trained volunteers have served as witnesses in nearly 1,500 cases nationwide.

One witness is Mississauga, Ontario’s Richard Dowsett, who first began witnessing in June 2018. In his quest to help people access their wish of an assisted death, Richard witnessed for one person each week for an entire year.

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Announcement from Dying With Dignity Canada's Board of Directors

Dying With Dignity Canada’s Board of Directors announced Thursday that Shanaaz Gokool is leaving the organization, effectively immediately, after three years as its CEO.

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Geraldine’s story: How I supported my husband on a journey with assisted dying

In this moving entry for the DWDC blog, Ontario’s Geraldine F. Neily honours Dale, her husband of nearly 63 years, who accessed his wish of a medically assisted death in October 2018. His end-of-life choice, she writes, was the final chapter in “a life well lived.”

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In Case You Missed It: June 2019

In Case You Missed It is a round-up of news articles and commentaries featuring Dying With Dignity Canada speakers and stories. Did you miss these stories in June?

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Dr. David Amies: Exploring assisted dying for individuals whose sole underlying medical condition is a mental disorder

In his penultimate post for the DWDC blog, Dr. David Amies examines the Council of Canadian Academies’ report on the possible implications of extending assisted dying access to individuals whose sole underlying medical condition is psychiatric in nature.

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Dr. David Amies: Is it right to forbid mature minors access to assisted dying?

In his latest post for the DWDC blog, Dr. David Amies examines the Council of Canadian Academies’ report on the possible implications of extending assisted dying access to mature minors. In this piece, he asks a difficult but necessary question: is it fair to allow an 80-year-old with terminal cancer to access assisted dying but deny a 17-year-old who has the same diagnosis and demonstrates the capacity to make medical decisions as an adult?

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Justine’s story: Chronic pain has left me in a prison of my own existence

In this powerfully written blog post, Justine from Ontario shares how her daily chronic pain has stripped her of any quality of life. Suffering with pain that feels like “literal torture,” Justine has applied for a medically assisted death, but was formally denied because she does not meet one requirement in the law: her natural death is not reasonably foreseeable.

In an effort to shine a light on the unconstitutionality of Canada’s assisted dying law, Justine shares her important story.

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Ernest’s story: I live in constant excruciating pain. But I don’t qualify for an assisted death.

Ernest, an Alberta man who has requested that his last name not be used, has fibromyalgia. The excruciating pain he suffers daily has, in his own words, turned him into a shadow of his former self. Despite his suffering, however, Ernest has been denied medical assistance in dying because he does not meet certain requirements under Canada’s assisted dying law. This is his story.

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In Case You Missed It: May 2019

In Case You Missed It is a round-up of news articles and commentaries featuring Dying With Dignity Canada speakers and stories. Did you miss these stories in May?

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Opinion: Why I believe advance requests for assisted dying must be allowed

In 2017, Calgary’s Carol Abbott-Wolfson watched her husband, Gerald, and her Aunt Marion suffer horrific deaths. Neither were able to exercise their right to an assisted death because of the law’s requirement that a person be competent at the time of the procedure. If the law allowed advance requests for assisted dying, Carol writes, their heartbreaking experiences at end of life may have been prevented.

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