DWDC statement re: The passage of Bill C-62

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Last night, Parliament voted in favour of Bill C-62, delaying eligibility of medical assistance in dying (MAID) for those whole sole underlying medical condition is a mental disorder (MD-SUMC) until March 2027 – in total, a six-year delay and denial of constitutional rights for those affected, who may wish to access MAID MD-SUMC. On behalf of those who suffer intolerably from longstanding, treatment-resistant mental disorders, Dying With Dignity Canada is deeply disappointed by this decision and the stigma and discrimination it perpetuates.  

“What is most troubling is how inconsistent this is with Canada’s objective of being an inclusive and equitable country. Excluding people from the option of applying for an assisted death based on their diagnosis is a clear breach of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” Helen Long CEO, Dying With Dignity Canada.  

We recall the words of then Justice Minister – and later, Prime Minister – Pierre Trudeau on December 5, 1967: “One of the fundamental tasks we must achieve in this parliament is to avoid mixing sacred and the profane. We must realize we are living in a pluralistic society, and even though some laws may be repugnant to the morals of individual members they must realize that we are all here to legislate not our own personal morals upon the country but to seek solutions to evils which arise in a civil society, and which must be solved by civil or criminal laws.”   

The passage of Bill C-62 ignores the rights of an entire group of people in favour of the moral opposition of a few. While it has been argued that Canada’s health care system is not prepared for this change in the law, countless experts have testified the exact opposite. We question why no other health care service has such firm provincial alignment and preparation requirements.  

Given the length of this most recent delay, we implore the government to set clear and measurable timelines and criteria to assess the state of readiness well in advance of 2027.  

Our hearts go out to that very small but suffering group of people who will be most negatively impacted by this denial of human rights, compassion, and autonomy.  

Empower. Inform. Protect your rights.