The latest update from the desk of Dying With Dignity Canada's CEO, Helen Long.
Congratulations and thank you so much for your support. On October 5, 2020, Bill C-7 was re-tabled by the government in its original format. Without your efforts and the 158,000+ letters that you’ve been responsible for sending, this may not have happened. While this bill is not perfect, it includes two significant improvements – the removal of the provision that death is reasonably foreseeable and the addition of the ability to waive final consent – or as we like to refer to it, “Audrey’s Amendment.”
While the timeline to get the Bill passed is tight, Minister of Justice David Lametti, has been quoted as saying, “Canadians expect us to do this quickly. Canadians have spoken with respect to the measures that are contained in this Bill and, therefore, it’s up to our parliamentary partners to work with us to get this passed by the 18th of December.” Rest assured that we will continue to press all parties to get this Bill passed.
We also continue to advocate for the mandated five-year parliamentary review of the medical assistance in dying (MAID) legislation. This review will be the opportunity to discuss access to MAID through advance requests, and for those who have a mental illness or are mature minors. If you haven’t already written to your member of parliament to tell them how important these issues are to you, you can do so here.
Along with your significant support, we also have an amazing team of deeply committed and passionate people who are working on your behalf to ensure Canadians have access to quality end-of-life choice and care. They work diligently advocating, responding to media, assisting our volunteers and providing information, support and education to the people we hear from every day. I encourage you to ‘meet the team’ on our website.
Because of the generosity of donors, we can provide our high-quality programs and services for free. After an extended vacancy on our team, Ryan Lindsay has joined us as Director, Development. An experienced fundraising professional with 20 years in the charitable sector, focused on public health, Ryan views development as a partnership. He is keen to connect and build relationships and is available to speak with you, whether to provide an update, to hear your ideas or just to chat. Ryan can be reached at [email protected].
With Ryan’s support, on December 1, 2020, Dying With Dignity Canada will be joining the Giving Tuesday Movement – a global day of giving that takes place every year after Black Friday. As a kick-off to the holiday giving season, Giving Tuesday is an opportunity for charities and their supporters to rally together for a common cause. We will provide more details about Giving Tuesday and how you can get involved in the coming weeks, so be sure to sign up for email updates on our homepage, and follow DWDC on Facebook and Twitter.
Finally, many of you have been following the case of X (Jack Sorenson) and Y, a Nova Scotia couple who ended up in court over his decision to access MAID. On October 1, 2020, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeals, in a comprehensive and well-reasoned decision, dismissed the appeal. We were relieved to see Mr. Sorenson’s constitutional right to end his intolerable suffering upheld. Having met the eligibility criteria, every individual has the right to personal autonomy and a dignified death, at the time of their choosing. Mr. Sorenson was able to access MAID on October 3, 2020. DWDC will continue to fight to uphold the rights of individuals like Mr. Sorenson and to ensure Canadians have access to quality end-of-life choice and care. Thank you for all that you do to help us in that work.
Helen Long, CEO