Assisted dying supporters: Tell Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to defend choice for all Canadians

Assisted dying is now a right. But will Canadians from all parts of the country be able to access it?  If a coalition of anti-choice doctors has its way in Ontario, the answer could well be “no.”

As Bill 84, the Medical Assistance in Dying Statute Law Amendment Act, has made its way through the Ontario legislature this past month, groups opposed to assisted dying have mobilized their supporters to send messages to Ontario MPPs against effective referral for medical assistance in dying (MAID).

These same groups have launched a legal challenge to a new policy requiring Ontario doctors who oppose assisted dying to refer patients who request it to a provider or agency who can help.

Whatever the outcome of this case, it will have far-reaching consequences for assisted dying access across the country. That’s why we’re calling on our supporters across Canada to urge the Ontario government to make a strong stand in support of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s (CPSO) policy on effective referral.

Why is the CPSO’s effective referral requirement so important for all Canadians' choice?

Approved last year by the CPSO — the body that regulates the practice of medicine by doctors in the province — the effective referral policy strikes an appropriate balance between a physician’s right to conscientious refusal and a patient’s right to compassionate care. It represents a promise that gravely ill Ontarians who request an assisted death won’t be abandoned by physicians who exercise their right not to provide medical assistance in dying (MAID).

Even with this policy in place, dying Ontarians are still reporting that their doctors are refusing to discuss, let alone provide a referral for, MAID. Some are being told to find a doctor on their own. This is akin to patient abandonment, and it imposes a heavy burden on vulnerable patients in their greatest time of need.

What you can do

We are calling on our supporters across the country to urge Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to hold firm in defending the patient rights of all Canadians. Use our latest Email-a-Rep tool to let her know that we are counting on her government to make a statement in support of CPSO’s effective referral requirement, both in court and in the Ontario legislature.

Here's how it works:

  • Enter your postal code to indicate where you’re emailing from.
  • Then, enter your name and email address. (Phone number is optional.)
  • You can use the default text, or you can customize it to make your message even more powerful.
  • When you're done that, click "Send my email." Your message will be automatically delivered to Kathleen Wynne, Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins and the group of MPPs that is studying a new provincial bill on medical assistance in dying.

Once you've finished, send the link to your friends and family, and post it to social media. (If you have loved ones in Ontario, please encourage them to use the Email-a-Rep Tool we created for residents of their province.) Thank you for your time!