UPDATE, OCTOBER 5th, 2020: YOUR MESSAGES ARE WORKING! The federal government has heard Canadians and our pressure has had a direct effect! This week the federal government re-introduced legislation to make critical amendments to Canada's medical assistance in dying (MAID) legislation ahead of the court-ordered December 18 deadline to revise the law.
But we must maintain the pressure until the revised law passes to ensure that the new MAID law reflects Canadians' values. Sign your name below so that we can ensure all Canadians receive the dignity they deserve at end of life.
Canadians are still suffering intolerably
Without a doubt, COVID-19 has changed many facets of everyday life in Canada — including the regular operations of our federal government and Parliamentary systems.
But while legislators are focused on national COVID-19 responses, urgent legislation — including key amendments to Canada’s assisted dying laws through Bill C-7 — have been delayed.
For Canadians waiting to access their right to end-of-life choice, these delays mean that they face a prolonged period of intolerable suffering.
In fact, flaws in our current medical assistance in dying (MAID) law mean that too many Canadians are faced with the cruel dilemma of whether to end their lives early — while they still have the capacity to give consent — or risk losing their right to an assisted death later on. This is unfair and unnecessary.
We believe that Canadians who want to access their constitutional right to a medically assisted death should be able to do so — we must not allow further delays to cause more unnecessary suffering.
Key amendments will improve access
Last September, Quebec Superior Court Justice Christine Baudouin ruled it is unconstitutional to limit medically assisted death to those whose natural death is “reasonably foreseeable” in the Truchon decision.
In response, in late February 2020 the Government of Canada tabled Bill C-7 — a bill that proposed to removes the existing eligibility clause of “reasonable foreseeability of natural death” and amends Canada’s laws to ensure that a patient can still access MAID even if they lose capacity in advance of their scheduled date.
This was an incredible victory for end-of-life advocates — and a critical amendment to improve Canadians’ right to choice.
Parliament must respond this fall
During public consultations held in January and February of 2020, the federal government heard from more than 300,000 Canadians — almost 80 percent of whom support key changes to our assisted dying laws.
But until recently, those wishes have gone unanswered.
In March 2020, and again in June 2020, the federal government asked for and was granted an extension to comply with the ruling by the Quebec Superior Court. The new deadline is December 18, 2020. Recently, Justice Minister Lametti re-introduced the bill to Parliament, but only has two months left to get the bill through both the Commons and the Senate.
Moreover, Parliament also delayed the long-awaited five-year parliamentary review of MAID laws, previously scheduled to begin in June 2020, has now also been delayed. This review was set to consider important issues such as the exclusion of those with mental illnesses, mature minors, and advance requests — all of which further limit Canadians wishing to access their constitutional right to end-of-life choice. With all committees on pause, there is no guarantee this will be completed in the near future.
Simply put: Parliament has a legal and ethical responsibility to take these delays seriously — and must prioritize the reintroduction of MAID legislation to meet the December 2020 deadline and to hold the parliamentary review as soon as possible.
Show your support today!
To end the continued and unnecessary suffering of many sick Canadians, Dying With Dignity Canada (DWDC) is calling on federal decision-makers to make the passage of MAID legislation that responds to the Quebec Superior Court ruling and the parliamentary review a priority.
By signing our action today, you’ll be joining thousands of Canadians across the country who believe that fairer assisted dying laws will improve access and end-of-life choice for Canadians who are suffering intolerably. Please join us.