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.
Dear supporter of end-of-life rights:
Recent actions at the Delta Hospice Society have triggered strong public reaction and brought the issue of medical assistance in dying (MAID) and palliative care back into the public eye. While this incident is the spark, we don’t want to limit the discussion to this single facility as there are numerous faith-based hospitals and hospices around the province which don’t allow MAID to be performed on-site. As such, we are launching a province-wide email campaign to encourage the provincial government to eliminate the MAID exemption granted to publicly funded faith-based facilities. This would end the practice of “forced transfers” for individuals requesting MAID in these facilities.
We encourage you to send a message to let politicians and our health authorities know that the practice of forced transfers must end.
Here's how it works:
- Enter your postal code so the petition can be sent to your MLA representing your district.
- Select recipients of your message: the Premier of BC, BC's Health Minister, and the board chairs of the different health authorities (along with your MLA).
- 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. You can click in the text to make any changes. (Please be sure not to remove the fields in the s.)
- When you're done, click "Send my email." Your message will be sent to the representatives you selected, as well as your MLA. You'll receive a copy of your message in an email.
- Once you’re done, please send the link to friends and family who might also be interested. You can also easily post it to social media.
Your end-of-life rights should be respected
Since 2016, medical assistance in dying (MAID) has been a recognized right in Canada. But the current law prevents many Canadians in the early stages of dementia, Alzheimer’s or other degenerative illnesses from accessing their right to a peaceful death because they are unable to make an advance request for an assisted death before they lose capacity to consent.
As a consequence, many people with capacity-eroding conditions are effectively banned from their right to a medically assisted death. Further, those who qualify while they are still able to provide informed consent face a cruel choice: access a medically assisted death while they still can, or wait and risk living through unnecessary suffering and indignities for too long. Neither option is humane.
The unfair ban on advanced requests should be lifted
For many people living with dementia, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and even brain cancer, the ongoing progression of their illness means that they may not be able to give informed consent at the time they become eligible for MAID. Unless they can make an advance request, the option of a medically assisted death may be completely off the table.
In practice, an advance request would allow a person to make a formal request for assisted dying that would be honoured later, after they lose the capacity to make medical decisions for themselves.
With your help, we’re calling on decision-makers to respect Canadians’ end-of-life rights by lifting the unfair ban on advance requests for assisted dying.
Take action today!
We at Dying With Dignity Canada recognize the responsibility of the federal government in handling healthcare priorities — including managing the COVID-19 outbreak across the country.
However, during this time, Canadians are still suffering from lack of access to their end-of-life rights. For far too long, the assisted dying legislation has ignored the rights of people with capacity-eroding illnesses.
Our federal decision-makers have a responsibility to right this wrong and restore the rights of all Canadians who have been discriminated against under this flawed law.
In June 2020, the government has committed to reviewing different aspects of Canada’s assisted dying legislation — and we need your help to advocate for improved access to MAID so the federal government will hear our thoughts as this consultation period approaches.
Today, we’re asking 15,000 Canadians from across the country to help Dying With Dignity Canada to raise the alarm about the discriminatory harms of banning advance requests for assisted dying.Add signature