Voice Your Choice to the Council of Canadian Academies

UPDATE: The deadline to Voice Your Choice to the Council of Canadian Academies has passed. The CCA is expected to release its report by the end of 2018. We'll let you know when it's released! (Sign up here to receive email updates.)

How does the federal government’s unconstitutional assisted dying law affect you?

Share your story as part of Dying With Dignity Canada’s official submission to the group of researchers who have been tasked with studying the future of assisted dying in Canada.

What’s happening

What could the future of assisted dying in Canada look like? It’s a difficult question, one the Trudeau government has asked the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) to try to answer. In particular, the CCA is looking into the possible impacts of allowing assisted dying for three groups of suffering Canadians who don’t currently have access under the federal law:

  • Desperately ill individuals who will continue to be excluded unless the law is changed to allow for advance requests for medical assistance in dying (MAID);
  • Individuals whose primary medical condition is a mental illness; and
  • Mature minors.

The federal government has asked the CCA panels not to include legislative recommendations in their final reports. That being said, these studies, which are due to be submitted to Parliament by the end of 2018 could set out a path for how Canada could restore access to assisted dying to individuals whose rights were curtailed with the passage of Bill C-14.

What you can do

Dying With Dignity Canada has called for the CCA to consult Canadians directly about how the current assisted dying framework affects their right to choice. Unfortunately, the CCA has opted only to consult “groups and organizations affected by, or involved in MAID.” Submissions may only be 1,000 words long, which is not enough space to detail how the federal assisted dying rules unfairly discriminate against particular groups of suffering Canadians.

However, there is no limit on the amount of “evidence” (such as academic research, historical documents, traditional knowledge and court decisions) that can be included as attachments. This got us thinking: Don’t the personal stories of our supporters count as evidence? Of course they do. In fact, the experiences of individuals who have cared for someone who was denied choice, or who fear they may be denied their right to choice themselves, should be at the heart of any major policy discussion about the future of assisted dying in Canada.

Voice Your Choice by Sept. 29!

Studying the future of your choice must not be just an academic exercise — the CCA must hear from ordinary Canadians whose rights are at stake. Use Dying With Dignity Canada’s new Voice Your Choice Toolkit to craft a powerful letter for us to include as part of our official submission. The toolkit has suggestions on how you might want to structure your letter, including prompts to help you get started.

There are three ways to send us your story:

  • Submit it by email to [email protected].
  • You can use the submission form below. If you choose this option, we strongly advise that you write your story in a word processor (such as Microsoft Word or Apple Pages), save your content as you go, and then copy and paste it into the submission field after you're done. This way, you're far less likely to lose what you've written in the case that something goes wrong.
  • You can send it via Canada Post to our national office: Dying With Dignity Canada, Suite 802, 55 Eglinton Ave. E, Toronto, ON, M4P 1G8. If you do choose this option, please ensure that you send it in time for the letter to arrive to us on or before Sept. 29. 

We are accepting submissions until Sept. 29, 2017, so please act now! Your testimony will help us create a body of evidence that shows how the ban on advance requests for assisted dying unfairly limits choice for Canadians, especially those who are living with a dementia diagnosis and want to exercise their right to a peaceful death.

Your submission will not be shared publicly but will be submitted to the Council of Canadian Academies. Letters that contain hateful language will not be included in Dying With Dignity Canada’s final submission to the CCA.