Uphold Rigourous Standards for Medical Assistance in Dying

In June of 2016 our Canadian Government passed Bill C-14, providing guidelines for medical assistance in dying (MAID). This bill has caused a great deal of debate within our country. There were a number of safeguards set up in the initial iteration of this bill that some people have fought against, demanding more lenient elements to be incorporated into the bill. 

Before Bill C-14 passed, a letter sent to Canadian Christian Reformed and Reformed Church in America congregations said, “the Centre for Public Dialogue has argued that if medically assisted death must be a legal reality that legislation and policy should: protect vulnerable people from involuntary euthanasia; protect the conscience rights of medical care providers and institutions; be subject to careful tracking and legislative review; and enhance palliative care options.”

In Quebec, a Superior Court Judge recently deemed Bill C-14 “too restrictive” and struck down the requirement that a patient’s death be reasonably foreseeable in order to be eligible for MAID.  The court gave the federal government until March 11, 2020 to address this issue. This resulted in a speedy push for consultation with Canadians and an accelerated timeline for legislative review and changes. Over 300,000 Canadians responded to an online survey, the results of which will be reviewed by the government as they work towards a resolution. 

Beyond the immediate issues raised by the Quebec court there are three key proposals to expand access to MAID: 

  • "mature minors" — people under age 18 considered by doctors to be capable of directing their own care.
  • Cases involving "advance requests" — where a patient stipulates they would like their life to end at a later time when they are no longer competent to give consent.
  • And people who wish to end their lives solely because of mental illness.

(To view the full article on CBC News, click here)

We wrote in a brief to the House of Commons on May 2, 2016, “Bill C-14 provides minimum standards for the protection of vulnerable persons from harm in a MAID regime.” Some of the proposed changes would break safeguards embedded in Bill C-14 that were designed to protect vulnerable persons who may be subject to coercion, and would increase the likelihood of euthanasia without consent. 

Please give prayerful consideration to this conversation and use this action alert to raise the issue directly with your MP as they consider MAID in the next few weeks and months.

Thank you,

The Centre for Public Dialogue

Disability Concerns

Chaplaincy & Care Ministry

Christian Reformed Church in North America

For further background information click here. 

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Find more action opportunities at crcna.org/publicdialogue/action-centre