There has been vigorous debate over the legalization of assisted dying, revealing a diversity of viewpoints rooted in compassion, religion, ethics, and medicine. This deeply personal and contentious issue has the potential to affect every family in our community.
The SCC’s decision gave government one year to implement legislation and / or regulation before the existing law prohibiting assisted dying is rescinded. This deadline has since been extended by four months to give government more time to consider and implement an appropriate response.
CIJA has been engaged on this issue from the outset, convening a community town hall to discuss the implications of the SCC’s ruling and embarking on a national consultation initiative to solicit feedback from community members and experts to inform our interventions.
CIJA made representations to the federal and provincial/territorial panels advising government on the issue, and submitted a written brief to Parliament’s Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying.
CIJA’s interventions have focused primarily on three points:
- Safeguarding informed consent and ensuring adequate protections for the vulnerable
- Safeguarding the right of healthcare providers to refuse to participate in assisted dying for reasons of conscience
- Securing the orientation of medical assistance in dying as one end-of-life care option among many, including universal access to high quality palliative care
On April 14, 2016, Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould tabled Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying).
CIJA has subsequently provided oral and written testimony to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights as it considers the bill. We have also been invited to testify before the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.
As we continue to engage Parliamentarians on this deeply personal and contentious issue, we would appreciate your feedback to help inform our ongoing interventions. Please share your perspective below.