Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide
Euthanasia is an act or failure to act which intentionally causes a person’s death.
Assisted suicide is counselling or aiding someone to kill himself.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide have been legal in Canada since Bill C-14, MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying) was passed in 2016. Bill C-14 contained safeguards to limit the practice to protect vulnerable people. When it was passed, the government promised a thorough review of the law in five years.
Before the review was ever done, the Liberal government passed Bill C-7 on March 17, 2021, which expanded access to assisted suicide and removed safeguards as described below. An panel of experts was then commissioned. This panel consisted of experts in clinical psychiatry, MAiD assessment and provision, law, ethics, health regulation, and mental healthcare and were tasked with studying the issue of MAiD for those with mental illness.
The panel’s report was released May 6, 2022. For an analysis of the report: https://arpacanada.ca/articles/expert-panel-tables-parliamentary-report-on-assisted-suicide/
Bill C-7 allows those who are not dying and whose natural death is not “reasonably foreseeable” to apply for MAID. This would include people with disabilities or chronic but not fatal illnesses.
Bill C-7 removes the 10-day waiting period for those whose death is “reasonably foreseeable.” It would make it possible to apply and receive euthanasia on the same day. For those whose death is not reasonably foreseeable, the waiting period is 90 days.
Bill C-7 allows for advance directives, essentially making it possible for a medical practitioner to proceed with euthanasia when a patient is no longer able to give consent.
Bill C-7 will permit euthanasia for reasons of mental illness alone, beginning in 2023.
Bill C-7 does not protect doctors and nurse practitioners from being pressured to participate in an act that violates their conscience. Numerous physicians spoke out against the bill in the months leading up to its passage, and over 1,200 doctors across Canada signed the Physicians Together with Vulnerable Canadians Statement to oppose Bill C-7.
“The reckless removal of safeguards previously deemed essential will place desperately vulnerable patients directly in harm’s way and may cost them their very lives.”
from the Physicians Together with Vulnerable Canadians Statement.
What Can You Do?
“Legalized euthanasia is a travesty and no one need avail himself or herself of it. We can still do what we can to educate people and continue to lobby for greatly improved palliative care – which is sorely lacking in Canada. At the moment only 30 per cent of Canadians who need that care can get it.
“We can also personally care for others and help people live when they are feeling drawn to end their lives. We can also support the Compassionate Community Care Service that is being promoted by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.” Charles Lewis