Assisted suicide has been legal in Canada since June 2016. Discussions are already taking place to expand the criteria to minors, people with psychiatric illness and those with dementia. This puts people who are lonely and isolated at risk of choosing euthanasia simply because they don’t have anyone who cares and can give them hope. Today in Ontario, physicians and other caregivers are forced to participate in euthanasia against their will, by referring their patients. Pro-euthanasia groups are threatening to sue faith based hospitals unless they allow euthanasia on the premises. Only a third of the population has access to adequate palliative care, so they are being denied real choice on end of life issues. This places physicians, nurses and other health professionals in an impossible situation – assist in the killing of their patients or lose the ability to care for patients at all. This is happening despite constitutional protections for freedom of conscience and religion in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (s.2). The Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience represents more than 110 healthcare facilities (with almost 18,000 care beds and 60,000 staff) and more than 5,000 physicians across Canada. Our members are unable to participate in taking a patient’s life due to moral, ethical or philosophical convictions.
- For more information, contact Jon Dykeman firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ontario legislature has the power to protect conscience rights for individuals and facilities and to provide adequate palliative care and mental health services so that people will not see assisted suicide as their only option. Our efforts in Manitoba helped to ensure the province passed conscience protection legislation in November 2017. In advance of the June 2018 provincial election in Ontario, we have the opportunity to ask candidates from all parties three important questions: 1. Will you support legislation to protect doctors, nurses and other health care providers who are being forced to participate in assisted suicide/euthanasia through making a referral? 2. How will you protect facilities from being forced to offer euthanasia/assisted suicide on their premises? 3. How does your party plan to address the lack of quality palliative care in our province? To contact the electoral candidates in your riding, please visit: www.canadiansforconscience.ca/ontario