Assisted Dying

The British Columbia Humanist Association supports the right of an individual who has made a clear decision, free from coercion, to choose a physician-assisted death. We believe that the promotion of human dignity requires allowing an individual to choose both how to live and how to end their life. People who have made the decision to end their life should have access to the means and assistance to do so with dignity.

We applaud the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Carter v. Canada. We urge the federal, provincial, and territorial governments to work together to create a legal and regulatory framework that grants the right to a physician-assisted death to all Canadians who freely choose it.

For more on our position on assisted dying, read our responses to the fall 2015 consultations by the federal and provincial governments.

We will continue to support the work of Dying With Dignity Canada.

Latest news


Doctors have no right to refuse medical assistance in dying, abortion or contraception

Editor's note: This editorial was originally published in the journal Bioethics under a Creative Commons license. It's a follow up to an article first published by Udo Schuklenk in May 2015 and responded to by Christopher Cowley in December 2015. Unfortunately, both of those articles are behind paywalls. The debate is over...

Bill C-14 becomes law, leaves out classes of people

On Friday, Bill C-14 received Royal Assent and became law in Canada. The bill was the government's response to the Carter ruling that struck down Canada's prohibition on medical assistance in dying. While the bill provides important safeguards to doctors, nurses, pharmacists and family members who assist a suffering Canadian to...

Half of British Columbians strongly oppose granting "conscientious objections" to healthcare institutions

A new poll has found that 71% of British Columbians do not support publicly-funded healthcare institutions being able to refuse to provide services like physician-assisted dying or abortion on religious grounds. A majority – 52% – are strongly opposed. A number of healthcare institutions operated by religious groups, including Providence...

Medical assistance in dying becomes legal in Canada

As of today, suffering Canadians may request assistance to end their life with dignity. Last year, in its unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down our country's prohibition on physician-assisted dying and spelled out clear and compassionate guidelines for when an individual may request an assisted death. The...

Amend Bill C-14: Restore the patient-centred approach

The BC Humanist Association today submitted its brief to the parliamentary committee tasked with reviewing and proposing amendments to the government's draft medical assistance in dying bill. The brief contains a list of amendments to the bill that would restore the "patient-centred approach" promoted by the Special Joint Committee's report....

Federal government tables assisted dying law

The Federal Government today tabled legislation that would give some Canadians the right to choose an assisted death. While the bill adopts some of the important provisions that the BC Humanist Association, Dying With Dignity Canada, the BC Civil Liberties Association and other advocates of choice in dying have called...

Write your MP to guarantee choice

The BC Humanist Association has written to all British Columbia Members of Parliament calling for legislation that ensures patients have access to compassionate end of life options. After studying legislative options for physician-assisted dying, a Parliamentary committee recommended an approach that puts patients first. The BCHA is calling on MPs...

John Hofsess' assisted voluntary death

Victoria writer and founder of the Right to Die Society of Canada John Hofsess was fortunate to be able to chose the time and manner of his own death and to die surrounded by his friends. Hofsess' article “By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead” was published on Toronto...

Praise for federal committee report on physician assisted dying

In their report to Parliament, MPs and Senators on the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying have presented a set of bold recommendations to allow suffering Canadians to choose a medically-assisted death. The report is already receiving praise from organizations in support of choice in dying, including the BC Humanist...

Religious opponents of assisted dying ignore earthly realities

The other weekend, my wife and I cantered the 400-odd kilometres from Lethbridge to Calgary and back to attend a forum organized by St Andrew’s Church on the subject of physician-assisted dying. A learned panel of speakers had been assembled consisting of two physicians, one of whom was also an...

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