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. Unfortunately, the federal government's legislation has so far failed to live up to these progressive guidelines.

We continue to be concerned that many Canadians have been left out of the government's criteria. This includes people with mental illnesses and those facing degenerative conditions. We are also concerned by efforts to restrict access to medial assistance in dying through the dictates of religious healthcare institutions and refusal to provide adequate referrals.

For more on our position on assisted dying, read our responses to the fall 2015 consultations by the federal and provincial governments or our submission to the January 2016 Special Joint Parliamentary Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying.

We will continue to support the work of Dying With Dignity Canada and the BC Civil Liberties Association in pressing for change.

Latest news


Prorogation kills bills to ban conversion therapy, reform MAID

The BC Humanist Association is calling on Members of Parliament (MPs) to commit to the quick reintroduction and passage of two bills this fall after an announcement yesterday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was proroguing Parliament until September 23. With prorogation all bills are wiped from the order paper. This included...

Christian takeover at Delta Hospice

The BC Humanist Association has heard complaints from Delta residents, echoed by reporting for CBC News, of efforts by the Board of Directors of the Delta Hospice Society to convert the organization into a Christian anti-choice body. Applicants who wish to join the Society are saying they've been denied and...

Don't stop with Delta hospice

Following the announcement that the province will cut $1.5 million in funding to the Delta Hospice Society for refusing to provide medical assistance in dying (MAID), the BC Humanist Association is urging the province to apply the same standards to all publicly-funded healthcare facilities in the province. As reported by...

Government tables bill to expand MAID

Humanists in British Columbia are reacting with skepticism to some of the provisions contained within a new bill purported to expand access to medical assistance in dying (MAID). Canada's Justice Minister David Lametti tabled Bill C-7 today, which amends the Criminal Code restrictions on who can access MAID. The bill...

Tell the Government to expand access to MAID

Following a Quebec Supreme Court ruling that the existing restrictions on medical assistance in dying in Canada are unconstitutional, the federal government is looking to expand the eligibility requirements. In line with our position on medical assistance in dying, the BC Humanist Association has created the following guide to help...

Doctors' duty is to their patients, not their own interests: Ontario Court of Appeal

The Ontario Court of Appeal has unanimously upheld a policy that requires doctors provide an effective referral if they refuse to provide a medically assisted death. The decision builds upon a lower court ruling. The ruling clearly sets out that religious beliefs cannot be used to deny patients healthcare.

New Alberta poll shows overwhelming support for requiring publicly-funded hospitals to provide MAID

A new poll from Dying With Dignity Canada and Ipsos has found that 80% of Albertans support the idea of requiring publicly funded hospitals to provide medically-assisted dying on their premises. The support rises to 86% among non-religious Albertans.

Proposed religious "campus of care" undermines MAiD access

Faith-based organizations that refuse to provide medical assistance in dying should not be awarded new public contracts said the BC Humanist Association in response to news that a Catholic group will be leading a redevelopment plan for a Comox hospital.

Academic studies pave way for expanding MAiD eligibility

A trio of studies released by the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) have provided the scientific and ethical grounding for policymakers to restore access to medical assistance in dying (MAiD), according to the BC Humanist Association. The studies, commissioned by the federal government following the passage of Bill C-14, examine aspects...

Can we die?

By Jocelyn Downie, Dalhousie University and Jennifer Chandler, University of Ottawa More than 2,000 people have died with the help of a doctor since Canada’s new medical assistance in dying law, Bill C-14, received royal assent on June 17, 2016. This legislation has, however, come under sustained criticism for its...

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