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.

North Island Hospital - Comox Valley replaced Catholic St Joseph's Hospital in October 2017. In a news release yesterday, the Ministry of Health announced that the site of St Joseph's has been given to Providence Residential and Community Care Society, which was created by Providence Health Care, a Catholic agency. Providence also runs St Paul's Hospital in Vancouver.

As part of its redevelopment plans for the old hospital site, Providence will make permanent the 21 temporary residential care beds now in place and add up to 10 net new residential care beds. Residents in these 31 long-term care beds wanting an assisted death will likely be required to transfer to another facility to have their request facilitated.

Ian Bushfield, Executive Director, BC Humanist Association

By transferring St Joseph's to Providence Health Care, the Government betrayed its duty of religious neutrality and missed a chance to ensure every bed is for everyone. Instead this decision will inevitably force more suffering as patients will inevitably have to endure transfers to secular facilities to have a legal assisted death.

At the same time, the secular Golden Life Management was chosen to construct and operate a new facility to house the 116 residential care beds currently at the The Views at St Joseph's. That facility will be called Ocean Front Village and will offer medical assistance in dying, according to the Victoria Times Colonist.

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