CWDO Urges Canada to Send Bill C-7 to the Court

  • February 23, 2021
  • BakerLaw

Bakerlaw has been retained by Citizens with Disabilities – Ontario (link) to  advise on its efforts to have Bill C-7 [MAiD 2] referred to the Supreme Court or a provincial court of appeal. In the event of a reference, bakerlaw has been retained by the CWDO to represent it as an intervener. In the event the Bill is not reviewed by a senior appellate court, bakerlaw has been retained to bring a challenge to the new Bill’s constitutionality and compliance with Canada’s international obligations.

In 2019, the Superior Court of Quebec ruled on the Truchon case (link) which ruled that the medical assistance in dying (MAiD) eligibility criterion which required an individual’s death to be “reasonable foreseeable” was unconstitutional. Since then, the Government has been working on Bill C-7 which will remove this criterion and expand access to MAiD. As the Bill works its way through the legislative process, it has expanded far beyond what the Court required in Truchon.

Ultimately, Bill C-7 as it stands, will expand MAiD without a corresponding commitment to expanding access to any supports which would alleviate suffering through the enhancement of an individual’s quality of life. This endangers the lives and security of the persons in violation of section 7 of the Charter. Moreover, this will disproportionately impact persons with disabilities in violation of section 15 of the Charter. Indeed, a panel of UN Human Rights Experts have called on Canada to explain how Bill C-7 abides by Canada’s domestic and international human rights obligations. You can read the full letter here (link). To our knowledge, the Government has not responded.

The world is watching what Canada does next. CWDO and its members call on the Government of Canada to submit the Bill to the Supreme Court of Canada for a reference. This process will enable the Court to rule on the constitutionality of the Bill. You can read CWDO’s letter to the Honourable Minister Lametti here (link). If you’d like to support CWDO in their efforts, please sign the letter in the space provided and email it to Minister Lametti and the Provincial Attorneys General using the contact information in the letter.

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