“Canadians Should not be Provided Public Support to Kill Themselves”

  • September 2, 2014
  • BakerLaw

Toronto, ON, August 29, 2014 —  “It’s not worse than death, and people who are mislead into believing it will be should not be offered public support to kill themselves”, say two leading disability rights organizations who will be opposing attempts to strike down statutory provisions designed to prevent counselling or assisting anyone, disabled or not, to die.

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear a case October 15th in which it is being asked to strike down these protections, but only for disabled people.  The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) and the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) are the organized voice of Canada’s disabled citizens. They will be appearing in court to oppose efforts to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia (AS/E).

“Nobody in Canada needs to be left to face death in pain, nor should they have to feel their lives are a burden for others”, says Rhonda Wiebe of CCD. “People with disabilities should be joining with the Canadian Medical Association and many others and demanding adequate end of life care instead of putting resources in a AS/E program.

In jurisdictions where AS/E is legal the leading reasons given for dying are “losing dignity and autonomy” and “becoming burdensome for family and friends”.  “These initial fears are normal but are based on conditions that over time become routine aspects of life for disabled people”, says Catherine Frazee, former chair of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

“We are concerned that countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands see nothing wrong with euthanizing children and people with mental disabilities”, said Laurie Larson, President of CACL. “We are also concerned that the year over year growth in death rates in these countries are increasing by an average of 48 and 64% respectively with no end in sight to these increases.

CCD/CACL want the public to understand the concerns of the community AS/E is said to benefit.  To learn more you can access the CCD/CACL factum submitted to the Supreme Court here (link to factum), or contact:

Laurie Beachell, CCD at: 204-981-6179 or 204-947-0303, or

Michael Bach, CACL at: 416-209-7942

To learn more regarding the increasing rates of AS/E in permissive jurisdictions including Belgium and Netherlands, please see:

Reasons for Judgment of the British Columbia Supreme Court dated June 15, 2012 (link to judgment)

Steve Doughty, “Don’t Make Our Mistake,” Daily Mail, July 9, 2014 (link to article)

Julia Nicol, Marlisa Tiedemann, and Dominique Valiquet,“Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: International Experiences,” Library of Parliament Research Publications, April 8, 2011 (link to publication)

Johannes JM van Deldent et al., “Trends in end-of-life practices before and after the enactment of the euthanasia law in the Netherlands from 1990 to 2010: a repeated cross-sectional survey,” The Lancet, July 11, 2012 (link to publication)

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