CCD Disappointed by House of Commons Yes Vote on Bill C-7 (Medical Aid in Dying)
March 12, 2021 - Yesterday, while the Federal Government was noting the 11th anniversary of Canada’s signing of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the House of Commons passed Bill C-7 thereby making Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) available to healthy people with disabilities. In contrast, other Canadians are offered suicide prevention.
The Senate amended Bill C-7 to pave the way for access to MAID for people with mental illness. Before this measure comes into force, there will be an 18-month study period. “In the case of mental illness, MAID is a permanent lethal solution for a temporary situation,” states Jewelles Smith, Communications & Government Relations Coordinator Council of Canadians with Disabilities.
The MAID regime that will be authorized by the Bill will put vulnerable people with disabilities in harm’s way by making it easier to access medical aid in dying. While many people with disabilities cannot access the disability-related supports that they need to live dignified lives in the community, they will be able to get Medical Aid in Dying. The Bill creates a separate track, whereby people with disabilities can access MAID, even if they are not at end of life. Even people experiencing a mental health crisis will have access to MAID. “We are extremely concerned that people with disabilities experiencing a temporary crisis will accept MAID and die needlessly,” states Smith.
The United Nations has warned Canada that Bill C-7 violates the human rights commitments it has made under a number of Conventions it has ratified. The disability community held an online filibuster, where people with disabilities spoke out about why and how Bill C-7 would put their lives in danger and increase discrimination against people with disabilities. Not one disability rights organization supported Bill C-7. “The MPs who voted for Bill C-7 have stubbornly ignored the concerns expressed by the disability community. They ignored the voices of people with disabilities who clearly spelled out how disabled people will be harmed,” states Smith.
“This is not the end of the road for us on Bill C-7. This is a fight for our lives. We are prepared to challenge Bill C-7 in court, both in Canada and at the United Nations,” states Roxana Jahani Aval, CCD Chairperson.
CCD is a national human rights organization of people with disabilities working for an inclusive and accessible Canada.
The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) is a social justice organization of people with all disabilities that champions the voices of people with disabilities, advocating an inclusive and accessible Canada, where people with disabilities have full realization of their human rights, as described in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) unites advocacy organizations of people with disabilities to defend and extend human rights for persons with disabilities through public education, advocacy, intervention in litigation, research, consultation and partnerships. CCD amplifies the expertise of our partners by acting as a convening body and consensus builder.