Lawyers and Law Students Urge Parliament to Protect the Rights of Marginalized Canadians

  • October 30, 2020
  • Derek Ross, LL.B., LL.M., Executive Director and General Counsel of Christian Legal Fellowship

On October 5, 2020, the federal government re-introduced Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying). Among other things, this Bill would remove the requirement that a person’s death be “reasonably foreseeable” in order to obtain a physician's assistance to end their life.

The “reasonably foreseeable death” requirement was introduced by Parliament in 2016 - when MAiD was first decriminalized - in order to “guard against death being seen as a solution to all forms of suffering” (among other purposes). However, this safeguard was deemed unconstitutional by the Quebec Superior Court in Truchon v. Procureur général du Canada, [2019] Q.J. No. 7750. The federal government decided not to appeal that decision, despite calls to do so by many (including over 70 disability-rights organizations and advocates).

While Bill C-7 has been largely positioned as a response to Truchon, it introduces a number of additional changes that were not addressed in, nor mandated by, that decision.

On October 14, an open letter expressing concerns with the Bill, and signed by 140 lawyers and law students, was submitted to Parliament. The letter urges the federal government to uphold its international commitments, protect the rights of marginalized Canadians, and reconsider Bill C-7. That letter is reproduced below.*