Bill C-7: Concerning Additions February, 2021

Bill C-7, which will expand the eligibility criteria for euthanasia and assisted suicide, passed in the Legislature and was sent to the Senate for approval. In the Senate further changes were made that would allow MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying) to occur more often by removing the “reasonable foreseeability of natural death” criterion currently in the Criminal Code. It will also allow MAID for those who are suffering from mental illness. Senator Batters spoke quite eloquently yesterday as the third reading of the Bill was occurring in the Senate. Please take the time to listen to her words as she lays out her thoughts and passionately defends the vulnerable in our country:

Watch Senator Batters' Video

While it will be challenging to stop the proposed changes now, it is not too late for Catholics to make a difference. Please watch the video clip and consider contacting your Member of Parliament and let them know that the changes proposed to Bill C-7 go too far, beyond what the courts called for and now puts at risk all persons suffering from mental health or disabilities, the very people we should be most want to protect.

Timelines are very tight on this Bill – we must act now if we will have an impact.

Bill C-7 Federal Government’s New Proposed Law on Euthanasia – Act Now to Oppose Changes

Bill C-7 is “An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying)." Bill C-7, if passed into law, can cause extensive and undeniable harm to sick and/or vulnerable people. The Bill will expand the eligibility criteria for euthanasia and assisted suicide by removing the “reasonable foreseeability of natural death” criterion currently in the Criminal Code. As written, Bill C-7 will also loosen some of the existing “safeguards” and allow patients whose death is “reasonably foreseeable” to waive final consent to receiving euthanasia by making an advance directive, which they will not be able to change if they cannot communicate, but have changed their mind.

With Bill C-7, the Government has effectively short-circuited the mandatory assessment of euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada as provided in the original Act of 17 June 2016 to amend the Criminal Code, which specifically called for “a parliamentary review of [the Act’s] provisions and of the state of palliative care in Canada to commence at the start of the fifth year following the day on which [the Act] receives Royal Assent.”

Parliament is suspended until at least April 20, but Bill C-7 is still a grave concern, as it is currently in the Second Reading stage of the legislation process, which will then be followed by Committee hearings. See the government progression of Bill C-7 here.

The harm that this Bill can and will do is undeniable and extensive if it is passed. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is working with other national organizations and faith groups to develop a common statement about Bill C-7. The Bishops sincerely hope and earnestly request that the House of Commons exercises its ability to refer Bill C-7 to a committee for detailed examination before Second Reading, as is permitted according to the Standing Orders (Ch. 9 § 73), in order to allow input from expert witnesses in a manner which is fully public, transparent, and open to a wide range of voices – religious and non-religious alike – as well as in full and prudent consideration of inviolable moral and ethical principles, the common good, and concern for future generations.

The Bishops are calling on all Canadians to make their voices heard; they strongly urge members of Parliament to acknowledge the giftedness of life as an inalienable right not to be taken away by others, the importance of compassion for the ill and the dying, as well as our responsibility to protect the most vulnerable among us.

Contact your Member of Parliament (MP) and voice your concern about this legislation. Remind them of the long-term impact this law will have on all people and ask them to take the time to examine this Bill carefully. Read more in the full CCCB statement here

The Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience has provided information on the impact of this Bill on patients and doctors, in particular our Ontario doctors. They also have direct links for e-mailing your MP. You can see their website here.

We have created a one page information sheet for you. You can download it here