At the beginning of 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the country's legislation governing physician-assisted suicide contravened the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Supreme Court gave Parliament one year to introduce new legislation and the government established an expert panel to receive submissions from Canadians regarding the way forward.

The Salvation Army believes that euthanasia and assisted suicide are morally wrong, and holds that they should continue to be illegal under Canadian law (click here to read the Army's position statement on euthanasia, assisted suicide and care at the end of life). In view of the Army's position statement on this issue, Chief Secretary Colonel Mark Tillsley requested that the territory make a submission to the panel, expressing our concern and providing input on pending new legislation.

“As a faith-based social services provider, The Salvation Army can offer a unique perspective on this issue,” says Jessica McKeachie, public affairs director. “We work with some of the most vulnerable and marginalized people in the country, often as direct care providers through our hospitals, hospices and long-term care facilities.”

McKeachie is chair of a small committee established to address this issue on the Army's behalf. The committee also includes Jim Read, executive director of the Army's Ethics Centre; Mary Ellen Eberlin, social services secretary; Lt-Colonel Fred Waters, secretary for program; and Lt-Colonel Jim Champ, secretary for communications. Guided by the territorial and international position statements, the committee has drafted a submission addressing four key issues put forth by the expert panel: forms of physician-assisted dying; eligibility criteria; risks to individuals and society associated with physician-assisted dying; and safeguards to address risks. Click here to read the Army's submission (en français) (click here to read the theological backgrounder document, which offers context for our submission).

“It is hoped that our submission will help the panel with their difficult task of crafting a report for the federal government,” says McKeachie.

The deadline for submissions to the panel is October 19. The committee is inviting Canadian Salvationists to share their thoughts on this issue, as well, before the deadline, by e-mail to


On Monday, November 16, 2015, Brad said:

How can The Salvation Army believe euthanasia and assisted suicide to be morally wrong and yet uphold abortion in certain situations?

Leave a Comment