The federal government is continuing its work on preparing a legislation regulating assisted dying in Canada. In February 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the Criminal Code provisions that prevented doctors from assisting patients end their lives and instructed the government to amend the laws.

The Salvation Army has been watching and engaging in the legislative process since last year. We have been sharing our experiences around the need for better access to palliative care and the need for conscience protection for those who do not wish to engage in assisted dying. All of The Salvation Army's submissions to government and external committees are posted here: Territory Responds to Government on Physician-Assisted Dying.

On April 14, 2016, the federal government introduced Bill C-14. The legislation would create a Criminal Code exemption to allow euthanasia and assisted suicide for persons who are 18 years or older, with a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability, in an advanced state of irreversible decline and for whom death is reasonably foreseeable. Bill C-14 is currently before the Senate and is expected to return to the House of Commons for final review and debate early next month.

The new legislation, whatever its final form, will mark a dramatic change in Canadian society. More information about the legislative process and medical assistance in dying can be found at the following links:

Parliament of Canada

Department of Justice

Coalition for Health Care and Conscience

Euthanasia and Palliative Care: A Guide for Canadians

Position Statement

The Salvation Army's position statement on Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide and Care at the End of Life reads, in part, “Human life is a sacred gift from God. Dignity is neither conferred nor withheld by human choice; it is inherent in each person. As individuals and communities we are called to respect the sacred value of human life and at all times to show each other care.

“It can be a challenge to know how to do this for a person who is suffering profoundly or living with disease that is incurable and progressing. We know that death cannot be eliminated. Even with the most advanced medical science and attentive caregiving, cure is not always possible, and pain and suffering cannot always be overcome. Never, however, must we judge that a person's life is not worth living or use anyone's suffering as a justification for causing their death.

“The Salvation Army believes that euthanasia and assisted suicide are morally wrong, and holds that they should continue to be illegal under Canadian law.

“Euthanasia, which involves the direct and intentional ending of another person's life as a means of relieving their suffering, undermines human dignity, as does assisting another person's suicide.”

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