For immediate release
OTTAWA, ONTARIO (January 8, 2016) – On Monday, January 11, 2015, the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) will make arguments to Supreme Court of Canada in the landmark death with dignity case, Carter v. Canada.
The BCCLA will oppose the federal government’s request for a six-month delay to respond to the Supreme Court’s ruling on physician-assisted dying. The BCCLA will argue that further delay is not necessary and will cause critically ill Canadians to continue to live in suffering and die agonizing deaths against their wishes.
The BCCLA is the civil liberties watchdog responsible for launching the case. Last year, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Canadians suffering unbearably with grievous, irremediable medical conditions have the right to seek a compassionate death with the assistance of a doctor.
The Supreme Court delayed the effect of its ruling for 12 months to give Parliament and the provincial legislatures time in which they could choose to enact legislative guidelines upholding the right of patients to die with dignity. The Supreme Court made it clear that Parliament and the provincial legislatures could choose not to enact any legislation. The judgment is set to come into effect on February 6, 2016.
If the Supreme Court determines that a further extension is appropriate, the BCCLA will argue that patients who qualify under the Supreme Court’s ruling should not be forced to wait in suffering. They should be given permission to proceed with a physician-assisted death under individual court applications during the extension period.