On June 27, 2016, the BCCLA filed a constitutional challenge to the new assisted dying law (Bill C-14), a restrictive federal law that violates the rights of suffering Canadians.
The BCCLA has launched this challenge with Julia Lamb, a 25-year old B.C. woman who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a progressive neurodegenerative disease.
The lawsuit challenges the requirement that medical assistance in dying is only available to Canadians with terminal illness. The law does not permit assistance in dying for those who are suffering with no immediate end in sight.
Canadians with diseases like spinal muscular atrophy, multiple sclerosis, spinal stenosis, locked-in syndrome, traumatic spinal injury, Parkinson’s disease and Huntingdon’s disease are not eligible for medical assistance in dying under the new law.
The Supreme Court of Canada directed that medical assistance in dying should be available to clearly consenting, competent adults with “grievous and irremediable” medical conditions which cause enduring, intolerable suffering. The BCCLA was the rights watchdog responsible for the case.
We believe that grievously and irremediably ill Canadians who are suffering unbearably should have the right to choose a dignified and peaceful death. This right was confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada last year in the BCCLA’s groundbreaking Carter v. Canada case, but the federal government’s new bill leaves many seriously ill Canadians, like Julia, behind.
The BCCLA and Ms. Lamb are represented by Joseph Arvay, Q.C and Alison Latimer of Farris, Vaughn, Wills & Murphy LLP and Sheila Tucker of Shapray Cramer Fitterman Lamer LLP.
BC Supreme Court Case Documents