Press Release: Committee calls government to delay expansion of euthanasia for mental illness
For immediate release – Ottawa, ON
In a majority report released yesterday, the Joint Committee studying medical assistance in dying (MAiD) has recommended that the government needs to once again delay the expansion of euthanasia to those with mental illness, noting that “the medical system in Canada is not prepared” for such an expansion.
The expansion, initially set to happen in March of 2023, was delayed as it became clear that Canadians and mental health professionals did not support the expansion. At the most recent committee hearings, it again became clear that Canadians do not support offering euthanasia to those with mental illness. Psychiatrists and psychologists spoke and wrote convincingly against the expansion. The committee heard from in-person witnesses with various perspectives and received written submissions from Canadians.
“We are thrilled that the committee was willing to hear what Canadians were saying and came to the conclusion that we cannot in good conscience expand euthanasia to those with mental illness,” said Daniel Zekveld, a policy analyst with ARPA Canada.
“Euthanasia should never be seen or used as a solution to mental illness. We need to keep sharing a message of hope and care with those who are suffering.”
With the Joint Committee’s recommendation, it is necessary for the government to introduce legislation to delay the expansion of euthanasia to those with mental illness. Without quick action, the expansion will come into effect on March 17 this year.
“We call on the government to take immediate action to implement the committee’s recommendation and ensure a delay,” said Zekveld. “We hope the government will use the work of this committee to inform their legislation, and even go a step further by dropping this expansion altogether. I want to stress that Canada will never be ready to offer assisted suicide to those with mental illness. This is something that should never be considered an option.”
ARPA Canada advocates for improved palliative care and elder care across the country, as well as increased access to mental health supports. “While it will require our country to expend more money, more time, and more energy to care, it is always a better option than euthanasia,” concluded Zekveld.
The Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada has a long history of involvement with euthanasia laws and policy in Canada. ARPA was granted intervenor standing at the Supreme Court of Canada in the Carter case in 2016. They have also provided a variety of policy reports, research, and analysis on the topic. In 2020, ARPA launched the Care Not Kill campaign, a national grassroots initiative that educates Canadians on the harms of euthanasia as well as equipping people to engage respectfully on this sensitive topic.
For further comment, please contact Daniel Zekveld at 1-866-691-2772 or [email protected]