freedom of conscience Tag

29 Nov 2019 What’s going on with Bill 207, Alberta’s conscience rights bill?

  *UPDATE (added Dec. 5): On Monday, December 2, while MLA Dan Williams was speaking on Bill 207, a tragic incident occurred outside the Assembly, which then adjourned. Consequently, Bill 207 was delayed. It will likely be revisited in February 2020, once the legislature resumes. Last week, an Alberta legislative committee voted against Bill 207.  So, is Bill 207 dead? Not quite. Ordinarily, a bill gets debated in the Assembly at second reading. Then, if it passes the “second reading vote”, it goes to an appropriate committee for closer study, where amendments are often...

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20 Nov 2019 Dispelling myths about Alberta’s conscience rights bill

  Bill 207, tabled by Alberta MLA Dan Williams, now faces fierce opposition. The bill proposes protections for health care providers’ freedom of conscience. It is scheduled for a vote at second reading on Monday, November 25. It deserves to pass and proceed to committee for further review and possible improvements.   Bill 207 does not threaten access to health care The primary line of attack is that Bill 207 threatens “access to health care”. “Imagine … a patient being denied access to a therapeutic abortion even if the woman’s life is in danger,”...

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07 Nov 2019 New Alberta bill offers robust protections for freedom of conscience

    We have encouraging news. Dan Williams, MLA for Peace River, Alberta, tabled a bill today that would protect both individual health care providers and health care facilities from being required to provide services that conflict with their religious beliefs, conscientious beliefs, ethical judgment, or cultural traditions. One of the bill’s stated purposes is to provide certainty to health care providers and religious health care organizations with respect to exercising their Charter-protected freedoms of conscience and religion. This is greatly needed in a time when both individual providers and religious health care...

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10 Jul 2019 Merging palliative care and MAiD

Increasing pressure on palliative care providers to offer assisted suicide and euthanasia   At a recent conference hosted by the Canadian Association of MAiD Assessors and Providers (CAMAP), three doctors presented on how euthanasia could be pushed into palliative care spaces. Evidently, some palliative care physicians and nurses believe that “Medical Assistance in Dying” or “MAiD”* is a natural part of palliative care. But many are strongly opposed to the encroachment of MAiD into palliative care wards and facilities. In May 2019, the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians clarified in a statement...

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31 May 2019 Ontario’s Highest Court Finds a Way Around Physicians’ Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Bodes ill for future fundamental freedom cases by John Sikkema Back in 2008, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) issued a new policy entitled “Physicians and the Ontario Human Rights Code.” That policy informed physicians that they should be prepared to “set aside their personal beliefs” in providing healthcare. It warned that the Human Rights Code has no defence for discriminatory refusals of medical services, “even if the refusal is based on the physician’s moral or religious belief.” The policy did not explain how to determine whether a refusal...

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22 May 2019 Do Not Bow Down: What the LSO Bencher Election Teaches Us About Being a “Certain” Christian

Guest blog by Lia Milousis On April 30th, 2019, the Law Society of Ontario (LSO), the body that governs lawyers and paralegals in the province, elected a new board. In this election, a group of 22 candidates took a public stand against the LSO’s controversial Statement of Principles (SOP) mandate, which ARPA has written about. The SOP mandates all lawyers licensed in Ontario “to adopt and to abide by a statement of principles acknowledging their obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion generally, and in their behavior towards colleagues, employees, clients and...

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24 Jan 2019 Conscience rights for physicians – do they matter for patients?

We can all understand why conscience rights matter to doctors – they want the freedom to practice medicine in a way that does not conflict with their moral or religious beliefs. As an employee, we should all have that freedom to follow our conscience without fear of career repercussions. But do conscience rights also matter for patients? At ARPA Canada, we believe they matter deeply. They matter in the selection of medical care providers, in our relationship with our medical care providers, and because of the reason why conscience rights are...

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17 Jan 2019 Parliament considers protecting physician conscience rights

David Anderson, a Member of Parliament from Saskatchewan, has tabled a bill to protect conscience rights for health care professionals in Canada. This bill comes in response to a distinct lack of conscience protections in the recent change to the law allowing euthanasia. Anderson stated, “I believe it’s time to stand up for doctors and health care providers who aren’t willing to leave their core ethics behind when they’re at a patient’s bedside.” Bill C-418, would make it a criminal offence to intimidate or force a doctor or other health care provider...

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20 Sep 2018 Debate on expanding euthanasia continues, ARPA releases new policy report

This fall, Parliament will examine the issue of expanding euthanasia to “mature minors” and to persons with mental illness. Since 2016 (Bill C-14), Canada has permitted anyone who is at least 18, has a grievous and irremediable medical condition, and whose death is reasonably foreseeable, to receive “medical aid in dying” (MAiD). To put it in stark terms, the law now permits medical professionals to kill their adult patients, as long as the patient consents and has the requisite medical conditions. In Spring 2015, ARPA released its first Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia...

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20 Feb 2018 Must doctors facilitate euthanasia? Appeal to Ontario’s highest court

Larry Worthen, Executive Director of the Christian Medical and Dental Society There is going to be an appeal of a January 31st Ontario Superior Court ruling on conscience rights for doctors and other health care professionals. In that ruling, the court acknowledged that doctors rights to freedom of religion were violated by a policy imposed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario; a policy that required so-called "effective referral" for patients who wanted so-called "Medical Assistance in Dying." However, the court said, those rights were trumped by the rights of...

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