October 31, 2020
REAL WOMEN OF CANADA
Protecting Palliative Care in Canada
WHEREAS political pressure is being placed on palliative care hospices in Canada by the B.C. NDP government, and by physicians who perform assisted suicide in Ontario, to require such hospices to provide beds in their facilities to accommodate assisted suicide patients; and
WHEREAS palliative care supports the dignity of human life and the care and comfort of patients, including providing medication to relieve pain to allow the patient to have a natural death; and
WHEREAS assisted suicide encourages the sick and the terminally ill to consent to be killed by lethal injection in order to stop their suffering, either psychological or medical, regardless of the fact that their illness can be treated with medication and counselling; and
WHEREAS the Canadian Hospital Palliative Care Association and the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians state that Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) and palliative care differ in many areas, including in their philosophy, intention and approach; and
WHEREAS the concept of physician-assisted suicide, now renamed Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID), and palliative care services are not compatible; and
WHEREAS the pressure placed on hospices to accommodate assisted suicide patients, if successful, will create a precedent that would lead to the extinguishing of palliative care in Canada; and
WHEREAS MAID legislation has been positioned as a “healthcare right” under the Canada Health Act, so that it is publically funded, and accessible to all Canadians; and
WHEREAS palliative care has not been positioned as a healthcare right under the Canada Health Act, publically funded and accessible to all; and
WHEREAS fewer than 30% of Canadians have access to palliative care and are thus denied access to such care, despite the fact that 98% of those dying in Canada do so naturally, not by assisted suicide;
BE IT RESOLVED that palliative care services in Canada operate independently from assisted suicide services.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that palliative care be included in the Canada Health Act so that dying patients will have access to publically-funded and accessible palliative care services as their right at the end of their lives.