In view of the draft federal legislation on euthanasia and assisted suicide that was tabled in the House of Commons on April 14, 2016, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is working in close collaboration with the Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience. Bishops across Canada are urging all Catholics and others who share similar principles and values to inform federal and provincial / territorial legislators of their concerns on the sanctity of life and the conscience rights of healthcare workers and institutions when they are faced with a patient's choice for assisted death. In order to consolidate efforts throughout the dioceses and eparchies across Canada, the Coalition has made its resources available in both English and French.
The following website enables individuals to indicate their support for the Coalition's proposal, as well as to write to appropriate officials in the federal government and in each province or territory regarding its plans to protect conscience rights. In addition, the Coalition has developed materials in both official languages which outline the proposed approach to respect the conscience rights of health-care workers and institutions. The details have been developed in consultation with Catholic moral theologians, including the Most Reverend William Terrence McGrattan, Bishop of Peterborough, and Dr. Moira McQueen, Executive Director of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, Toronto.
An ecumenical and interfaith news conference was held at the National Press Gallery in Ottawa on April 19, 2016, focusing on the protection of vulnerable persons and the conscience rights of health-care workers and institutions, together with the need for better palliative care. Those participating in the news conference were His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto (on behalf of the CCCB and the Coalition); Mr. Bruce Clemenger, President, Evangelical Federation of Canada; Imam Sikander Hashmi, Canadian Council of Imams; Commissioner Susan McMillan, Salvation Army; Rabbi Reuven P. Bulka, Congregation Machzikei Hadas, Ottawa; and Dr. Caroline Girouard MD, FRCPC, a hematologist - oncologist at the Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur, Montreal, and Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Montreal.
The Coalition comprises the Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians' Societies, Catholic Health Alliance of Canada, Catholic Organization for Life and Family, Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada, and Canadian Physicians for Life.
Link to the Bill C-14 - An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying)