Conscience Protection in Bill C-14 (assisted death) - A letter to the Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice, and to the Hon. Jane Philpott, Minister of Health

09 June 2016
Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould,
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Justice Building,
284 Wellington Street Ottawa,
ON K1A 0H8
The Hon. Jane Philpott,
Minister of Health
70 Colombine Driveway, Tunney's Pasture,
Postal Location: 0906C
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9

Dear Minister Wilson-Raybould and Minister Philpott,

We would like to bring to your attention the enclosed joint statement, developed by The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. This statement has been endorsed by more than 50 Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders, as well as more than 28,763 signatories from across Canada.

The enclosed Declaration expresses our opposition to the practices of euthanasia and assisted suicide, as well as our shared concern about conscience protection for health care providers and support for greater access to high-quality palliative care.

As Bill C-14 enters its final stages before passage, we ask that you take further steps to establish strong, specific conscience protection in the legislation. The conscience amendments passed by the House of Commons were positive, but more is needed.

Conscience protection should be extended to institutions, like hospitals, nursing homes and hospice facilities. These are not just bricks and mortar, but organizations founded and maintained on the basis of a community’s commonly held beliefs and purposes.

Conscience protection should also specifically include both direct and indirect participation, including referrals. Providing an effective referral is a professional recommendation for treatment and would require participation in assisted death that goes against the deeply held beliefs of some health care providers.

As well, we are concerned about discrimination against those who object to participating in assisted death. For example, a palliative care physician may be required to perform physician assisted death in order to be hired or maintain employment, even if it is against his or her strongly held beliefs.

We urge you to protect Canadians from being compelled to act against their deeply held beliefs and include strong, specific conscience protection in Bill C-14.


Julia Beazley, Director, Public Policy 
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada