Sample letter on conscience protection in Ontario
Hon. Dr. Eric Hoskins
Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
Hepburn Block 10th Floor
80 Grosvenor Street
Toronto, ON M7A 2C4
Dear Minister Hoskins,
I am very concerned about conscience protection for health care workers and for institutions in Ontario, in light of the new legislation on medical assistance in dying.
I urge you to find a way to accommodate the deeply-held beliefs of health care workers and facility staff. Freedom of conscience is a fundamental right under the Charter. No one should be compelled to participate directly or indirectly in the taking of a human life.
Providing a referral is, in effect, a doctor’s professional recommendation for a course of treatment. It facilitates the treatment that follows. Doctors who believe that assisted death is destructive to the patient must not be compelled to provide a referral against their conscience.
Similarly, long-term care facilities and seniors’ homes must not be compelled to allow medical assistance in dying on their premises, and their staff must not be compelled to facilitate it, against their strongly-held beliefs.
Other provinces and jurisdictions have found ways to both protect conscience rights and respect patient decisions. I urge you to consider alternatives that respect conscience rights in Ontario.