In Canada, the practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide is known as medical assistance in dying (MAID). It was legalized for those who are nearing death in 2016 and expanded to persons who weren’t dying but who had a disability or chronic illness in 2021. (More on the history of the law below.)
This is a crucial time to contact your MP. Canada is poised to make MAID available to those whose only underlying medical condition is mental illness, and a parliamentary committee has recommended it be available to minors.
These EFC resources can help you to take action on MAID. Please feel free to reproduce and distribute them to your friends, family and church network.
- Watch and share this EFC video, Social Support, Not MAID: A Crucial Time for the Church to Step Up, on why it’s time for individuals and churches to ask Canada to reverse course on MAID.
- Brochures on euthanasia/assisted suicide and what you can do:
- Sample letters to MPs asking for:
- Reversal of Track Two MAID for people with disabilities who aren’t dying (docx or pdf)
- Halt to euthanasia/assisted suicide for mental illness and support for Bill C-314
- Children and youth not to be eligible for euthanasia/assisted suicide (docx or pdf)
- One- or two-page summaries to provide more information that you could give to your MP (coming soon)
- Action Kit to Halt Expansion of MAID to Include Mental Illness Alone
- Declare and Resolve statement for use in churches
Please remember to pray for Canadians in vulnerable circumstances. Pray for churches to reach out and demonstrate the love of Christ in tangible ways. Please pray for our elected officials.
History of the MAID law
In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled physician-assisted dying could be allowed in certain circumstances. The EFC was an intervener in the Carter case, arguing for the sanctity of human life.
The federal government passed a law setting up medical assistance in dying (MAID) in 2016. This initial law restricted hastened death to people nearing the end of life, whose natural death was “reasonably foreseeable” in the wording of the law. The law also required that a person be 18 years of age or older, capable of consent, and have a serious and incurable illness or disability. The EFC argued against Bill C-14, out of concern for vulnerable Canadians and that the law would move Canadian society away from a presumption for life.
In 2021 the government removed critical safeguards from the law. The most significant change was that Bill C-7 allowed hastened death for people who were not dying. It also allowed euthanasia and assisted suicide for people suffering from mental illness alone, with a two-year delay before taking effect. The EFC opposed expanding the law and argued for the strictest possible safeguards.
MAID for mental illness has been delayed until March 2024. There are no additional safeguards in the legislation for people who are suffering solely from mental illness.
A parliamentary committee that studied euthanasia and assisted suicide has recommended removing the minimum age, so that it is available to minors who are deemed capable of making a decision for MAID. The committee also recommended allowing advance requests for euthanasia, which would mean that people could have their lives ended when they are no longer capable of consent. The EFC had strongly urged the committee not to expand euthanasia/assisted suicide further.