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Take Action on Conscience Rights

Call to Action

The EFC is partnering with the Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience in its Call for Conscience campaign in various provinces.

This campaign encourages residents to contact their provincial politicians to ask for strong conscience protection in current legislation.

More information

  • Provinces are developing policies for how they will process requests for assisted death under the new legislation. Most provinces outside of Ontario are finding ways to protect the conscience of healthcare workers.
  • Ontario has adopted a policy that doctors must provide effective referrals even for procedures that violate their deeply held beliefs. This means they must refer a patient seeking euthanasia or assisted suicide to a physician or nurse practitioner who is willing to help end the patient’s life. A court challenge of this policy has been launched by several doctors’ groups, including EFC-affiliate the Christian Medical and Dental Society. See the EFC’s letter to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario on the draft policy. The EFC will seek to intervene in this court challenge.
  • Ontario may also require long term care facilities to allow assisted death on their premises.
  • All Canadians can urge their MPP and Provincial Minister of Health to protect conscience and avoid or remove policies like those in Ontario. The EFC encourages Canadians to call or write your MPP today. The EFC is part of a group that is mobilizing Canadians in each province. Find sample letters for each province and more at www.canadiansforconscience.ca/provinces. You can also help raise awareness in your church or plan a meeting with your provincial government representative using materials from that website.
  • Manitoba: A bill in Manitoba (Bill 34) would protect healthcare professionals who do not wish to participate in euthanasia and assisted suicide because of their deeply held beliefs. Manitobans can contact their MLA and the Minister for Health, Seniors and Active Living to express support for conscience protection and Bill 34. See www.canadiansforconscience.ca/manitoba for a sample letter.
  • Ontario: The EFC submitted a brief to the Ontario Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs on March 30, 2017 calling for the addition of conscience protection to Bill 84. That bill has now been passed.
  • Federal: MP Mark Warawa has introduced at the federal level private member’s Bill C-268  to create an offence of coercion, in order to provide conscience protection for healthcare workers. See the EFC’s sample letter to support this bill.

Actions by the EFC

  • EFC President Bruce Clemenger joined other faith leaders in signing an open letter to Ontario MPPs on March 27, 2017.
  • The EFC submitted a brief to the Ontario Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs on March 30, 2017.
  • The EFC, the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario and the Christian Legal Fellowship filed legal arguments with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. They are supporting a legal challenge to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s requirement that doctors provide referrals or conduct procedures that violate their consciences. A constitutional challenge was launched by five doctors, Christian Medical Dental Society, and two other physicians’ groups. The case is scheduled to be heard in June, and the decision could be precedent-setting for how professional associations treat conscientious objection.
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