Today, an Ontario court sent Canadian patients a crucial message: your rights come first.
In a decision that will have far-reaching impacts for access across the country, three judges on Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice upheld a policy that requires Ontario doctors who oppose assisted dying to connect patients who request it to a provider or agency who can help. Led by the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada, a coalition of assisted dying opponents had challenged the policy in court.
- Related: Ruling in Ontario assisted dying case ‘a victory for patients’ rights’
- Defend your choice: Donate to Dying With Dignity Canada today!
As interveners in the case, Dying With Dignity Canada presented oral arguments in court last June on why the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s effective referral policy must be upheld. Our focus was on the rights of the sick and suffering patients who would be forced to navigate a confusing healthcare system on their own if their doctor refused to connect them with a provider or agency who was willing to handle their request.
As it turned out, the judges would echo our concerns in their decision.
“The evidence in the record establishes a real risk of a deprivation of equitable access to health care, particularly on the part of the more vulnerable members of our society, in absence of the effective referral requirements of the policy,” wrote Justice Herman J. Wilton-Siegel in the unanimous decision.
Today’s ruling is a tremendous win, but that doesn’t mean we can afford to let up. Your donation today will allow us to ensure that Wednesday’s decision is respected and upheld. In addition, your support empowers us to expose and bridge gaps to assisted dying access in our healthcare system — not in any one province but across Canada.
While we are overjoyed by the judges’ patient-centred decision, we know that it is already under attack. We expect that the plaintiffs will declare their plans to appeal any day now. If an appeal goes ahead, we can assure you that DWDC will be there to defend your rights. With your ongoing support, we are confident that justice will prevail once again.
CEO, Dying With Dignity Canada