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Take Action on MAiD

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 expandedin 2021 to people who weren’t dying but who had a disability or chronic illness. (More on that history below.)

Action on MAiD for mental illness

Until late February 2024, Canada was poised to make MAiD available to those whose only underlying medical condition is mental illness. But thankfully after much outcry, a bill to delay MAiD for mental illness until 2027 became law on Feb. 29. This bill also requires a parliamentary committee to review the eligibility of those whose sole medical condition is mental illness to receive MAiD.

The work is not finished, but we are thankful Bill C-62 has passed. Thank you to all who prayed, contacted your MPs, and encouraged your network to engage. While this is not the complete stop we believe should happen, this delay means people in vulnerable moments will be better protected for longer and slows the rapid expansion of MAiD.

The following EFC resources can help you to take action on MAID. We will be updating many items shortly to refocus on the 2027 deadline for MAiD for mental illness. We continue to monitor possible results from a parliamentary committee recommendation that MAiD be made available to minors. Please feel free to reproduce and distribute these materials to your friends, family and church network.

Before It's Too Late: Church Action Kit on MAiD for Mental Illness

  1. Watch and share this captioned video: MAiD for Mental Health Fall 2023 - A Crucial Moment to Speak Up (10 min, Oct. 26, 2023, or see the YouTube version)
  2. Wording suggestion for verbal announcement text (.docx)
  3. Two-pages of quotes and expert comments (sharable, without organizational identification) (.pdf)
  4. Colour brochure (sharable, includes EFC logos, etc.)
    1. downloadable pdf
    2. request print copies
    3. version française (.pdf)
  5. Bookmark-sized prayer card (.pdf)
  6. Slides
    1. Before it's too late - Pray - Write - Call - Reach out (.png)
    2. Four prayer points (.png)
  7. Click here to order postcards
  8. Talking points summarizing concerns (.pdf, .docx)
  9. MAiD for mental illness law timeline graphic
    1. downloadable pdf
    2. version française (.pdf)
  10. Petition you can use to collect 25 signatures minimum and submit to your MP who will then submit to the House of Commons (pdf)

Other resources and actions

  1. Sample letters to MPs asking for:
    1. Halt to euthanasia/assisted suicide for mental illness (Bill C-314 was voted down Oct. 18, 2023, but you can still adapt the wording)
    2. Reversal of Track Two MAiD for people with disabilities who aren’t dying (docx or pdf)
    3. Children and youth not to be eligible for euthanasia/assisted suicide (docx or pdf)
  2. Declare and Resolve statement for use in churches. A great document to discuss and if desired to formally affirm as a congregation.
  3. Brochures on euthanasia/assisted suicide and what you can do:
    1. MAID for mental illness (version française)
    2. MAID for youth / mature minors (version française)
    3. advance requests (coming soon)
    4. people with disabilities and ableism (coming soon)
  4. Watch and share earlier EFC videos
    1. Why Canada should reverse our law that will allow MAID for mental illness (3 min, Sept. 20, 2023, or see the YouTube version)
    2. 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 (6 min, Feb. 2023).
  5. Action Kit to Halt Expansion of MAID to Include Mental Illness Alone (pdf from Feb. 2023)

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.