A critique of Canadian Senate Bill S - 225 - An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (physician-assisted death)

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Alex Schadenberg

Alex Schadenberg

Senate Bill S - 225 is designed to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide by amending Section 14 and Section 251 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) opposes the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide for several reasons including the fact that legalizing physician-assisted death gives physicians, in law, the ultimate power to cause or assist the death of their patients. When abused, the result is the death of a vulnerable Canadian.

EPC supports measures to improve: disability rights, pain and symptom management and suicide prevention.

The bill was originally written by Stephen Fletcher MP for his own potential death, and thus it is written for a person who is not terminally ill, who requires a wide application for euthanasia and assisted suicide.

  • The bill specifically allows euthanasia and assisted suicide for people with disabilities. 
  • The bill is not limited to terminal illness. 
  • The bill allows euthanasia or assisted suicide for "psychological suffering," which is not defined.
  • The bill requires physicians to self report the death after it has occurred. This assumes that physicians will self-report abuse of the law and it does not provide protection for the patient. 

Bill S-225 is particularly concerning because it specifically focuses on intentionally causing the death of people with disabilities who already lack equality and acceptance within Canadian culture.

Our concerns related to the conditions in Bill S-225 are:

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