The Council of Canadians with Disabilities and the Canadian Association for Community Living, in conjunction with many groups and advisors, have launched the Vulnerable Persons Standard as a way to protect Canadians who are vulnerable and that they not die an assisted death based on unresolved physical, psychological or social requirements or based on discrimination.
Link to the Vulnerable Persons Standard website.
The Vulnerable Persons Standard
The Vulnerable Persons Standard is a series of evidence-based safeguards intended to protect the lives of Canadians.
These safeguards will help to ensure that Canadians requesting assistance from physicians to end their life can do so without jeopardizing the lives of vulnerable persons who may be subject to coercion and abuse.
We are calling on all members of Parliament to ensure that federal legislation regulating physician-assisted death incorporate these safeguards.
Why is vulnerability important?
Vulnerable persons who request physician-assisted dying may be motivated by a range of factors unrelated to their medical condition or prognosis. These factors are important and can often be addressed with adequate and appropriate care. As a society, we have both moral and legal obligations to address the needs of vulnerable persons. Access to physician-assisted dying cannot be allowed to diminish or undermine these important obligations.
Unmet needs should not be a cause of death
Extensive research shows that a wide range of factors related to social, financial, psychological and spiritual suffering can lead patients to request physician-assisted death.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute describes such requests as “a sign that unmet needs have built to an intolerable level.”