Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights

House of Commons, Parliament of Canada (May, 2016)

Re: Bill C-14


Introduction

In February, 2015, in the case of Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the criminal prohibition of physician assisted suicide and physician administered euthanasia, but suspended the ruling for one year to give federal and provincial governments an opportunity to draft new laws that conform to the decision.  In January, 2016, the Court granted an extension of the suspension to 6 June, 2016.  In the interim, it allowed euthanasia to proceed in Quebec under provincial legislation in force there, and allowed individuals seeking physician assisted suicide or euthanasia elsewhere to apply to a superior court to obtain authorization.

A special joint committee of the Canadian House of Commons and Senate began work in January and produced a first report in the last week of February.  On 14 April, 2016, the Liberal government introduced Bill C-14 to implement the Carter decision.  The House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights was responsible for reviewing the bill, amending it if need be, and returning it to the House of Commons for third reading.

Five hearings were held from 2 to 5 May, during which witnesses made presentations.  The Commitee also solicited submissions from the public, and specifically solicited submissions from the Protection of Conscience Project and others, with a deadline of 2 May, 2016.

The Project’s submission met the deadline.  However, it was not distributed to Committee members before the Committee concluded its deliberations on 11 May.  It is likely that an unknown number of other briefs submitted by the public were also not distributed.

For details and links to Committee materials and presentations relevant to freedom of conscience, including extracts from briefs and edited videos with transcripts, visit the Project’s Standing Committee web page.

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