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Protection of Conscience Project

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Service, not Servitude
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House of Commons

Bill C-461 (1998); C-207 (1999); C-422 (1999); C-246 (2001); C-246 (2002)

 Maurice Vellacott, M.P.

Introduction
Bill C-461 (1998) was a copy of Senator Haidasz's Bill S-7 that had been introduced in the Senate the previous year. C-461 passed first reading in the House of Commons and secured the 100 signatures necessary for second reading. It was re-introduced in October, 1999 as Bill C-207, but denied a vote in the Commons by the decision of a parliamentary sub-committee the following month. It was re-introduced as Bill C-422, but died on the order paper when Parliament was dissolved for the Canadian federal election in 2000. On February 2nd, 2001, Mr. Vellacot again brought the bill forward as C-246 in the 1st session of the new parliament, and reintroduced it to the second session on 30 October, 2002. The most recent version of the proposal is Bill C-537. [Administrator]

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

1. The Criminal Code is amended by adding the following after section 425:

425.1(1) Every one is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction who, being an employer or the agent of an employer,

a) refuses to employ a health care practitioner,

b) refuses to advance or promote a qualified health care practitioner, or

c) dismisses, or threatens to dismiss, a health care practitioner from employment

because the health care practitioner is, or is believed to be, unwilling to take part in or counsel for any medical procedure, that offends a tenet of the practitioner's religion, or the belief of the practitioner that human life is inviolable.

(2) Every one is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction who, being an educator or the agent of an educator in any field of health care in Canada,

a) refuses to admit any person to courses in a field of health care, or

b) refuses to grant accreditation in a field of health care to any person

because the person is, or is believed to be, unwilling to take part in or counsel for any medical procedure that offends a tenet of the person's religion or the belief of the person that human life is inviolable.

(3) Every one is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction who, being an officer of a professional association of health care practitioners, or the agent of any such officer,

a) refuses to admit a person to membership in the professional association,

b) refuses to advance or promote the standing of a person as member of the professional association,

c) excludes a person from, or threatens to exclude a person from, the professional association,

because the person is, or is believed to be unwilling to take part in or counsel for any medical procedure, that offends a tenet of the person's religion or the belief of the person that human life is inviolable.

(4) The following definitions apply in this section.

"educator" includes a university or college,

"health care practitioner" means any person who may lawfully provide to others

a) as a physician, surgeon, dentist, nurse or other skilled health care provider, or

b) as a person engaged in the provision of medical, dental, hospital, clinical, nursing or other health care services under the direction of a skilled health care provider or a clinic, hospital, accrediting body or government ministry, or

c) as a teacher, professor, instructor or other person providing teaching services in any field of health care.

"human life" means human life at any stage beginning at conception

"professional association" means any professional accreditation body, other than a university or college, and includes any association of health care practitioners and any trade union of health care practitioners;

"tenet" means a religious doctrine that human life is inviolable or an edict of a religion that requires that human life not be deliberately ended or that human life not be subjected to any increased risk of death when the subjection to increased risk is avoidable.

(5) No proceedings shall be commenced under this section without the consent of the Attorney General.

2. This Act comes into force 90 days after the day it is assented to.

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