Protection of Conscience Project
Protection of Conscience Project
Service, not Servitude

Service, not Servitude

Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights
House of Commons, Parliament of Canada (May, 2016)

Re: Bill C-14


Parliament Hill


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. 

The Commitee solicited submissions from the public, and specifically solicited submissions from the Protection of Conscience Project and others, with a deadline of 2 May, 2016.

Approximately 225 to 240 briefs were received by the Committee, but only about 100 had been distributed to Committee members by the time the Committee concluded its deliberations on 11 May.  The reason for this is that Committee rules required translation of briefs into both French and English before distribution. (Actual statistics will not be available until after all briefs have been translated and posted.)

Thus, while the Project's submission met the deadline, like most briefs submitted to the Committee, it was not distributed to Committee members before the Committee concluded its deliberations.


Committee proceedings have not been transcribed verbatim.  On important points, transcripts on parliamentary web pages should be checked against the video to ensure accuracy. Edited Video Transcript transcripts provided here have been checked against the Edited Video Transcripts.

French language materials

French language videos and transcripts can be found by using the links below to access the parliamentary English language page, and then clicking on the French language icon or link at the upper right corner of the parliamentary page.

List of Meetings

Groups and individuals were heard during five Committee meetings, listed below.  Follow the links to the outlines of each meeting, which include:

  • Meeting number and date
  • Links to full videos and transcripts of the meeting
  • Witness list
  • Links to videos edited to show exchanges relevant to freedom of conscience
    • Links to transcripts for Edited Video Transcripts [Edited Video Transcript Transcript]
  • Links to briefs submitted by the groups/individuals
    • Links to extracts from group/individual briefs relevant to freedom of conscience (Brief Extracts)

Meeting No. 10: 2 May, 2016

Meeting No. 11: 3 May, 2016

Meeting No. 12: 3 May, 2016

Meeting No. 13: 4 May, 2016

Meeting No. 14: 5 May, 2016

List of Briefs and oral submissions

Links to the full briefs are provided below.  Click on (Brief Extract) to see extracts of briefs relevant to freedom of conscience.  Click on (Edited Video Transcript Transcript) to see what was said relevant to freedom of conscience during oral submissions.

Bold face identifies groups or individuals who appeared as witnesses.  Note that some witnesses may not have provided written briefs.

»identifies briefs circulated to Committee members before the Committee began clause-by-clause review and amendment of the Bill on 9 May.

»identifies briefs circulated to Committee members after the Committee began clause-by-clause review and amendment of the Bill on 9 May.

Other briefs were not circulated before the Committee concluded its deliberations.

  1. »Agger, Ellen
  2. »Alakija, Pauline et al
  3. Alliance for Life Ontario
  4. Alliance of People with Disabilities Who Are Supportive of Assisted Dying Society
  5. Alsmo, Lola (Brief Extract)
  6. »ARCH Disability Law Centre
  7. »Armour-Godbolt, Shelagh (Brief Extract)
  8. Arvay, Joseph  (Edited Video Transcript)
  9. »Association for Reformed Political Action (Brief Extract)
  10. »Azevedo, James & Tracy (Brief Extract)
  11. Baker, David
  12. »Barreau du Québec (Edited Video Transcript)
  13. Basnett, Richard and Wendy (Brief Extract)
  14. Bauslaugh, Gary
  15. Beddoe, Mark and Nancy (Brief Extract)
  16. Bergen, Theresa (Brief Extract)
  17. »Berger, Dr. Philip et al (Brief Extract)
  18. Birenbaum, Shelley (Brief Extract)
  19. Boer, Theo (Edited Video Transcript)
  20. »Boisvert, Dr. Marcel
  21. »Bourassa, Carrie
  22. Bradshaw, Edith (Brief Extract)
  23. »Brandes, Barbara and Carl
  24. British Columbia Civil Liberties Association
  25. »British Columbia Humanist Association (Brief Extract)
  26. »Brooks, Jeffrey (Brief Extract)
  27. Bureau, Yvon
  28. »Burrell, Althea; Santoro, Daniel (Brief Extract)
  29. »Canadian Association for Community Living (Edited Video Transcript)
  30. Canadian Association of Advanced Practice Nurses
  31. Canadian Association of Retired Persons
  32. »Canadian Association of Social Workers
  33. Canadian Civil Liberties Association
  34. »Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops  (Brief Extract)
  35. Canadian Council of Christian Charities (Brief Extract)
  36. Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers
  37. Canadian Council of Imams (Edited Video Transcript)
  38. Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians' Societies (Brief Extract)
  39. »Canadian Medical Association (Brief Extract) (Edited Video Transcript)
  40. »Canadian Medical Protective Association (Brief Extract) (Edited Video Transcript)
  41. Canadian Nurses Association (Edited Video Transcript)
  42. »Canadian Nurses Protective Society
  43. Canadian Pharmacists Association (Edited Video Transcript)
  44. »Canadian Psychiatric Association
  45. »Canadian Psychological Association
  46. »Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians (Edited Video Transcript)
  47. Carter, Dana
  48. Castagna, Dr. Luigi A. (Brief Extract)
  49. Catholic Civil Rights League (Brief Extract)
  50. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  51. Centre for Inquiry Canada
  52. Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (Brief Extract) (Edited Video Transcript)
  53. »Charland, Louis C.
  54. »Chester, Barbara
  55. »Chochinov, Harvey Max
  56. »Christian Heritage Party of Canada
  57. Christian Legal Fellowship (Brief Extract) (Edited Video Transcript)
  58. Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue (Brief Extract)
  59. »Chun, Hye Jung (Brief Extract)
  60. »Clark, Carol
  61. Cleary, Beatrice (Brief Extract)
  62. »Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience (Brief Extract)
  63. »Cochien, Dr. Eileen (Brief Extract)
  64. Coffey, Kyle (Brief Extract)
  65. »Coffey Lewis, Galina
  66. College of Family Physicians of Canada (Edited Video Transcript)
  67. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (Brief Extract)
  68. »Communication Disabilities Access Canada
  69. »Congress of Union Retirees of Canada - Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville Chapter (Brief Extract)
  70. Consortium national de formation en santé and Société Santé en français
  71. Cottle, Dr. Margaret M. (Brief Extract)
  72. Council of Canadians with Disabilities
  73. Cserti- Gazdewich, Christine
  74. Debono, Victor
  75. »De Koninck, Angela (Brief Extract)
  76. Dembo, Dr. Justine
  77. Department of Health
  78. Department of Justice (Edited Video Transcript)
  79. »D'Silva, Melanie (Brief Extract)
  80. »Desjardins, Susan
  81. De Veber, Barrie and Zeni, Paul (Brief Extract)
  82. De Verber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research (Brief Extract)
  83. DisAbled Women's Network of Canada
  84. »Donauer, Andrew (Brief Extract)
  85. »Downar, James
  86. »Downie, Jocelyn (Edited Video Transcript)
  87. »Dubland, Dr. Ed
  88. Dumont, Onil and Gagnon, Jocelyne
  89. Dying With Dignity Canada
  90. Dying with Dignity Canada's Disability Advisory Council (Brief Extract)
  91. »Dying With Dignity Canada, Nova Scotia Chapter
  92. Echlin, Jean and Pritchard, Jane (Brief Extract)
  93. »End of Life Planning Canada
  94. »Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
  95. Evangelical Fellowship of Canada  (Brief Extract) (Edited Video Transcript)
  96. Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada(Brief Extract)
  97. Fenton, Dr. W. James (Brief Extract)
  98. »Ferrier, Catherine
  99. »Fetherston, Ann
  100. Field, Jane
  101. Findlay, John and Margaret McCarthy (Brief Extract)
  102. »Fine, Adrian
  103. Fletcher, Steven (Edited Video Transcript)
  104. Ford, Jill (Brief Extract)
  105. »Forsey, Helen
  106. Frazee, Catherine
  107. »Friesen, Gordon (Brief Extract)
  108. »Gagnon, Glen
  109. Gauthier, Stephanie(Brief Extract)
  110. »Gibson, Jennifer
  111. Goldfinger, Eva (Brief Extract)
  112. »Goligher, Dr. Ewan C. (Brief Extract)
  113. »Gugliotta, Donato (Brief Extract)
  114. Guichon, Juliet
  115. Guzik, Pauline (Brief Extract)
  116. »Hammond, Katherine
  117. Hansen, Nancy
  118. »Harding, Dr. Sheila (Brief Extract)
  119. »HealthCareCAN (Brief Extract)
  120. Hein, Rebeccaecca (Brief Extract)
  121. Hein, Saraharah (Brief Extract)
  122. Hein, Stephanie (Brief Extract)
  123. Heineman, Rachel (Brief Extract)
  124. »Hilts, Cecile (Brief Extract)
  125. »Hogan, Marcia (Brief Extract)
  126. Hudson, Felicity and Keithith (Brief Extract)
  127. »Hughson, Sue (Brief Extract)
  128. Jarrett, Lindaa
  129. »Johnston, Dr. Will (Edited Video Transcript)
  130. »Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (Brief Extract) (Edited Video Transcript)
  131. Justice for Children and Youth
  132. Keyes, Chris (Brief Extract)
  133. »Knight, Gary D.
  134. »Koch, Tom
  135. Krawczynski, Joanna (Brief Extract)
  136. Laferrier, Audrey Jane
  137. »Lagman, Minette (Brief Extract)
  138. »Lansing, Dr. Davina (Brief Extract)
  139. Lee, Peter (Brief Extract)
  140. Legree, Janice (Brief Extract)
  141. »Leiva, Dr. Rene (Brief Extract)
  142. »Lemmens,Trudo
  143. Lepp, Joanne and Richard (Brief Extract)
  144. Levy, Karen (Brief Extract)
  145. »Leworthy, James G.
  146. »LifeCanada
  147. Living With Dignity (Edited Video Transcript)
  148. »Longworth, Isaac (Brief Extract)
  149. MacDonald, Deanna
  150. Mahoney, James (Brief Extract)
  151. Malcho, Xuanyun (Brief Extract)
  152. »Maljaars, Dave
  153. Maloney, Barbara (Brief Extract)
  154. »Maloney, Patricia (Brief Extract)
  155. Marcelino, Sheilah (Brief Extract)
  156. »Mark, Kevin J. (Brief Extract)
  157. Mason, Melody
  158. McGee, Helen (Brief Extract)
  159. »McGill, Linda (Brief Extract)
  160. »McPhee, Margaret
  161. »McQuiston, Terence
  162. »Meglarejo, Marie (Brief Extract)
  163. Mental Health Commission of Canada
  164. »Mills, Penny
  165. Mitchell, Dr. Ian
  166. National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (Brief Extract)
  167. Nicholas, Graydon (Brief Extract) (Edited Video Transcript)
  168. »Ninan, Abraham (Brief Extract)
  169. »Norris, Jim
  170. O'Brien, Lynne
  171. Ontario Nurses' Association
  172. Oudshoorn, Chris and Fran (Brief Extract)
  173. Pauling, Wendy
  174. »Pede, Maria
  175. Peterson, Ron and Tilby, Penny
  176. »Physicians' Alliance Against Euthanasia (Brief Extract) (Edited Video Transcript)
  177. »Phelps, Laura
  178. »Phillips, Jo-Anne (Brief Extract)
  179. Philpott, Jane (Minister of Health) (Edited Video Transcript)
  180. »Pickup, Mark Davis (Brief Extract)
  181. »Pilon, Dr. Liette (Brief Extract)
  182. Pitzel, Bert (Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina) (Brief Extract)
  183. »Pothier, Dianne (Edited Video Transcript)
  184. Powell, Barbara (Brief Extract)
  185. Priddle, John
  186. Protection of Conscience Project
  187. »Quebec Association for the Right to Die with Dignity (Edited Video Transcript)
  188. Raes, Gerard (Brief Extract)
  189. Riendeau, Mary (Brief Extract)
  190. »REAL Women of Canada (Brief Extract)
  191. »Reid, Pam
  192. »Reimer, Lorraine (Brief Extract)
  193. »Reggler, Dr. Jonathon (Brief Extract)
  194. »Remmers, Patricia B.
  195. »Right to Die Society of Canada (Brief Extract)
  196. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver (Brief Extract)
  197. »Saba, Paul (Brief Extract)
  198. Salvation Army (Brief Extract)
  199. Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association (Brief Extract)
  200. Schratz, Paul (Brief Extract)
  201. »Schuck, Lena (Brief Extract)
  202. »Schuklenk, Udo
  203. Secco, Bernadette
  204. Secular Connexion Séculière
  205. Shariff, Mary J. (Brief Extract)
  206. Smith, Derryck
  207. »Snell, Jennifer (Brief Extract)
  208. Somerville, Margaret (Brief Extract)
  209. Soubolsky, Amy (Brief Extract)
  210. »Spencer, Maureen
  211. Spencer, Richard (Brief Extract)
  212. Spiess, Gary W. (Brief Extract)
  213. Squires, Collette (Brief Extract)
  214. St. Catherine's Right to Life (Brief Extract)
  215. »Sullivan, William
  216. »Sumner, Wayne
  217. »Svec, Katherine Meaney
  218. »Taylor, Elaine (Brief Extract)
  219. »Taylor, Maureen
  220. The Wilberforce Project (Brief Extract)
  221. Thorpe, Kim (Brief Extract)
  222. Tokaruk, Carole (Brief Extract)
  223. »Toronto Board of Rabbis  (Brief Extract)
  224. »Toth, Kathleen & Mark  (Brief Extract)
  225. Towler, Christi (Brief Extract)
  226. Treviranus, Jutta
  227. UNICEF Canada
  228. »Van Bommel, Harry
  229. van Brugge, Melanie (Brief Extract)
  230. Vanderhorst, Hendrik (Brief Extract)
  231. van Staveren, Winston (Brief Extract)
  232. »Walji, Wendy  (Brief Extract)
  233. »Wili, Sigrid (Brief Extract)
  234. Wilson-Raybould, Jody (Edited Video Transcript)
  235. »Winkel, David and Lydia (Brief Extract)
  236. Wright, Pam (Brief Extract)
  237. »Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care (Brief Extract)
  238. Yoshida, Karen K.
  239. Zyla, Lloyd