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
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 transcripts
provided here have been checked against the edited videos.
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
Groups and individuals were heard during five Committee meetings, which are
listed and outlined below. The outline of each meeting includes:
Links to the full briefs are provided below. Click on
(Brief +) to see extracts of briefs relevant to
freedom of conscience. Click on (EV Transcript)
to see what was said relevant to freedom of conscience during oral
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.