Ontario Liberals give doctors no choice but to refer patients for assisted death

Lifesite News

Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, April 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A Liberal-dominated committee has refused to add conscience rights protection to Ontario’s bill regulating euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The finance and economic affairs committee voted down Progressive Conservative health critic Jeff Yurek’s proposed conscience rights amendments to Bill 84 on Tuesday.

The Liberal move leaves conscientiously objecting doctors with no protection against a College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s policy forcing them to give patients requesting euthanasia an “effective referral” — that is, to a willing and accessible colleague for the purposes of accomplishing the act. . . [Full text]


Doctors being ‘bullied’ over assisted suicide, legislators told at Bill 84 hearings

The Catholic Register

Michael Swan

Doctors are being bullied, silenced and coerced in a pro-euthanasia environment which is forcing those who object to medically assisted suicide to provide an effective referral for patients who wish to die, provincial legislators were told during hearings into Bill 84.

Oncologist Dr. Ellen Warner told an all-party committee that physicians . . . are “being bullied” and are experiencing a “horrendous stress level.” She described colleagues who object to assisted suicide speaking in code and using alternative email addresses to discuss doctor-assisted death. . . Hamilton Dr. Jane Dobson held back tears as she described the pressure she’s faced since the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario ruled that doctors who have a moral, ethical or religious objection to assisted dying must nevertheless provide an “effective referral” for the procedure. . . [Full text]

Religious coalition backs doctors’ conscience rights battle at Queen’s Park

The Catholic Register

Register Staff

A coalition of Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders has sent an open letter to all 107 Ontario MPPs urging them to work together and “find a pathway that respects the rights of medical professionals, facilities and patients.”

The letter was sent March 27 as committee hearings were underway regarding Bill-84, which will regulate medically assisted dying in Ontario.

The coalition urges MPPs to amend the Bill to include conscience protection for doctors and other health-care workers who oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide, and to follow the Alberta model to create a “care coordination service” that provides patient access to assisted dying without requiring a direct doctor referral. . . .[Full text]


Open letter to all the Members of Provincial Parliament of Ontario on conscience rights

News Release

Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

An open letter has been sent to the members of Ontario’s Provincial Parliament by His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, together with a number of other religious leaders, asking the Government of Ontario to enshrine into law the protection of conscience rights for health-care practitioners in Ontario who refuse to participate in the administering of euthanasia. The open letter was released on 27 March 2017 with respect to provincial Bill 84 (Medical Assistance in Dying Statute Law Amendment Act). The Coalition of HealthCARE and Conscience have also developed a resource which explains the current problem with Ontario’s proposed euthanasia legislation and the lack of conscience protection rights.

The Ontario Government’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs held a public hearing on this matter this past 23 March. Cardinal Collins, the Most Reverend Ronald P. Fabbro, Bishop of London and President of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario, and Dr. Moira McQueen, Director of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, were present during the hearing and provided an oral presentation advocating for conscience rights. Several doctors and nurses were also present advocating for legislation to protect conscience rights.

The Archdiocese of Toronto released a video today of Cardinal Collins explaining the moral issues at hand in relation to conscience rights in Ontario and Bill 84.

Link to the resource by the Coalition of HealthCARE and
Conscience (PDF)

Cardinal urges Ontario gov’t not to ‘bully’ doctors into helping euthanize patients

Lifesite News

Pete Baklinski

TORONTO, March 24, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Doctors who refuse to kill a patient “need protection so that they can act according to their conscience,” Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, told the Ontario legislature on Thursday.

“It is sad that I and others need to come before you today to urge you to protect these devoted healers from the punishment which they face if they refuse either to administer a lethal injection to their patients or, in effective referral, to arrange for that injection to be administered,” he told Ontario’s Standing Committee on Finance & Economic Affairs. . . . [Full text]


Archdiocese launches conscience campaign to protect doctors

The Catholic Register

Evan Boudreau

As Catholic doctors and other conscientious objectors face discipline that could include losing their medical license, the Archdiocese of Toronto has launched an eight-week campaign to promote “robust conscience protection” for health care workers.

The initiative comes on the heels of the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide and, in Ontario, a refusal to allow doctors to totally opt out of the process. No doctor is required to end the life of a patient, but those who object to doctor-assisted killing are required to provide an “effective referral,” even when such referrals go against their religious and moral beliefs. . . . [Full text]


Canada Catholic head: ‘Unjust’ to force doctors on assisted suicide

The Gobe and Mail

Ethan Lou

TORONTO — Reuters.  The head of Canada’s biggest Catholic group opposed the country’s pending doctor-assisted suicide legislation in a statement to be read at 225 Toronto churches on Sunday, saying it was “unjust” to force doctors to act against their conscience.

“It is unjust to force people to act against their conscience in order to be allowed to practice as a physician,” Cardinal Thomas Collins, head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, said in the text of his statement.

Canada’s Supreme Court struck down a ban on assisted suicide in 2015 and gave lawmakers a year to come up with legislation to regulate the practice.

The newly elected Liberal government was given a four-month extension this year to a develop a national law for the practice, under which doctors opposed to assisted suicide have to recommend someone willing to perform it. . . [Full text]


Canada’s largest Catholic archdiocese mobilizing against assisted-dying law

The Globe and Mail

Affain Chowdhry

Canada’s largest Catholic archdiocese is mobilizing its members to pressure federal politicians tasked with shaping new doctor-assisted dying legislation by June to protect vulnerable groups and to exempt doctors, nurses and Catholic hospitals from having to provide those services because it goes against their religious beliefs.

Cardinal Thomas Collins, the Archbishop of Toronto, used a sermon on Sunday at St. Paul’s Basilica in downtown Toronto to argue that forcing Catholic doctors to refer patients to medically assisted dying services was a “violation of conscience” and amounted to religious discrimination. . . [Full text]


Cardinal Collins Presses for Protection of Conscience and the Vulnerable as Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide Legislation Prepared

Canadians coast to coast encouraged to take action

News Release

Archdiocese of Toronto

TORONTO (March 2, 2016) As legislation is prepared to legalize euthanasia/assisted suicide in Canada, the Archbishop of Toronto is calling on the federal government to protect the vulnerable and those who care for them. In a statement released Wednesday, Cardinal Thomas Collins expressed shock at federal joint committee recommendations that would force health care workers and institutions to offer or refer assisted death:

“Physicians across our country who have devoted their lives to healing patients will soon be asked to do the exact opposite. They will not be asked to ease their suffering by providing them with treatment and loving care, but by putting them to death.”

The archbishop highlighted other committee recommendations that would profoundly impact the vulnerable, including:

• A desire to allow, in three years from now, access to euthanasia/assisted suicide for minors (those under 18).

• The ability for those suffering from conditions like dementia to pre-schedule the date of their death.

• Insistence that those with psychiatric conditions be eligible for euthanasia/assisted suicide.

Cardinal Collins stated: “Once we make people’s worthiness to live dependent on how well they function, our society has crossed the boundary into dangerous territory in which people are treated as objects that can be discarded as useless.”

The archbishop has invited all those who share his concerns to visit CanadiansforConscience.ca and join the Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience. The coalition includes more than 5,000 Canadian doctors with a common mission to respect the sanctity of human life.

CanadiansforConscience.ca portal provides numerous resources, including an opportunity for people to easily share their concerns directly with their local member of parliament.

Cardinal Collins’ statement will be read or shown by video this weekend in more than 200 Catholic churches across the Archdiocese of Toronto. –

On Sunday, March 6, 2016, Cardinal Collins will deliver his statement at St. Paul’s Basilica at the 11 a.m. Mass. He will meet with the media following Mass.

Media Contacts:

Neil MacCarthy, Director, Public Relations & Communications,
Archdiocese of Toronto (416) 934-3400 x 552, neilm@archtoronto.org
(416) 879-2846 (cell) www.archtoronto.org

Bill Steinburg, Communications Manager
(416) 934-3400 x 558,
(416) 708-9655 (cell)