Two Assisted Dying Court Cases

by | June 15, 2017

There are two assisted dying court cases working through the courts. They are both trying to pull the assisted dying in separate directions.

Quebec Challenge

On the one hand, you have people who want to have full control over their own lives. Two Quebeckers say the law is too restrictive, and they are worried:

The two plaintiffs — Jean Truchon, 49, and Nicole Gladu, 71 — say the restrictive eligibility criteria of both laws violate their Charter rights.


Alongside their lawyer, Jean-Pierre Ménard, the two plaintiffs explained at a news conference that they both suffer from serious and incurable health conditions that cause enduring and intolerable suffering. Their medical conditions, they stated, would render them eligible to access medical assistance in dying (MAID) put forward in the 2015 Supreme Court decision in Carter v. Canada.

According to what the Supreme Court said, they should be eligible for assisted dying. But that’s not what the law says. They are using the courts to show that the law violates the previous ruling.

Ontario Referral Challenge

In Ontario, the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada is challenging the requirement to refer patients. Referrals happen when your physicians doesn’t want to help you with your end of life care. In Ontario physicians must refer you. But some are objecting to this rule. Dying with Dignity will be in court as interveners to help oppose this court action:

The plaintiffs in the case will be delivering their arguments [Tuesday, June 13], while the CPSO is expected to make its case [Wednesday/Thursday June 14/15]. DWDC’s legal counsel will present oral arguments on Thursday [Today], either mid-morning or in the early afternoon. (You can download our written submission in the case by clicking here.)

In this case the issue is the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario policy. The Christian society says the rule violates their rights, including freedom of conscience.

There are many antiquated and irrational arguments against assisted dying. But these should not outweigh our compassion to people in pain and distress. We can do this while still giving people who don’t want to use this service peace of mind that they are safe. I think the conservative Christian perspective has dominated our discussion of this topic for too long. The Christian view of objective morality is one of the few perspectives that could lead one to think a referral is violating one’s rights. Follow the Dying with Dignity blog to stay up to date on these topics.

3 thoughts on “Two Assisted Dying Court Cases

  1. Bubba Kincaid

    There is also the responsibility to make sure these type of laws are not abused. Very large responsibility. So much so that really discussions of them should come with built in disclaimers.

    We cannot rely on intuitions of objective moral goodness in the human psyche which will automatically prevent people from abusing these laws.

    There is too much monetary incentive involved for coercion to be overlooked.


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