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EVP Michael Bach Appears Before Special Joint Committee Looking into Physician-Assisted Dying

CACL had the opportunity to bring its perspective and the views of many people with an intellectual disability before the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying last Thursday, February 4th 2016. Executive Vice-President Michael Bach was asked to appear before the Committee as one of four panellists on a panel of witnesses.

The Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying was appointed by the Government of Canada on December 11, 2015, to “review the report of the External Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v. Canada and other recent relevant consultation activities and studies, to consult with Canadians, experts and stakeholders, and make recommendations on the framework of a federal response on physician-assisted dying that respects the Constitution, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the priorities of Canadians”.

As part of his opening statement, Bach emphasized the need for safeguards to protect vulnerable people from potential abuse under a new system for physician-assisted dying. He expressed his concern that people with a disability may wish to end their lives due to issues unrelated to a terminal illness, such as a lack of supports and healthcare, coercion, abuse or poverty. 

To read Michael Bach’s speaking notes to the Committee, click here.

To read CACL’s submission to the Committee, click here.

Readers can view the full hearing by clicking here. Bach's opening statement begins at the 19:21:10 mark.