TORONTO, ON – Over 65 disability allied organizations throughout the country have signed an open letter to Attorney General, Minister David Lametti, urging an appeal of the September 11 decision of the  Quebec Superior Court in the case of Truchon and Gladu. 

The decision strikes down the reasonable foreseeability of natural death criterion, which requires that a person be at the end of their natural life before being able to qualify for assistance in dying. Those organizations  which have signed on the letter also all agree that the decision limits Parliament’s ability to pursue social targets like equality and inclusion, entrenches stereotypes and stigma for persons with disabilities, and threatens human rights. 

By offering medical assistance in dying without the end of life criterion and on the basis of disability, the government is defying Article 10 of the United Nations Charter on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and would be in violation of international law. 

The signees stress the importance of reaffirming Canada’s commitment to the criterion. Krista Carr, Executive Vice President of the Canadian Association for Community Living, states, “the equalizing effect of the end-of-life criterion ensures that there are no groups single out for unfettered access. Without it, disability-related suffering, which is largely the result of a lack of support in society, would justify ending a person’s life.”

Her remarks are echoed by Steven Estey, National Coordinator of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, “Canada must avoid sending a message that having a disability is a fate worse than death. Canadians with disabilities are already bombarded daily with reminders that we are unwelcome and under-valued. This letter demonstrates that the disability-rights perspective is not just a minority perspective. Many Canadians are aligned in seeking an appeal.” 

Disability rights leaders and champions across Canada urge Minister Lemetti to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court. The government’s commitment to upholding the inherent equality and value of all Canadians is at stake. 

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Marc Muschler, Senior Communications Officer, Canadian Association for Community Living. Ph: 416-661-9611 ext. 232 or Email: mmuschler@cacl.ca 

April D’Aubin, Research Analyst, CCD, Ph: 204-947-0303 or Email: april@ccdonline.ca 

The Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) is a national federation of 13 provincial-territorial associations and over 300 local associations working to advance the full inclusion and human rights of people with an intellectual disability and their families. CACL leads the way in building an inclusive Canada by strengthening families, defending rights, and transforming communities into places where everyone belongs.

CCD is a national human rights organization of people with disabilities working for an inclusive and accessible Canada. CCD champions the voices of people with disabilities, advocating an inclusive and accessible Canada, where people with disabilities have full realization of their human rights, as described in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.