February 23, 2021

National Association of Catholic Nurses-Canada
P.O. Box 19525, 55 Bloor St. West, Toronto ON M4W 3T9

Hon. David Lametti, Minster of Justice and Attorney General of Canada,
House of Commons, Ottawa ON K1A 0A6


Dear Mr. Lametti,

The principles of co-design invite patient and family participation in planning health care services. I am writing today to urge you to adopt the principles of co-design regarding the senate amendments to Bill C-7 that you propose to discuss in the House of Commons today.

Many people with disabilities and health care professionals who serve them made eloquent presentations in the senate, representing Canadians’ attempts at co-design. Unfortunately, most senators ignored their input. It appears their amendments appeal to your government.

In section 3.1 (1) of today’s motion respecting Bill C-7, you propose a review of “recommended protocols, guidance, and safeguards to apply to requests made for medical assistance in dying by persons who have a mental illness.” Like the electronic poll which served as “consultation” in early 2020 on the expansion of MAiD, discussion is allowed only within your restricted agenda to expand the reach of medically administered death. This is not co-design. Senators heard that people with mental illness will experience unnecessary premature deaths due to the expansion of MAiD. Yet, many senators did not really hear this message. Nor did you.

In section 5 (1) of today’s motion, you propose a review of Medical Assistance in Dying provisions related to mature minors, advance requests, the state of palliative care and the protection of Canadians with disabilities. These vulnerable groups were protected by “safeguards” in the Carter decision. Their vulnerability has not changed, in part because our health care and social systems do not adequately fund options that respect their dignity.

We urge your government to drop Bill C-7 because it is so fundamentally flawed. Perhaps its flaws reflect your government’s failure take Canadians’ strongly held views into account, in the spirit of co-design.

Helen McGee, MN CPMHNC
President, National Association of Catholic Nurses