Physician Assisted Death: Alberta Health Consultation March 31 Deadline & Vulnerable Persons Standards
Inclusion Alberta encourages everyone with an interest in protecting children and adults with developmental disabilities from the potential mis-uses and mis-application of physician assisted death to complete the Alberta Health survey and to communicate with your Federal MP. While only a continuing ban on physician assisted death would ultimately protect vulnerable individuals, the Supreme Court has ruled that physician assisted death is no longer a criminal offence and must be made available to Canadians. In light of this the Federal government is developing new laws to govern physician assisted death and each province and territory are considering the processes under which each will provide access to physician assisted death.
The Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) have developed a Vulnerable Persons Standard with the contribution of approximately 40 advisors in medicine, law, public policy, ethics and advocacy for people with disabilities. Inclusion Alberta has endorsed, along with many other provincial and national associations, the Vulnerable Persons Standards.
1) We are asking you to consider supporting the Vulnerable Persons Standards (VPS) and to communicate your support for the Federal government and Alberta Health to adopt the Vulnerable Persons Standards. You can learn more at http://www.vps-npv.ca where you can also indicate your support for VPS, find a sample of a letter you can send to your MP and a list of MPs and Senators, and follow updates with respect to VPS.
2) Alberta Health is also seeking the input of Albertans on how physician assisted death should be provided in Alberta. The survey can be completed by going to http://www.health.alberta.ca/initiatives/physician-assisted-death.html It takes very little time to complete the survey.
While there are many divided opinions and thoughts on who should be provided access to physician assisted death, under what circumstances and how, the Supreme Court ruled that safeguards must be be put into place to ensure vulnerable Canadians are protected. Protected from coercion or undue influence or by virtue of being marginalized by a society that too often devalues them or fails to ensures the provision of sufficient supports and funding.
For those who share this perspective we suggest selecting the most conservative answers to each of the survey questions, where appropriate. Both questions 7 and 12 provide opportunities for you to add your own thoughts. It is here that you can recommend to the Alberta government that they adopt the Vulnerable Persons Standards and noting that the VPS is an example of additional safeguards the government can apply.
We understand physician assisted death is a controversial matter with many different points of view. At the very least we would hope there is greater commonality in wanting to ensure appropriate and necessary safeguards are in place with respect to individuals with developmental disabilities. Further, that to do so, there must be a right to needed funding and supports to ensure a valued and meaningful life in community.
Bruce Uditsky, M.Ed.,
Chief Executive Officer