June 15, 2012
Farewell Foundation Pleased by Reasons in Carter v. Canada
The BC Supreme Court has declared the absolute prohibition against assistance with suicide to be constitutionally invalid. In a 395-page decision, Madam Justice Smith gives the federal government 12 months to fashion a new law that allows assistance with suicide, subject to protecting the vulnerable from coercion and undue influence.
During the 12-month period and pending appeal, Gloria Taylor and any other person can apply for a constitutional exemption to receive lethal medication from a physician to end his or her life. The applicant must meet certain conditions, including requirements that he or she make a written request, be terminally ill and near death, of sound mind, and fully informed of treatment options such as palliative care.
The Farewell Foundation will assist any of its members who wish to apply for a constitutional exemption under the conditions set out by Madam Justice Smith. We also intend to apply to intervene in any appeal of the Carter decision. The Farewell Foundation will also offer its assistance to the federal government to help draft appropriate safeguards to ensure that assistance is voluntary, informed and free from coercion.
Farewell Foundation believes that the Carter decision is an important step in advancing the Foundation’s objective of achieving the option of humane self-chosen death for its members.