April 10th, 2018
Respected Family Advocate Argues for Robust MAiD Monitoring

In a new blog published today in the special series " Why Monitoring Matters", VPS Advisor Donna Thomson lays out a compelling argument for MAiD monitoring at levels adequate to protect the lives and well-being of people with disabilities and their families.

Thomson's essay, titled " Lives Too Easily Written Off", reflects upon the dangers of a public imagination captivated by fears about disability and dependence. Drawing from her own experience as a mother and caregiver, Thomson alerts us to the ways in which patients like her own son can be "written off" as "not worth treating", especially in moments of medical extremity. 

Against a social backdrop of austerity and bottom-line, cost-benefit calculations, Thomson reminds us of the critical role that monitoring plays in the Canadian MAiD ecology: 

"The need is urgent for a national monitoring system that will give Canadians confidence that we are not creeping toward increased reliance on MAiD in response to shrinking health and home care budgets." 

" Lives Too Easily Written Off" is the most recent instalment in a series of essays exploring the question of " Why Monitoring Matters". Work currently underway under the guidance of Canada's Minister of Health will soon finalize the terms and conditions by which the practice of MAiD will be reported, monitored, studied and evaluated for years to come. Supporters of the Vulnerable Persons Standard consider this process to be of utmost priority to meaningfully safeguard the lives and dignity of persons in vulnerable circumstances.

VPS supporters are encouraged to write directly to the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health and explain why comprehensive MAiD monitoring is of great importance to you. The following resources are available to assist you:

  • There is more than one way to die with dignity, Special to the Globe and Mail by Ing Wong-Ward, March 23, 2018. A powerful personal essay in which the author speaks frankly of her experience "as a person who is both disabled and has cancer". From a place of deep engagement with the guidance and support of good palliative care, Wong-Ward reminds us that, "We are all going to die, but before we do, each one of us has a right to a good quality of life, even to the very end".
  • We are ignoring a key part of 'dying with dignity', by Barbara Kay for the National Post, March 27, 2018. An editorial commentary which amplifies Wong-Ward's reframing and reclaiming of what it means to die with dignity, and goes further to argue that, "Where euthanasia becomes legal, ... citizens with poor quality of life who demand greater resources for 'assisted living' rather than opting for 'dying with dignity' are looked at with a certain impatience and disrespect".

Highlighting recent peer-reviewed research and scholarship of interest to VPS supporters.
  • Beaudry, Jonas, "The Way Forward for Medical Aid in Dying: Protecting Deliberative Autonomy is Not Enough". Supreme Court Law Review, volume 85 (second series) 2018, forthcoming.

In the Carter case, which laid the legal foundation for MAiD, the Supreme Court of Canada based its ruling upon the conclusion that a "properly administered regulatory regime is capable of protecting the vulnerable from abuse and error". A thorough, detailed and transparent system of monitoring MAiD practice is therefore at the heart of the Court's careful constitutional balance. 

The Vulnerable Persons Standard was developed by a group of more than forty advisors with expertise in medicine, ethics, law, public policy and needs of vulnerable persons. The Standard is a series of evidence-based safeguards intended to help ensure that Canadians requesting assistance from physicians to end their life can do so without jeopardizing the lives of vulnerable persons who may be subject to coercion and abuse. 

To learn more about the Standard and the many Canadians and organizations endorsing the Standard, please visit us at www.vps-npv.ca.
Vulnerable Persons Secretariat

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