FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kelly Block, M.P.
OTTAWA, Ontario – Earlier today, Kelly Block, Member of Parliament for Carlton Trail – Eagle Creek, tabled a private members bill to protect the conscience rights of medical professionals.
“Over the past two years, we have seen just how important our health care system is and how critical the medical professionals who work in that system are to Canadians,” said MP Block. “We need to create a work environment for medical professionals that protects them, supports them, and encourages them to continue in the critical work they do.”
The bill would amend the Criminal Code to make it a punishable offense to intimidate or coerce a medical professional to take part in medically assisted suicide as well as make it an offence to fire or refuse to hire a medical professional if the sole reason is their refusal to take part in medically assisted suicide.
Dr. Heidi Janz, adjunct professor at the University of Alberta and the chair of the Ending-of-Life Ethics Committee with the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, says, “Canada needs conscience-rights protections for medical professionals because Canadians with disabilities and chronic illnesses have a right to medical professionals who choose to stand against the systemic ableism that deems people to be better off dead than disabled. We have a right to safe doctors who will help us fight for our lives. In short, the human rights of Canadians with disabilities and chronic illnesses demand the protection of the conscience rights of medical professionals.”
When introducing the Bill in the House of Commons, MP Block said, “Medical professionals are facing increasing pressure to participate in assisted suicide, and this is causing many to question their ability to work in Canada. I encourage all my colleagues in this place to support this bill’s speedy passage and thereby demonstrate a deep commitment both to our amazing medical professionals and to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
This Bill protects the doctor-patient relationship by ensuring doctors and other medical professionals are always able to recommend and provide the care they believe is best for their patient. Every patient deserves a second opinion. Conscience protections ensure that second opinions are always an option.