SOURCE: Inclusion Alberta

Inclusion Alberta

March 01, 2016 12:37 ET

Inclusion Alberta Endorses the Vulnerable Persons Standard

Medical Experts and National Organizations Endorse Special Safeguards to Protect Vulnerable Canadians in Right-to-Die Legislation

EDMONTON, AB--(Marketwired - March 01, 2016) -  Today community and health organizations from across Canada call on Parliament to adopt a series of evidence-based safeguards designed to protect the lives of vulnerable Canadians.

The Vulnerable Persons Standard has been developed by leading Canadian physicians, health professionals, lawyers, ethicists, public policy experts and national representative organizations for people with disabilities and the needs of vulnerable persons.

The Standard will ensure that policies designed to help Canadians requesting assistance from physicians to end their life do not jeopardize the lives of vulnerable persons who may be subject to coercion and abuse.

Robin Acton, Inclusion Alberta President and the parent of an adult daughter with developmental disabilities, stated, "The lives of individuals with developmental disabilities are threatened by the Joint Parliamentary Report on medically-assisted dying whose recommendations go so far as to include individuals who would not be capable of voluntary consent as the Supreme Court required in its Carter decision. The Vulnerable Persons Standard offers a means of protecting the rights of vulnerable Canadians."

"The only means of ensuring individuals with cognitive disabilities would not be threatened by physician assisted death, would have been for the Supreme Court to maintain a ban on medically-assisted killing," said Bruce Uditsky, Inclusion Alberta Chief Executive Officer and parent of an adult son with developmental disabilities. "The Vulnerable Persons Standards offers important mechanisms for minimizing the threat to vulnerable individuals with cognitive disabilities only if Canadians resist the continuing efforts to remove any and all safeguards."

The Vulnerable Persons Standard was released publicly during a press conference in the National Press Theatre at noon EST in Ottawa, and is available at www.vps-npv.ca

Advisers to the Standard include:

  • Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov, OC, OM, MD, PhD, FRCPC, FRSC, Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care and Former Chair of the 'Federal External Panel' on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v Canada
  • Dr. Nuala P. Kenny, OC, MD, FRCP(C), Emeritus Professor Dalhousie University, Halifax, N.S., and Former Member, Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician- Assisted Dying
  • Dr. Balfour M. Mount, OC, OQ, MD, FRCS(C), LLD, Professor and Emeritus Flanders Chair of Palliative Medicine, McGill University
  • Dianne Pothier, Professor Emeritus, Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University
  • Mary Shariff, BSc LLB LLM PhD, Associate Dean Academic, JD Program and Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba

A full list of the almost 30 advisers to the Standard can be obtained at http://www.vps-npv.ca/

Organizations endorsing the Standard include:

Canadian Association for Community Living

Canadian Association of the Deaf

Canadian Council of Imams

Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians

Catholic Health Alliance of Canada

Council of Canadians with Disabilities

DAWN-RAFH Canada - Disabled Women's Network of Canada

Physicians Alliance against Euthanasia

Vivre dans la Dignité/Living with Dignity

A full list of endorsing organizations can be obtained at http://www.vps-npv.ca/

About Inclusion Alberta:

Inclusion Alberta (formerly Alberta Association for Community Living) is a family-governed, registered charity supporting thousands of children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families across Alberta for over 60 years.

Contact Information

  • For more information or to arrange an interview with either Inclusion Alberta's CEO Bruce Uditsky or President Robin Acton, please contact:
    Sara Protasow
    Communications Coordinator, Inclusion Alberta
    Cell: 587-336-7440
    Email: sprotasow@inclusionalberta.org