Healthcare Inclusion Media release

Media release: Canadian government set to pass Bill that attacks rights of disabled people on the anniversary of Canadian government ratifying UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities


Canada, March 11, 2021

Today on the 11th Anniversary of Canada’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Liberal Government has scheduled today as day to shut down debate and vote on Bill C-7.

Bill C-7 will expand MAiD (medical assistance in dying) beyond the end-of-life and make it a ‘treatment option’ for disabled people with a wide variety of chronic conditions and disabilities.  If the amendments pass today, it will also include a sunset clause set to expand MAiD further and make mental illness alone sufficient criteria for state-funded and administered death.

“Is this some kind of a cruel joke the Canadian government is playing on disabled people,” asked Catherine Frazee who conceived the idea of Disability Filibuster with Gabrielle Peters co-founder of Dignity Denied. 

Frazee added, “There is never a good day to pass a bill this dangerous to disabled people, but doing so today is cruel. We have been fighting this bill non-stop for months. And now, instead of a chance to catch our breath and remember a document that says our lives and rights are important and should be supported and respected, the Canadian government is determined to communicate they aren’t and won’t be.”

Today would be a good day for Justin Trudeau to answer the questions posed by  Gerard Quinn, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Claudia Mahler, the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons; and Olivier De Schutter, the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights in their strongly worded seven page letter of February 3, 2021 that outlined grave concerns about Bill C-7 and its impact on disability rights.

1.     Please explain how the current Bill, configured as it is, does not subtly or indirectly reinforce ableist assumptions contrary to Article 8 combined with Articles 4 and 5 of the UN convention? 

2.     Please indicate how or whether you have considered alternative approaches/wording to avoid imparting or reinforcing ableist and ageist assumptions contrary to the above provisions? 

3.     Please indicate measures taken in order to consult closely with representative organization of people with disabilities and older persons, when developing, adopting and implementing the new national policy on medical assistance in dying. 

Gabrielle Peters said, “We are in a pandemic. Disabled death surrounds us. Triage protocols push us off the life raft. Public health, when it does apply an equity lens, ignores us. Vaccines will eventually get around to us I hope. We are poorer and more isolated. And now on this historic-for-the-right-reasons-day, Trudeau decides he wants to make it historic for all the wrong reasons. If this bill passes some day in the future young students of history will ask what we all did, ‘how could they have gone along with this?”



Gabrielle Peters, Kate McWilliams

Photo by Max Bender on Unsplash