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Press Release: Court of Appeals decision in Carter case values the lives of people with disabilities

Summary: 
NEW WESTMINSTER, BC, October 10, 2013 - Inclusion BC applauds today's ruling by the BC Court of Appeals in Carter v. Canada, which upheld Canada's Criminal Code prohibition of assisted suicide.

"This ruling recognizes that the lives of people with disabilities are equally valuable to all other human lives," said Faith Bodnar, Executive Director of Inclusion BC. "Any discussions of assisted suicide or legalized euthanasia must take into account the very serious implications for the lives of people with developmental disabilities, who are far too often devalued."

In the 2-1 decision, the ruling noted that "Those who have only limited ability to enjoy those blessings [to enjoy various experiences and to make various decisions] are no less 'alive', and have no less a right to 'life', than persons who are able-bodied and fully competent."

This ruling is an important confirmation of the rights of people with developmental disabilities. All too frequently, Inclusion BC receives reports from our members, people with developmental disabilities, their families and concerned community members, that people with developmental disabilities receive second-rate health care.

“People with developmental disabilities all too often experience discrimination in medical care, or pressure to place ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ (DNR) orders on their charts. These experiences show the importance of preventing any further slide down the slippery slope of devaluing the lives of people with disabilities in Canada. We are glad to see that the Court of Appeals recognizes this as well,” said Annette Delaplace, President of Inclusion BC. "Today's ruling recognizes that the lives of people with disabilities are equally worthy of support and protection.”

Canada ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2000. This Convention explicitly protects the right to life of people with disabilities; the right to the highest attainable standard of health and health care without discrimination; and the right to respect for the physical and mental integrity of people with disabilities. Legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia would threaten the human rights of people with disabilities as enumerated in the Convention.

Inclusion BC recognizes that today's ruling is likely not the end of this legal battle, and we hope to see this ruling upheld in any future legal proceedings on this matter.

Inclusion BC, formerly the BC Association for Community Living (BCACL), is a provincial advocacy organization with over 70 member agencies dedicated to building community and enhancing the lives of children and youth with special needs, adults with developmental disabilities, and their families by supporting abilities, promoting action and advancing rights and social justice.

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Contact:
Faith Bodnar
Executive Director
Inclusion BC
(604) 777-9100 x. 516
fbodnar@inclusionbc.org

Quick Links

BC Court of Appeals ruling in Carter v. Canada

Inclusion BC social policy on euthanasia

Inclusion BC Social policy on DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders

Canadian Association for Community Living: Ruling on Assisted Suicide raises profound concerns for Canadians with disabilities (regarding the earlier decision overturned today)