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Protection of Conscience Project

Service, not Servitude

Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights
House of Commons, Parliament of Canada (May, 2016)

Re: Bill C-14


Parliament HillContents


In February, 2015, in the case of Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the criminal prohibition of physician assisted suicide and physician administered euthanasia, but suspended the ruling for one year to give federal and provincial governments an opportunity to draft new laws that conform to the decision.  In January, 2016, the Court granted an extension of the suspension to 6 June, 2016.  In the interim, it allowed euthanasia to proceed in Quebec under provincial legislation in force there, and allowed individuals seeking physician assisted suicide or euthanasia elsewhere to apply to a superior court to obtain authorization.

A special joint committee of the Canadian House of Commons and Senate began work in January and produced a first report in the last week of February.  On 14 April, 2016, the Liberal government introduced Bill C-14 to implement the Carter decision.  The House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights was responsible for reviewing the bill, amending it if need be, and returning it to the House of Commons for third reading. 

The Commitee solicited submissions from the public, and specifically solicited submissions from the Protection of Conscience Project and others, with a deadline of 2 May, 2016.

Approximately 225 to 240 briefs were received by the Committee, but only about 100 had been distributed to Committee members by the time the Committee concluded its deliberations on 11 May.  The reason for this is that Committee rules required translation of briefs into both French and English before distribution. (Actual statistics will not be available until after all briefs have been translated and posted.)

Thus, while the Project's submission met the deadline, like most briefs submitted to the Committee, it was not distributed to Committee members before the Committee concluded its deliberations.

Parliamentary Web Pages

Committee proceedings have not been transcribed verbatim.  On important points, transcripts on parliamentary web pages should be checked against the video to ensure accuracy. Edited video transcripts provided here have been checked against the edited videos.

French language materials

French language videos and transcripts can be found by using the links below to access the parliamentary English language page, and then clicking on the French language icon or link at the upper right corner of the parliamentary page.


Groups and individuals were heard during five Committee meetings, which are listed and outlined below.  The outline of each meeting includes:

  • Meeting number and date
  • Links to full videos of the meeting
  • Witness list
  • Links to videos edited to show exchanges relevant to freedom of conscience
    • Links to transcripts of edited videos (EV Transcript)
  • Links to briefs submitted by the groups/individuals
    • Links to extracts from group/individual briefs relevant to freedom of conscience (Brief+)
Meeting No. 10:  2 May, 2016  |  Full VideoFull Transcript
  • Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (EV Transcript)
  • Hon. Jane Philpott, Minister of Health (EV Transcript)
  • Department of Justice
    • William F. Pentney, Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General of Canada
    • Donald K. Piragoff, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy Sector
    • Laurie Wright, Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Law Sector
    • Jeanette Ettel, Senior Counsel, Human Rights Law Section
    • Joanne Klineberg, Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section
  • Department of Health
    • Simon Kennedy, Deputy Minister
    • Abby Hoffman, Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy Branch
    • Helen McElroy, Director General, Health Care Programs and Policy Directorate, Strategic Polic Branch
    • Sharon Harper, Manager, Chronic and Continuing Care Division
  • Canadian Psychological Association
    • Dr. Karen R. Cohen, Chief Executive Officer
  • College of Family Physicians of Canada
  • Canadian Pharmacists Association
  • As an individual
  • Barreau du Québec
    • Giuseppe Battista, President, Committee on Criminal Law
    • Jean-Pierre Ménard, Member, Working Group on End of Life Care
    • Marc Sauvé, Director, Research and Legislation Services
  • End of Life Planning Canada
    • Nino Sekopet, Client Services Manager
    • Francoise Hebert, Chair
Meeting No. 11:  3 May, 2016  |  Full Video Full Transcript
  • Canadian Association of Social Workers
    • Sally Guy, Social Worker and Policy Analyst
  • Quebec Association for the Right to Die with Dignity
  • As an individual
  • Canadian Medical Protective Association
  • Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians
  • As individuals
    • Juliet Guichon, Assistant Professor, University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine
    • Dr. Ian Mitchell, Paediatrician and Professor, University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine
Meeting No. 12:  3 May, 2016  |  Full VideoFull Transcript
  • Dying with Dignity Canada
    • Shanaaz Gokool, Chief Executive Officer
  • Christian Legal Fellowship
  • Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience
  • Canadian Civil Liberties Association
    • Cara Zwibel, Director, Fundamental Freedoms Program
  • As an individual
    • Carrie Bourassa, Professor, Indigenous Health Studies, First Nations University of Canada
  • Alliance of People with Disabilities Who Are Supportive of Assisted Dying Society
    • Margaret Birrell, Board Member
    • Angus M. Gunn, Counsel
  • Communication Disablities Access Canada
    • Hazel Self, Chair, Board of Directors
  • Association for Reformed Political Action
    • André Schutten, Legal Counsel
    • James Schutten
    • Pieter Harsevoort
  • Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
    • Amy Hasbrouck, Vice-President
    • Hugh Scher, Legal Counsel
    • Brief
  • As an individual
    • Derryck Smith
  •  Canadian Association for Community Living
  • Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
  • As an individual
Meeting No. 13:  4 May, 2016  |  Full VideoFull Transcript
Meeting No. 14:  5 May, 2016  |  Full AudioFull Transcript
  • As individuals
  • British Columbia Civil Liberties Association
    • Josh Paterson, Executive Director
  • As an individual
    • Jennifer Gibson, Director and Sun Life Financial Chair in Bioethics, University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics
  • As an individual
    • Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Manitoba 
Briefs and oral submissions

Links to the full briefs are provided below.  Click on (Brief +) to see extracts of briefs relevant to freedom of conscience.  Click on (EV Transcript) to see what was said relevant to freedom of conscience during oral submissions.

Bold face identifies groups or individuals who appeared as witnesses.  Note that some witnesses may not have provided written briefs.

»identifies briefs circulated to Committee members before the Committee began clause-by-clause review and amendment of the Bill on 9 May.

»identifies briefs circulated to Committee members after the Committee began clause-by-clause review and amendment of the Bill on 9 May.

Other briefs were not circulated before the Committee concluded its deliberations.

  1. »Agger, Ellen
  2. »Alakija, Pauline et al
  3. Alliance for Life Ontario
  4. Alliance of People with Disabilities Who Are Supportive of Assisted Dying Society
  5. Alsmo, Lola (Brief +)
  6. »ARCH Disability Law Centre
  7. »Armour-Godbolt, Shelagh (Brief +)
  8. Arvay, Joseph  (EV Transcript)
  9. »Association for Reformed Political Action (Brief +)
  10. »Azevedo, James & Tracy (Brief +)
  11. Baker, David
  12. »Barreau du Québec (EV Transcript)
  13. Basnett, Richard and Wendy (Brief +)
  14. Bauslaugh, Gary
  15. Beddoe, Mark and Nancy (Brief +)
  16. Bergen, Theresa (Brief +)
  17. »Berger, Dr. Philip et al (Brief +)
  18. Birenbaum, Shelley (Brief +)
  19. Boer, Theo (EV Transcript)
  20. »Boisvert, Dr. Marcel
  21. »Bourassa, Carrie
  22. Bradshaw, Edith (Brief +)
  23. »Brandes, Barbara and Carl
  24. British Columbia Civil Liberties Association
  25. »British Columbia Humanist Association (Brief +)
  26. »Brooks, Jeffrey (Brief +)
  27. Bureau, Yvon
  28. »Burrell, Althea; Santoro, Daniel (Brief +)
  29. »Canadian Association for Community Living (EV Transcript)
  30. Canadian Association of Advanced Practice Nurses
  31. Canadian Association of Retired Persons
  32. »Canadian Association of Social Workers
  33. Canadian Civil Liberties Association
  34. »Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops  (Brief +)
  35. Canadian Council of Christian Charities (Brief +)
  36. Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers
  37. Canadian Council of Imams (EV Transcript)
  38. Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians' Societies (Brief +)
  39. »Canadian Medical Association (Brief +) (EV Transcript)
  40. »Canadian Medical Protective Association (Brief +) (EV Transcript)
  41. Canadian Nurses Association (EV Transcript)
  42. »Canadian Nurses Protective Society
  43. Canadian Pharmacists Association (EV Transcript)
  44. »Canadian Psychiatric Association
  45. »Canadian Psychological Association
  46. »Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians (EV Transcript)
  47. Carter, Dana
  48. Castagna, Dr. Luigi A. (Brief +)
  49. Catholic Civil Rights League (Brief +)
  50. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  51. Centre for Inquiry Canada
  52. Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (Brief +) (EV Transcript)
  53. »Charland, Louis C.
  54. »Chester, Barbara
  55. »Chochinov, Harvey Max
  56. »Christian Heritage Party of Canada
  57. Christian Legal Fellowship (Brief +) (EV Transcript)
  58. Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue (Brief +)
  59. »Chun, Hye Jung (Brief +)
  60. »Clark, Carol
  61. Cleary, Beatrice (Brief +)
  62. »Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience (Brief +)
  63. »Cochien, Dr. Eileen (Brief +)
  64. Coffey, Kyle (Brief +)
  65. »Coffey Lewis, Galina
  66. College of Family Physicians of Canada (EV Transcript)
  67. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (Brief +)
  68. »Communication Disabilities Access Canada
  69. »Congress of Union Retirees of Canada - Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville Chapter (Brief +)
  70. Consortium national de formation en santé and Société Santé en français
  71. Cottle, Dr. Margaret M. (Brief +)
  72. Council of Canadians with Disabilities
  73. Cserti- Gazdewich, Christine
  74. Debono, Victor
  75. »De Koninck, Angela (Brief +)
  76. Dembo, Dr. Justine
  77. Department of Health
  78. Department of Justice (EV Transcript)
  79. »D'Silva, Melanie (Brief +)
  80. »Desjardins, Susan
  81. De Veber, Barrie and Zeni, Paul (Brief +)
  82. De Verber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research (Brief +)
  83. DisAbled Women's Network of Canada
  84. »Donauer, Andrew (Brief +)
  85. »Downar, James
  86. »Downie, Jocelyn (EV Transcript)
  87. »Dubland, Dr. Ed
  88. Dumont, Onil and Gagnon, Jocelyne
  89. Dying With Dignity Canada
  90. Dying with Dignity Canada's Disability Advisory Council (Brief +)
  91. »Dying With Dignity Canada, Nova Scotia Chapter
  92. Echlin, Jean and Pritchard, Jane (Brief +)
  93. »End of Life Planning Canada
  94. »Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
  95. Evangelical Fellowship of Canada  (Brief +) (EV Transcript)
  96. Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada(Brief +)
  97. Fenton, Dr. W. James (Brief +)
  98. »Ferrier, Catherine
  99. »Fetherston, Ann
  100. Field, Jane
  101. Findlay, John and Margaret McCarthy (Brief +)
  102. »Fine, Adrian
  103. Fletcher, Steven (EV Transcript)
  104. Ford, Jill (Brief +)
  105. »Forsey, Helen
  106. Frazee, Catherine
  107. »Friesen, Gordon (Brief +)
  108. »Gagnon, Glen
  109. Gauthier, Stephanie(Brief +)
  110. »Gibson, Jennifer
  111. Goldfinger, Eva (Brief +)
  112. »Goligher, Dr. Ewan C. (Brief+)
  113. »Gugliotta, Donato (Brief +)
  114. Guichon, Juliet
  115. Guzik, Pauline (Brief +)
  116. »Hammond, Katherine
  117. Hansen, Nancy
  118. »Harding, Dr. Sheila (Brief +)
  119. »HealthCareCAN (Brief +)
  120. Hein, Rebeccaecca (Brief +)
  121. Hein, Saraharah (Brief +)
  122. Hein, Stephanie (Brief +)
  123. Heineman, Rachel (Brief +)
  124. »Hilts, Cecile (Brief+)
  125. »Hogan, Marcia (Brief +)
  126. Hudson, Felicity and Keithith (Brief +)
  127. »Hughson, Sue (Brief +)
  128. Jarrett, Lindaa
  129. »Johnston, Dr. Will (EV Transcript)
  130. »Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (Brief +) (EV Transcript)
  131. Justice for Children and Youth
  132. Keyes, Chris (Brief +)
  133. »Knight, Gary D.
  134. »Koch, Tom
  135. Krawczynski, Joanna (Brief +)
  136. Laferrier, Audrey Jane
  137. »Lagman, Minette (Brief +)
  138. »Lansing, Dr. Davina (Brief +)
  139. Lee, Peter (Brief +)
  140. Legree, Janice (Brief +)
  141. »Leiva, Dr. Rene (Brief +)
  142. »Lemmens,Trudo
  143. Lepp, Joanne and Richard (Brief +)
  144. Levy, Karen (Brief +)
  145. »Leworthy, James G.
  146. »LifeCanada
  147. Living With Dignity (EV Transcript)
  148. »Longworth, Isaac (Brief +)
  149. MacDonald, Deanna
  150. Mahoney, James (Brief +)
  151. Malcho, Xuanyun (Brief +)
  152. »Maljaars, Dave
  153. Maloney, Barbara (Brief +)
  154. »Maloney, Patricia (Brief +)
  155. Marcelino, Sheilah (Brief +)
  156. »Mark, Kevin J. (Brief +)
  157. Mason, Melody
  158. McGee, Helen (Brief +)
  159. »McGill, Linda (Brief +)
  160. »McPhee, Margaret
  161. »McQuiston, Terence
  162. »Meglarejo, Marie (Brief +)
  163. Mental Health Commission of Canada
  164. »Mills, Penny
  165. Mitchell, Dr. Ian
  166. National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (Brief +)
  167. Nicholas, Graydon (Brief +) (EV Transcript)
  168. »Ninan, Abraham (Brief +)
  169. »Norris, Jim
  170. O'Brien, Lynne
  171. Ontario Nurses' Association
  172. Oudshoorn, Chris and Fran (Brief +)
  173. Pauling, Wendy
  174. »Pede, Maria
  175. Peterson, Ron and Tilby, Penny
  176. »Physicians' Alliance Against Euthanasia (Brief +) (EV Transcript)
  177. »Phelps, Laura
  178. »Phillips, Jo-Anne (Brief +)
  179. Philpott, Jane (Minister of Health) (EV Transcript)
  180. »Pickup, Mark Davis (Brief +)
  181. »Pilon, Dr. Liette (Brief +)
  182. Pitzel, Bert (Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina) (Brief +)
  183. »Pothier, Dianne (EV Transcript)
  184. Powell, Barbara (Brief +)
  185. Priddle, John
  186. Protection of Conscience Project
  187. »Quebec Association for the Right to Die with Dignity (EV Transcript)
  188. Raes, Gerard (Brief +)
  189. Riendeau, Mary (Brief +)
  190. »REAL Women of Canada (Brief +)
  191. »Reid, Pam
  192. »Reimer, Lorraine (Brief +)
  193. »Reggler, Dr. Jonathon (Brief +)
  194. »Remmers, Patricia B.
  195. »Right to Die Society of Canada (Brief +)
  196. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver (Brief +)
  197. »Saba, Paul (Brief +)
  198. Salvation Army (Brief +)
  199. Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association (Brief +)
  200. Schratz, Paul (Brief +)
  201. »Schuck, Lena (Brief +)
  202. »Schuklenk, Udo
  203. Secco, Bernadette
  204. Secular Connexion Séculière
  205. Shariff, Mary J. (Brief +)
  206. Smith, Derryck
  207. »Snell, Jennifer (Brief +)
  208. Somerville, Margaret (Brief +)
  209. Soubolsky, Amy (Brief +)
  210. »Spencer, Maureen
  211. Spencer, Richard (Brief +)
  212. Spiess, Gary W. (Brief +)
  213. Squires, Collette (Brief +)
  214. St. Catherine's Right to Life (Brief +)
  215. »Sullivan, William
  216. »Sumner, Wayne
  217. »Svec, Katherine Meaney
  218. »Taylor, Elaine (Brief+)
  219. »Taylor, Maureen
  220. The Wilberforce Project (Brief +)
  221. Thorpe, Kim (Brief +)
  222. Tokaruk, Carole (Brief +)
  223. »Toronto Board of Rabbis  (Brief +)
  224. »Toth, Kathleen & Mark  (Brief +)
  225. Towler, Christi (Brief +)
  226. Treviranus, Jutta
  227. UNICEF Canada
  228. »Van Bommel, Harry
  229. van Brugge, Melanie (Brief +)
  230. Vanderhorst, Hendrik (Brief +)
  231. van Staveren, Winston (Brief+)
  232. »Walji, Wendy  (Brief +)
  233. »Wili, Sigrid (Brief +)
  234. Wilson-Raybould, Jody (EV transcript)
  235. »Winkel, David and Lydia (Brief +)
  236. Wright, Pam (Brief +)
  237. »Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care (Brief +)
  238. Yoshida, Karen K.
  239. Zyla, Lloyd



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