CCD Alarmed by Blatant Disregard of MAID Legislation

For Immediate Release | July 28, 2017

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) is “deeply shocked and appalled by a news story out of Newfoundland and is urging persons with disabilities and their supporters across Canada to speak to the issues inherent in this situation,” says Jewelles Smith, Chairperson of the Council.  Sheila Elson was offered Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) for her daughter who lives with spina bifida and cerebral palsy. This was done by a physician last November. At that time, her daughter, 25-year old Candace Lewis, was assessed as being near death. She has since recovered.

CCD, along with the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities in Newfoundland, is alarmed by this incident because “it exhibits a bias against a disabled person’s value by a medical professional and blatant disregard of the legislation concerning the way Medical Aid in Dying is to be implemented,” says Rhonda Wiebe, co-chair of the CCD Ending of Life Ethics Committee. "The legislation clearly states that an individual must voluntarily make a request on his/her own behalf, and not act as an agent for another patient. The suggestion cannot come from the physician, but must be initiated by the patient to prevent undue influence or coercion. This situation highlights concerns disability advocates across Canada hold about what constitutes a “grievous and irremediable medical condition,” particularly since Candace Lewis, the woman at the centre of this incident, has recovered.”


For more information please contact:
James Hicks, National Coordinator,
Council of Canadians with Disabilities,