LETTER: Local pro-MAiD organization speaks out against RFP

Dear editor,

Contracts or arrangements for new long-term residential care beds and existing facility redevelopment should only be awarded to suppliers who permit Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) on site. Suppliers who refuse to allow MAiD should not qualify for any new contracts or agreements with our health authority. In September 2017, a petition with close to 3,000 signatures was submitted by our community to Island Health and the Minister of Health to that effect.

Currently 116 (32 per cent) of the Comox Valley’s 384 residential/complex care beds are located in a faith- based facility, the Views, which strictly prohibits MAiD anywhere on its property. To be assessed for or to be provided MAiD, the dying, sick and frail must transfer from their home – this is cruel and unjust. The Views’ policy violates residents’ Section 7 and Section 15 Charter Rights, their constitutional rights under Bill C-14, the protections of the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, the BC Medicare Protection Act and the Canada Health Act. Furthermore, Canadian law does not recognize institutional conscientious objection — bricks and mortar have no conscience.

On March 9 2018, Island Health issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for 120 new complex care beds for the Comox Valley. Faith-based suppliers who refuse to allow MAiD on-site will be allowed to submit proposals. This would permit the Roman Catholic Views organization to submit a proposal that, if successful, would supply public funding to completely rebuild its existing aging residential care facility as well as allow it to increase its already dominant share of our residential care beds.

We need to send a strong message again to Island Health that restricting access to MAiD is not acceptable to our community — provision of MAiD on-site should be a mandatory criteria in evaluating all bids.

If you agree “No MAiD – No Contract” then please sign the petition at www.equalaccesscomoxvalley.ca

Jenny Steel

Equal Access Comox Valley

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