Autonomy in medical decision-making

Groups file arguments at Supreme Court of Canada advocating for the right to assisted dying.

HALCO and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network are among the interveners in Lee Carter, et al v. Attorney General of Canada, et al (Carter) supporting the right to assisted dying. The other interveners represent a broad cross-section of organizations, including:

  • Alliance of People with Disabilities Who Are Supportive of Legal Assisted Dying
  • Dying with Dignity Canada
  • Canadian Civil Liberties Association
  • Farewell Foundation for the Right to Die
  • Association Québécoise pour le droit de mourir dans la dignité
  • Canadian Unitarian Council

“This case has broad implications for how we, as a society, allow people to live their lives and make important choices related to their personal health,” said Ryan Peck, Executive Director of the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO), an intervening organization. “No matter the health issue, the law must respect and protect autonomy in medical decision-making. For people living with HIV or other disabilities, who have longstanding interactions with the health care system, this is particularly critical. Those who support them in exercising their autonomy must not be threatened with prison.”

“Furthermore, it would be unconscionable if particular religious groups’ beliefs were allowed to determine the criminal law of the land, particularly in ways that deny other people’s autonomy, strip them of dignity and condemn them to pain and suffering they may well choose to avoid,” noted Richard Elliott, Executive Director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, co-intervener with HALCO.

You can read our Intervener Factum (arguments) on our website:

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) filed the case in April 2011 to challenge the criminal laws surrounding assisted dying. For more information, please see the Press Release on our website. You can also visit the BCCLA website:



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