Communiqué #4 — Legislation
National Chairperson of Legislation Glenda Carson, September 21, 2022.
Dear sisters in the League,
Please accept my warm welcome to all returning and new standing committee chairpersons of legislation and to those taking on this work as part of another role. Your dedication and service to the League are greatly appreciated.
Included in this communiqué are descriptions of some bills before parliament that relate to topics of current interest to the League. Many are also pertinent to legislation at the provincial level. All bills discussed below can be accessed through the LEGISinfo website, parl.ca/legisinfo/.
Euthanasia: Medical assistance in dying (MAiD) continues to be a serious concern for the protection of the ever-increasing number of vulnerable Canadians considered eligible for euthanasia and healthcare workers. Together with your diocesan colleagues, please encourage members to stay informed and vigilant as legislation permitting euthanasia in society continues to expand.
- Bill C-7 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying): The final step to enacting this bill is the work of the Special Joint Committee on MAiD (AMAD). The committee is reviewing the expansion of MAiD to mature minors, advance requests, mental illness, Canadians living with disabilities and the state of palliative care. The work of the committee can be found at parl.ca/Committees/en/AMAD. The committee’s report is due in October. Significant concerns regarding this expansion of MAiD have been expressed by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and other organizations, such as the Council of Canadians with Disabilities.
- Bill C-230: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (intimidation of health care professionals). This private member’s bill will possibly come to a vote towards the end of September. This bill makes it an offence within the Criminal Code to use intimidation or coercion with medical professionals to take part in euthanasia and to terminate the employment of or refuse to hire health professionals who express a conflict of conscience in taking part in MAiD. Please ask your diocesan counterparts to encourage members to contact their members of parliament and ask for their support for this bill. More information on protecting health care workers’ conscience rights and access to a petition can be found at canadiansforconscience.ca/.
- Bill S-248: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying). This bill from the Senate will allow physicians and nurse practitioners to waive final consent at the time of performing MAiD if a person has consented to an assisted death before losing mental capacity. This change to the consent process is especially troubling given that many people may not have the ability to withdraw consent for euthanasia if their capacity or ability to communicate is compromised at the time of the procedure.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: For Canadians, online sexual exploitation and child pornography are considered the most disturbing public safety issues today. They continue to harm generations of children in Canada and throughout the world. Several of the following bills have been reintroduced after the election in November 2021.
- Bill C-270 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (pornographic material)
- Bill C-291 An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (child sexual abuse material)
- Bill S-210 An Act to restrict young persons’ online access to sexually explicit material
Human Rights: Canada has been a strong and consistent voice for the protection of international human rights. The following two bills seek to support swifter government action and more effective corporate responsibility.
- Bill C-262 An Act respecting the corporate responsibility to prevent, address and remedy adverse impacts on human rights occurring in relation to business activities conducted abroad
- Bill C-281 An act to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act, the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law), the Broadcasting Act and the Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
Child and Forced Labour: Eliminating child and forced labour has been a legislative focus in Canada for many years. The following two bills aim to impact business supply chains and disclosure obligations.
- Bill C-243 An Act respecting the elimination of the use of forced labour and child labour in supply chains
- Bill S-211 An Act to enact the Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains Act and to amend the Customs Tariff
Environment: Two private member bills related to water have been introduced.
- Bill C-214 An Act to amend the Canadian Navigable Waters Act (lakes and rivers in British Columbia). This private member’s bill seeks to add more than a dozen lakes, rivers and creeks in British Columbia to the list of protected waters in an attempt to regain safeguards that were lost when environmental protections were lost.
- Bill C-217 An Act respecting the development of a national strategy in relation to fresh water. This bill directs that the minister of the environment must develop a national strategy for the conservation, protection and use of freshwater about several drinking water standards.
Thank you again for your continued support for this vital work of the League.
National Chairperson of Legislation