August 31, 2012, ( – A letter was received by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition today from the Honourable Rob Nicholson announcing that the government of Canada intends to appeal the decision by Madam Justice Prowse.

On August 3 Justice Prowse heard arguments concerning the validity of the constitutional exemption that was granted to Gloria Taylor to die by euthanasia and assisted suicide. On August 10, Justice Prowse upheld the decision by Justice Lynn Smith to grant Gloria Taylor a constitutional exemption to die by euthanasia and assisted suicide.


The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition asked the Hon Rob Nicholson to appeal the August 10 decision because it allows a legislative framework for euthanasia and assisted suicide. The constitutional exemption that was granted to Gloria Taylor, could also be requested by other Canadians who are living with similar conditions. Link to the EPC position on the Constitutional Exemption.

Text of the letter from the Hon Rob Nicholson:

Thank you for your correspondence concerning euthanasia and assisted suicide.

As you may be aware, the case of Carter v. Canada (Attorney General) is a court challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in relation to the prohibition on assisted suicide. The British Columbia Supreme Court heard this case and made its ruling on June 15, 2012. After careful consideration, the Government of Canada appealed this decision to the British Columbia Court of Appeal. We also sought a stay of all aspects of the lower court decision. On August 10, 2012, the Court of Appeal refused to stay the decision granting a constitutional exemption to one of the plaintiffs in this case. We have sought to appeal this refusal as the Government views this exemption as resembling a regulatory framework for assisted suicide.

The Criminal Code prohibits the practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada. These laws exist to protect all Canadians, including the most vulnerable members of our society, such as those who are sick or elderly and persons with disabilities.

We believe that the provisions prohibiting a medical professional, or anyone else, from counselling or providing assistance in a suicide are constitutionally valid. As you may know, in 1993, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the constitutionality of the existing legislation in Rodriguez v. British Columbia (Attorney General). In addition, in April 2010, the legalization of medical euthanasia and assisted suicide under certain conditions was democratically debated in the House of Commons. A large majority of Parliamentarians voted against changing these laws.

The Government will provide its full position to the British Columbia Court of Appeal when the case is heard.  As this case continues to be before the courts, I cannot comment further at this time.

Thank you again for writing.

Yours truly,

The Honourable Rob Nicholson