Volume 17, Issue 2, Summer 2017
Stephen L. Mikochik
Broken to the Hope
The Right to Life, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying Act
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a landmark international agreement recognizing the rights and equal status of disabled people. States Parties commit to protect the right to life of all such people and to promote their equal dignity. Canada ratified the convention in 2010. However, Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying Act, which received royal assent in 2016, allows for assisted suicide and euthanasia of those disabled people who have a grievous and irremediable medical condition. This essay contends that the act violates Canada’s treaty obligations not to enact legislation inconsistent with the convention by jeopardizing the right to life of such people and placing them in a significantly unequal status within Canadian society.