Fraser Health ordered to uncover MAiD documents

By  Terry O’Neill, Canadian Catholic News
  • September 8, 2023

VANCOUVER -- A provincial adjudicator has ruled in favour of The B.C. Catholic newspaper and ordered the Fraser Health Authority to take the wraps off additional sections of secret documents related to the development and implementation of its controversial assisted-suicide policies and practices. 

In a 26-page ruling, an adjudicator with the Office of Information and Privacy Commissioner for B.C. ordered Fraser Health to uncover redacted parts of 131 pages of in-camera board-of-directors and board-committee documents and turn the results over to the newspaper by Sept. 18.

A Fraser Health spokesperson said that the health authority would comply with the order.

The decision appears to mark the beginning of the final chapter of the newspaper’s three-and-a-half year effort campaign to unearth information about how and why Fraser Health, the province’s largest health authority, decided not only to force all health facilities in its region to offer “medical assistance in dying,” but also to actively promote the procedure. 

The ruling comes at time when the number of assisted suicides in B.C. has rocketed, soaring 24 per cent from 2021 to 2022 to a total of 2,515, according to new statistics published by DailyMail.com.

The B.C. Catholic launched its Fraser-Health/MAiD investigation in early 2020 after receiving complaints from patients who said they were being pestered about MAiD. In response, the authority made public three batches of information.

The first, in February, showed that, in seeming opposition to the actual practice of some staff, its policies required MAiD to be a patient-driven process. The next two batches were of previously secret board and board-committee agendas, reports and minutes. They showed how the board, in forcing all Fraser Health facilities to provide MAiD, ignored advice from its own experts. As well, the documents revealed that many medical staff opposed MAiD and were distraught by its introduction into their workplaces.

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