B.C. hospice refusing to provide medically assisted dying must vacate premises

Click to play video: 'Delta Hospice Society loses provincial funding over assisted dying fight' Delta Hospice Society loses provincial funding over assisted dying fight
(Feb. 25, 2020) A day after the federal government tabled new legislation to expand access to medically assisted dying, the provincial government is pulling more than one million dollars in annual funding from the Delta Hospice Society for refusing to provide such access. Ted Chernecki reports – Feb 26, 2020

A hospice that has refused to provide medical assistance in dying based on religious objections will have to vacate a facility in Delta, B.C., by the end of March.

Health Minister Adrian Dix joined two officials from the regional health authority in saying a contract with the Delta Hospice Society will end in accordance with the termination of its $1.5-million contract announced a year ago.

Read more: Delta hospice lays off staff amid fight over medical assistance in dying

They say in a statement that Fraser Health will serve 30 days’ notice to the society on Feb. 25.

The statement comes a week after the society’s board sent layoff notices to all clinical staff at the hospice before the cancellation of its service agreement.

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Click to play video: 'Canadians weigh in on medically-assisted dying' Canadians weigh in on medically-assisted dying
Canadians weigh in on medically-assisted dying – Jun 21, 2016

Angelina Ireland, board president of the Delta Hospice Society, did not return a request for comment.

Dix, along with Jim Sinclair, the chairman of the board for Fraser Health, and the authority’s president Dr. Victoria Lee, say access to hospice services is fundamental to people in B.C.

Read more: B.C.’s top court rejects latest attempt to block medical assistance in dying at Delta hospice

They say they have strong support for their decision, which was not taken lightly.

“It is important for people at the end of their lives to have peace, comfort and choice related to their own health. We are committed to providing a public health system that includes a full range of options for people in our communities, including those in hospice settings.”

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Delta Mayor George Harvie says in a statement the issue of hospice care has deeply impacted residents of the city south of Vancouver.

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