OTTAWA, April 17, 2008 – The Catholic Civil Rights League welcomed the introduction of Private Member’s Bill C-537, April 16 by MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon – Wanuskewin) to protect conscience rights of health care workers.
Introducing the motion in Parliament, Mr. Vellacott said it “would prohibit coercion in medical procedures that offend a person’s religion or belief that human life is inviolable. The bill seeks to ensure that health care providers will never be forced to participate against their will in procedures such as abortions or acts of euthanasia.” Private members’ bills do not often become law. This is the third Parliament in which Mr. Vellacott has introduced a bill on this topic.
While freedom of conscience and religion is a Charter right, health care providers and students sometimes find themselves in situations where they are expected to participate in procedures such as abortion or certain types of research that conflict with their beliefs at a serious level. While some institutions address conscientious objection through policies on reasonable accommodation (usually by assigning the employee to alternate duties), the League knows of numerous cases where such requests have not been honoured. The League therefore welcomes the attempt to establish conscience protection for health care workers in federal law. It is hoped the continued pursuit of this objective may also be taken up at the provincial level, where such employment protection is also needed.
Catholic Civil Rights League (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization and has chapters across Canada. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
For further information: Joanne McGarry, Executive Director, 416-466-8244; firstname.lastname@example.org