The Canadian Disability Rights Movement has long defended the equal value of all people and all lives. The core principles of Lives Worthy of Dignity can therefore be traced through the movement’s history:
In 1986, in the Eve case, the Supreme Court decided that people with disabilities could not be sterilized without their consent in Canada. Did you know that eugenics was once common practice in Canada? In Alberta alone, between 1929 and 1972, 2822 people were forcibly sterilized.
In 2015, in the Carter Case, the Supreme Court decided that a complete ban on assisted suicide was unconstitutional. For the first time in Canadian history, Medical Assistance in Dying would be legal. Mindful about how negative stereotypes could influence MAiD decisions, people with disabilities and their allies began to advocate for safeguards and monitoring.
In 2020, during a global pandemic that has exposed how life with a disability is (de)valued in Canada, Parliament is preparing to debate Bill C-7. Bill C-7 would allow for people with disabilities who are not nearing death to die with medical assistance because they are suffering.