Poverty, Not Pain, Driving Many to Contemplate Death

In 2016, Canada passed Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) legislation. Originally, it required that death be “reasonably foreseeable,” but based on legal challenges, the rules got changed and, beginning in 2021, anyone with a “serious and incurable illness, disease or disability” considered irreversible, and causing “enduring and intolerable” suffering, became eligible to apply. Since provincial support doesn’t begin to cover the cost of living, many Canadians with disabilities find themselves trapped in a cycle of poverty, leading to more stress, which only makes them sicker.

As a result, a large number of Canadians with disabilities have begun considering applying for MAiD. Almost one quarter of disabled people live in poverty, according to a report from Statistics Canada. That represents about 1.5 million people. Although advocates tout built-in safeguards like requiring approval from two doctors and a lengthy 90-day authorization process, as well as automatic denial of applications from anyone claiming inadequate financial and social support, it seems those guidelines don’t always get followed.

MAiD released a report this summer revealing that 10,064 Canadians opted for an assisted death in 2021, representing an increase of 32 percent over the previous year. Consider: How does your organization reach and minister to disabled persons living below the poverty level?

The 300+ organizations in Citygate Network membership seek to move people in desperate situations and destitute conditions (i.e., hungry, homeless, abused, and addicted) from human suffering to human flourishing through the process of gospel-powered life transformation. If you or someone you love is in need of Christ-centered compassion and care, please visit our member locator page today to find a mission near you.


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