The Fraser Health Authority has given the Delta Hospice Society a deadline to agree to provide medically assisted deaths.
The new board of the society has been on a collision course with the health region after reversing a decision by the previous board to not allow Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) at the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner.
A spokesperson with the region yesterday told the Optimist that the FHA “reached out again to the Delta Hospice Society to share our expectations that they comply to permit medical assistance in dying by February 3, 2020.”
Health region representatives recently met with the leadership from the Delta Hospice to discuss the society’s compliance of their contract.
The issue has been a heated and divisive one for the society.
The region’s annual operating funding to the hospice could be pulled, provincial health minister Adrian Dix recently suggested.
Currently, those at the hospice wanting the end-of-life procedure have to be transported to another facility.
In July 2016, the federal government passed legislation permitting medical assistance in dying.
Fraser Health approved its policy later that year that mandates hospices provide the procedure.
Following a heated annual general meeting that saw the makeup of the board change, the new board reversed a decision made a week prior by the previous board.
In a letter to staff, volunteers and members, society president Angelina Ireland said the new board’s motion was based on two independent legal opinions that MAiD is not compatible with the purposes of Delta Hospice Society as stated in its constitution.
Opponents of MAiD point to a joint statement by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians which notes it is not part of hospice palliative care and shouldn’t be considered an extension.
Alex Muir with the Vancouver chapter of Dying with Dignity Canada called the new board’s vote to repeal MAiD disappointing, adding his group believes Delta Hospice should be forced to abide by Fraser Health policy that MAiD be provided in all non-faith-based facilities under its jurisdiction.
He wrote to Fraser Health board chair Jim Sinclair, stating both palliative care and assisted dying are essential options on a spectrum of care for people navigating end-of-life choices.
Both have the support of an overwhelming majority of Canadians, including Delta residents, he said.