Both sides in the battle over the Delta Hospice Society are waiting to see what the courts decide regarding a charter of rights argument by the current board of directors.
The B.C. Court of Appeal heard submissions on Oct. 7th from the board as well as a citizens’ group arguing the board had been contravening the Societies Act by selectively rejecting membership applications in order to stack the membership with supporters.
Chris Pettypiece with the group Take Back Delta Hospice said they don’t know how long the court will need to make a decision but understands there is a sense of urgency in the matter.
In the interim, the current freeze on the society’s membership activities imposed following an original June 12th court ruling remains in place pending the court’s final ruling on the case, he noted.
The board filed an appeal to overturn an earlier petition to the B.C. Supreme Court which successfully halted a planned meeting by the board to have the society’s constitution amended to be Christian-based.
That petition by Pettypiece, Sharon Farrish and former board president Jim Levin followed the current DHS leadership rejecting many society membership applications by Delta residents opposed to the board’s actions.
Accused of stacking the membership to impose their religious viewpoint, including signing up many non-Deltans, the current board is opposed to providing the legal procedure medical assistance in dying (MAiD) at the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner.
The board reversed a decision by the society’s previous board to allow MAiD, alleging MAiD does not align with the philosophy of palliative care.
Board president Angelina Ireland earlier told the Optimist they are a private society and her board has the right to vet applications, adding they were inundated with requests including “people who have maliciously and intentionally inundated the society with their memberships.”
Fraser Health has mandated that non-faith based hospices offer MAiD to those who ask for the procedure.
Health Minister Adrian Dix earlier this year said the society will lose its funding by Feb. 25, 2021.