In a 2015 ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously voted that the prohibition on assisted death in the Criminal Code was unconstitutional. This led to Parliament passing Bill C-14 in 2016, amending the Criminal Code to allow legal exemptions for MAiD. Since its passage, MAiD usage has increased every year, with a total of 10,064 MAID provisions in 2021 alone, accounting for 3.3% of all deaths in Canada.

Public polling suggests that the majority of Canadians support MAiD, but their opinions about the service are nuanced and complex. There continues to be stigma, taboo, logistical and procedural challenges, as well as ethical and equity concerns about the practice. In debates about MAiD, very little attention has been paid to the rural parts of the country. There is of course no singular, agreed-upon definition of rural, but the concept often includes a combination of geography, culture, population size or density, and qualitative experience.

Given that rurality is a significant and often overlooked determinant of health, it is arguably important to examine the distinct conditions for MAiD in rural settings. For instance, there are concerns that in rural settings where health services often are limited, residents might feel compelled to use MAiD as a default option. Some scholars have suggested that MAiD may be seen as a good solution for rural and remote patients who want to die at home. Others have called for caution to ensure that geographically isolated individuals are not placed in a position where MAiD will be seen as their only source of respite from end-stage disease. The speaker will elaborate on her research.

Speaker: Dr. Julia Brassolotto

Julia is an Associate Professor in the Public Health Program at the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Health Sciences. She recently held a 7-year Alberta Innovates Health Solutions (AIHS) Research Chair in Rural Health and Well-being.

Julia’s research program looks at aging and dying (as they pertain to continuing care settings, age-friendly communities, and MAiD). She completed her doctorate and post-doctoral fellowship at York University in the Health Policy & Equity program. By training, Julia is an interdisciplinary social scientist and a qualitative health services researcher.

Date/time: Thursday January 18, 2024. Presentation begins at 12 & concludes at 1 p.m.

Cost: Free, but donations are gratefully accepted

Location: Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization (LSCO) Dining Room, 500-11 Street S, Lethbridge, AB

Lunch & Refreshments: The Atrium Dining Room will be available by 11:15 am. Please arrive early before the start of the Presentation to patronize the LSCO cafeteria and enjoy their excellent variety of good value food options.

Session Video

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