Another Person Choosing Assisted Death Under Canada’s Liberalized Laws Over Lack of Support for Disability

Another Person Choosing Assisted Death Under Canada’s Liberalized Laws Over Lack of Support for Disability
A file photo of a healthcare professional with a patient. (Pascal Pochard-Casabianca/AFP)
Matthew Horwood

A disabled single mother from Ontario is contrasting how fast she was able to start the process for medical assistance in dying (MAiD) compared to support for her disability.

“I’m a quadriplegic, single mom raising two kids with disabilities, and I’ve spent the last 79 days trying to raise as much awareness as I possibly can,” Rose Finlay, a mother of three boys, said in a video posted to social media on June 19, when she said she had 12 days left on her MAiD application.

“There’s a huge and detrimental discrepancy that exists in the supports that are available to disabled Ontarians. The fact [is] that it takes six to eight months to receive disability support and only 91 days to receive medical assistance in dying.”

Canada has one of the most permissive euthanasia laws in the world.

Since the federal government revised the eligibility criteria for MAiD in March 2021 to remove the requirement for a person’s natural death to be reasonably foreseeable to be eligible—some Canadians suffering from poverty have applied for the procedure.
In October 2022, a 54-year-old man from St. Catharines living with chronic pain due to a back injury years ago applied for MAiD because social supports were failing him and he feared becoming homeless more than dying, Toronto CityNews reported.
In December 2022, CBC News also reported that a woman was considering MAiD due to the pain of living with fibromyalgia, but said she might not have contemplated the procedure if her disability benefit didn’t leave her struggling financially.

Spinal Cord Injury

Finlay, who suffered a spinal cord injury at age 17 and has been in a wheelchair ever since, said she was previously able to support her family through her company Inclusive Solutions. But she has been unable to work and pay for her support workers due to a series of illnesses over the last year and a half.

“And every time I get sick, I get more sick than the time I was before. And so currently I have acute kidney pain, fever, chills, body tremors, splitting headache, muscle spasms, just not OK, extreme nausea,” she said in her June 19 video.

Finlay said her eldest son has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), while her other son has type one diabetes, for which the medical expenses are not fully covered by the Ontario government.

She has organized a fundraiser on the GoFundMe website to seek help for her and her children. Living in a rural area of the province, Finlay said on her fundraiser page that it is “incredibly challenging” there for people living with disabilities to get enough reliable personal care support.

Easy Access

When Finlay applied for the Ontario Disability Support Program, she was told it would take at least six to eight months to have her application approved.
In a blog post on her website, she said that when she asked her doctor for a referral to a psychiatrist, she was told it would take until early 2024 to secure an appointment.

“You know what was REALLY easy to access though... Medical Assistance in Dying,” Finlay wrote. “After a 2 1/2 hour appointment with my doctor, the process was started. I just have to complete the 91 day waiting period.”


On her fundraiser page, Finlay said she does not want to end her life but instead would prefer to improve her quality of life so that “my basic needs are not at risk.”

There are more resources available for her and her children in the city, and she said she would like to make that move.

With proper support, she would be able to work again and provide income for her family despite her disability, she wrote. “To make this move, we need financial support to make [first and last month’s rent], moving costs, medical equipment installation and legal costs for the family court,” she said.

To support Finlay, Diane Kluczynski has started a separate GoFundMe campaign to raise funds. “A young lady I know is really struggling and needs your help. I read her Facebook post tonight and feel so helpless. This is the first thing that came to mind,” Kluczynski said on her fundraiser page.