Disabled woman claims Canada is forcing her to die by assisted suicide: ‘It’s not what I want’

The woman accused the government of creating ‘the perfect storm for disabled people’ in Ontario

Graig Graziosi
Friday 23 June 2023 17:05 BST
Realted video: Meta to block news on Facebook and Instagram in Canada

A quadriplegic woman from Ontario said it would be faster for her to pursue a medically assisted death than it would for her to wait for the state to provide disability support services.

The mother, Rose Finlay, shared a video on social media explaining her decision and accusing Canada of balking on its responsibility to its people.

“I am a 33-year-old quadriplegic single mom raising two kids with disabilities,” she said in the video. “Every Ontarian that is paying taxes and paying into social programs thinking that one day should they ever need the supports they would be available to them, I’m here to let you know that’s not actually the case.”

She says in the video that she can access Canada's medical assistance in dying (MAID) program after a 90-day eligibility assessment, but that accessing disability services could take up to eight months, according to the National Post.

“My life as it is, without support as a quadriplegic is far more deadly than me even exploring the MAID process,” Ms Finlay told the Global News.

Ms Finaly's spinal cord was injured when she was 17. She ran her own disability advocacy business, Inclusive Solutions, which allowed her to support herself and her family, but increasingly frequent illnesses have left her unable to work.

With few options available and a limited pool of potential personal care workers in her area — she lives approximately 80km east of Toronto — she decided to apply for the Ontario Disability Support Program.

Ms Finaly said that’s when she realised she would have to wait for at least half a year before she would even have her application approved.

In March she decided she would explore MAID, even though she does not want to die.

Rachel Finlay, 33, of Ontario, is quadriplegic and is considering medically assisted death because she cannot access disability services in Canada
Rachel Finlay, 33, of Ontario, is quadriplegic and is considering medically assisted death because she cannot access disability services in Canada (Facebook)

“It’s not what I want,” she told CBC. “But if I don’t receive the support that I need, the outcome is the same. If I get to a point where I am really sick and basically terminally ill anyways, I would like to have other options.”

She noted that she has received some backlash from individuals pointing out that she has children but is choosing to die anyway; to them, she said her constant illnesses mean she's "not being very useful" to them.

Ms Finlay said even with ODSP support money, she would be living in a "forced poverty" as the most the program pays out is $1,228 a month for all living expenses. Canada's Emergency Response Benefit program has previously determined that Canadians need a minimum of $2,000 per month to afford their basic necessities.

She is currently the subject of a fundraiser, which she hopes will raise enough money that she can avoid pursuing MAID. Ms Finlay makes clear her feelings on the government's current treatment of people with disabilities, saying the government has "created the perfect storm for disabled people here in Ontario."

“Starve them, cut them off from participating in society, and then offer them death,” she wrote.

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