Supporters of access to medical assistance in dying (MAiD) say they have won a major court victory against the Delta Hospice Society.
Chris Pettypiece, a former society board member, says the B.C. Supreme Court has ruled to scuttle the current board’s plans to become a faith-based organization, as it sought to block MAiD at its facility.
“It’s a total victory relative to the petition we filed with the court we won on all counts without exception,” Pettypiece told Global News.
The court’s ruling was delivered orally on Friday. Global News has not been able to independently review it.
The society has been embroiled in a lengthy dispute with the B.C. government and local community members over its stance against providing MAiD.
LISTEN: Nurse at Delta Hospice speaks out
MAiD was legalized in Canada in 2016, and B.C.’s Ministry of Health says it will defund the organization next February unless it makes the procedure available on-site. Staff at the hospice would not be required to perform the procedure.
Delta Hospice Society loses provincial funding over assisted dying fight
Health Minister Adrian Dix gave the requisite one-year defunding notice in February, saying the money covers 94 per cent of costs for the 10-bed Irene Thomas Hospice on land that is owned by the Fraser Health Authority.
The society’s board had sought to hold an extraordinary general meeting on Monday, at which it planned to amend the organization’s constitution to transform it into a “Christian community that furthers biblical principles,” including the sanctity of life.
Pettypiece said Friday the court ordered that the upcoming meeting be cancelled, and that the board does not have the right to screen memberships.He says it further ruled that Ireland and the board had acted in bad faith to manipulate the vote, and that all rejected applicants must be accepted.“The board members are still in place, there’s work ahead of us to run with the court’s ruling, instead of the very specific and exclusive agenda that the board was trying to implement,” he said.
The board must provide a list of all society members, and all rejected applications to petitioners, Pettypiece said.
Global News has requested comment from Ireland, the Delta Hospice Society and B.C.’s Ministry of Health.