Dear Friends,

Thank you for all the effort you took to respond to CSPO’s public consultation Professional Obligations and Human Rights which had to be submitted by February 20!

We now have two further urgent messages.

  1. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario

It appears that CPSO is likely going ahead with the policy, but with slight alterations.  It still intends to say that physicians who refuse to treat in certain cases must refer to another physician, but this time it has added “… or to an agency.”

The ethical question is:  Is referring to an agency the same as referring to another physician?

There is no difference.

Would you please respond once more to the College, stating your objections to any referrals being made mandatory?

For more information, please read the following from the Christian Medical and Dental Association to CPSO:

Urgent Email to All Ontario Members
Re Conscience Protection   

Mar 6, 2015 CPSO Meeting to Discuss Professional Obligations and Human Rights  

We have received information that suggests that the College of Physicians and Surgeons of ON (CPSO) Council will be making a decision on Friday, March 6 on its draft policy “Professional Obligations and Human Rights”. We urge you to contact the CPSO Council member in your area to encourage them to delay acceptance of this policy.

Complete background information can be found at:


  • List of Council members
  • Submissions from CMDS Canada and Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians’ Societies (CFCPS) (legal opinion)
  • Covering letter that outlines key arguments
  • Video of physicians who will be impacted

Key talking points:

  1. Impact on physicians who are unable to refer for conscience reasons  (see video)
  2. Freedom of Conscience is protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  3. The College can only take away these freedoms when there is no way to provide patient access.
  4. There are many other ways – ie self referral for abortion, there is no other jurisdiction that requires referral for euthanasia, etc etc
  5. Are they aware that we have a legal opinion that says that the policy is unconstitutional – pass on the link to the legal opinion and the covering letter
  6. Let us delay the vote and provide an opportunity for the CPSO to meet with affected physicians like members of CMDS Canada and CFCPS to identify other options.  This can be a win win rather than a win lose


Also, be sure to read the letter (attached) from the American Medical Association to CPSO. It is very clearly in favour of keeping conscience protection, and urges CPSO to do the same.

The College will meet on Friday March 6, so your immediate action is requested!


  1. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan


Please take the time to forward any comments that you sent to CPSO to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan. CPSS is also in process of collecting responses from the public for its proposed policy which is similar to that of the CPSO.

See the CPSS website,, and email your comments as directed or fill out their consultation document which is on the website. Their meeting is also on March 6.

Thank you to the many people who have responded, and please follow up once more: it is time consuming, but there are important values at stake!

Moira McQueen


Moira McQueen, LLB, MDiv, PhD
Executive Director, Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute
Lecturer, Faculty of Theology
University of St. Michael’s College,
University of Toronto.

81 St. Mary Street
Toronto  ON  M5S 1J4
(CCBI Office at 95 St. Joseph Street)

Phone:  416 353 9229