Carter et al. v. Canada (Attorney General) et al. 2012 BCCA 336
Constitutional Law - Determination of validity of statutes or acts - Practice - Appeals - Stay pending
A June 15, 2012 order of Smith, J., reported at  B.C.T.C. Uned. 886, declared that the provisions of the Criminal Code prohibiting assisted suicide unjustifiably infringed ss. 7 and 15 of the Charter and were of no force and effect to the extent that they prohibited physician-assisted suicide by a medical practitioner in the context of a physician-patient relationship, where the assistance was provided to a fully-informed, non-ambivalent competent adult patient in certain circumstances. The effect of the declarations was suspended for one year. During the period of suspension of the declaration of constitutional invalidity, Taylor (who had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (“ALS”), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) was granted a constitutional exemption permitting her to obtain physician-assisted death under certain conditions. The Attorney General of Canada (AG Canada) appealed from the decision. The AG Canada applied for an order staying both the declarations of invalidity and the exemption until the appeal had been heard and decided. The respondents consented to an order staying the declarations of invalidity and the running of the suspension of those declarations until the appeal was decided. Therefore, the only issue was whether a stay should be granted of the exemption order which permitted Taylor to seek a physician-assisted death pending the outcome of the appeal.
The British Columbia Court of Appeal, per Prowse, J.A, dismissed the application for a stay of the portions of the order granting the constitutional exemption.