British Columbia

Health authority takes over Delta hospice after ending lease with Christian society

Fraser Health Authority has taken over the Irene Thomas Hospice after the society running it refused to provide medically assisted deaths based on religious grounds.

Irene Thomas Hospice to reopen by April 15 after society refused to offer medical assistance in dying

The Irene Thomas Hospice in Delta, B.C. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

A hospice in Delta, B.C., is now in the possession of the regional health authority after a provincially funded society refused to provide medical assistance in dying based on religious grounds.

Fraser Health says in a release that the Irene Thomas Hospice is being upgraded before reopening by April 15.

The health authority also took over the Harold and Veronica Savage Centre for Supportive Care and the surrounding lands after formally ending the service agreement and lease with the Delta Hospice Society.

Angelina Ireland, board president of the society that ran the 10-bed hospice, has maintained that providing a medically assisted death goes against the principles of Christianity.

However, other members of the community south of Vancouver argued the important end-of-life service is legal in Canada and should be offered to patients who want it.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says in a statement that access to hospice services is fundamental.

"That's what I hear regularly from people in Delta and across B.C. That is why there is strong support for the decision we have taken," he said.

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