Halton Chapter Community Meetings in April: “Dying with Dignity”

 Information posted March 30, 2016
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April’s presentation for our CARP Halton Chapter Community Meetings at both Milton and Burlington is on a topic very current and in the news.  The Supreme Court has spoken: Canadians facing unbearable suffering have the right to end their lives with the help of a physician. We are fortunate to have one of the primary advocates for this issue speak to CARP HALTON. Dying With Dignity Canada is the national organization committed to improving quality of dying, expanding end-of-life choices and helping Canadians avoid unwanted suffering.

Our speaker at Milton will be Dr. Jay Detsky, who is a physician on their Physicians Advisory Council. Please click here for more information about Dr Detsky. 

Dr. Jay Detsky is a physician on their Physicians Advisory Council. He is a resident physician in radiation oncology at the University of Toronto. He practices out of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Hospital. He received his engineering degree from the University of Waterloo followed by a doctorate and post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto. Subsequently, he graduated from medical school at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Detsky is active teaching medical ethics and reflective practice to undergraduate medical students. He writes about issues in medical ethics, oncology, and end-of-life care on his blog. He has written specifically about medically assisted dying here and here.


“Our laws should be guided by the wishes of our society. And I agree with the vast majority of Canadians that we are long overdue for legalized physician-assisted dying (PAD).

Unfortunately, even with the best palliative care, some patients experience intolerable suffering near the end of a terminal illness — not only pain, but shortness of breath, nausea, confusion, agitation and existential distress. Physicians have sworn to act in their patients’ best interests, and in rare cases, physician-assisted dying is the most compassionate act we could offer, were it legal.

Many physicians are resistant to supporting legalized PAD — not for moral reasons, but due to fears surrounding a “slippery slope,” mistaken beliefs regarding how PAD is actually carried out, and a misunderstanding of what safeguards are put in place in regions where PAD is available.

I believe that we need to educate the public and physicians regarding how PAD works to best prepare for the imminent reality of legalized medically assisted dying.”

Our speaker at Burlington will be Shanaaz Gokool, CEO Dying with Dignity Canada. Please click here for more information about Shanaaz Gokool.

Shanaaz Gokool has over 15 years’ experience in operations management in the private and not-for-profit sectors. She has worked in organizational systems implementation in the areas of financial and budgetary management, human resources and risk management. She holds undergraduate degrees in political science and human rights and equity studies. She also has a certificate in volunteer management and fundraising. She is currently finishing her MA in international relations.

As a human rights activist, Shanaaz has led numerous grassroots initiatives in the Greater Toronto area, including her role as Chair of Amnesty International Toronto Organization (AITO) between 2009 and 2014. She is an active member of the Amnesty International Speaker’s Bureau and has been a public spokesperson on a number of human rights issues.

She is excited about the opportunity to expand upon the human rights framework in which she has been trained to advocate for end-of-life choices — a cause that she passionately believes in.


“Death is inevitable. Suffering at the time of death does not have to be.

Legislated and regulated end-of-life choices are as much about the celebration of an individual’s life lived as it is about the grief associated with their inevitable passing.

The concept of dignity is intrinsic to how the vast majority of us define a good life, and certainly deeply embedded within the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Dignity at the time of death is our final expression of what must be recognized as a fundamental human right. To not provide legislated choice is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment for those of us who wish to determine the conditions in which we will spend our last days.”

Our  Milton meeting will be held on Wednesday April 13th, 2016 at the Seniors Activity Centre, 500 Childs Drive, Milton.

Our Burlington meeting will be held on Tuesday April 26th, 2016 at the Seniors Centre, 2285 New Street, Burlington.

Our meetings at both locations will be held in the evening. Doors will open at 6.30pm with the main meeting taking place between 7.00pm and 9.00pm. Coffee and tea will be available.

As many of you will already know our Community meetings are gaining in popularity and we anticipate a large attendance for this important subject. Since we hold exactly the same monthly meetings in Milton we encourage anyone who can do so to please consider going to that location.  Typically there is more space available at Milton. Please CLICK HERE to see a map of the Milton location. Please be aware that if room capacity limits are reached at Burlington we may have to restrict entrance in order to comply with building safety code regulations.

Both meetings will begin with a short welcoming address from our Chairperson, Tom Carrothers. Tom will also provide a brief update on your CARP Halton Chapter and CARP National activities.

This will be followed by our featured presentation.

There will be a break at the midway point in the presentation which will allow time to socialize with fellow members and to visit our sponsors.

As usual we will have a number of sponsors for both meetings. We will be very pleased to welcome them and to thank them for their support. They will all have tables where you will be able to chat with their representatives and pick up additional information.

Sponsors at both meetings: 

Alert Best Nursing and Home Care: offers a wide variety of services, including: in-home nursing care; attendant care for persons with injuries, disabilities or chronic illnesses; palliative care; and staffing solutions for hospitals, long-term care facilities and retirement homes.

Burlington Memorial Gardens: part of the Arbor group of cemeteries and funeral homes, features over 100 acres of beautifully landscaped and immaculate gardens and is located in the historic Niagara Escarpment.  They have been assisting families with their final arrangements since 1979.  They provide compassionate, personal & professional guidance both in an immediate time of need but also specialize in pre planning, making arrangements in advance to provide peace of mind and eliminate the emotional and financial burden on families.

Additional Sponsors at Milton:

Marian Courtyard Seniors Residence: Welcome to The Marian Courtyard Seniors Residence, a retirement community for independent seniors. Operating under the life lease concept, The Marian Courtyard allows seniors to create the independent lifestyle they have always wanted. Nestled in an established, residential neighborhood located just minutes from downtown Milton. Known for its friendly residents, The Marian Courtyard offers a sense of community, serenity and well being that is unmatched.

Milton Lawn Bowling Club: Lawn bowling is a social outdoor sport that can be enjoyed by everyone of all ages and abilities. This sport is an excellent from of exercise because you are walking, bending, lifting and twisting all outside in the fresh air. It is a mental and physical game with low injury risk where sportsmanship is emphasized. New members are welcome so why don’t you drop by and give it a try.

Additional Sponsors at Burlington: 

Burlington Lawn Bowling Club: The Burlington Lawn Bowling Club (BLBC) located in the heart of Burlington invites you to join them for lively social interaction and mild exercise  on the “GREEN” and they invite and encourage non-members to play as their guests.  BLBC has two greens of 8 rinks each. Bowling occurs virtually every day of the week during the operating season, usually in the afternoons and evenings. 

Drury Lane Theatre: Discover the shows that will be playing at this local theatre.

The meetings will conclude with a few closing remarks and our 50/50 draw. We encourage you to support this draw as proceeds help defray the costs of putting on our meetings.

Our meetings are FREE. Please support your Chapter. We look forward to welcoming all members and their friends.