Principal Investigator: Eliza Chandler
Co-Applicant: Allyson Mitchell
Funder: SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant
In 2016, the Medical Assistance in Dying Act (MAiD), following the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to lift the prohibitions against physician assisted death, passed into law. MAiD legislation renders legal, “the act of intentionally killing oneself with the assistance of a medical practitioner or a person acting under the direction of a medical practitioner.” Although widely considered a legislative victory and a model for other countries, the passage of MAiD has not been uniformly celebrated. MAiD is regarded as a major defeat for disabled peoples and disability justice organizers, who see its significant implications for the treatment and understanding of disabled people within Canada.
Uniquely deploying the arts, the project uses MAiD as a catalyst to rethink relationships between disability and death in order to think through how lives with body-mind difference are constituted as either liveable or unliveable. Toronto-based collective Feminist Art Gallery (FAG) will engage in an artist-led research-creation project using MAiD legislation as an entry point to open public dialogue on the relationship between death and disability.
At stake is MAiD’s potential to harden collective understandings of disabled lives as undesirable and/or unliveable. MAiD diverts attention away from other problems faced by people with ‘body-mind differences,’ such as the lack investment in social housing, income support, attendant and home care services, community development, elder care, palliative care and affordable housing that contributes to the precarious conditions of disabled and other marginalized people and crucially, the monetization of end of life.