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Desperate times, desperate measures

One resident in Ontario on disability payments who is one step away from being homeless is opting to apply for medically assisted death. The program is creating conversations on how the disabled in Canada are supported.

What does it mean to be Canadian? I think the general values and opportunities available can provide a sense of security, support and good quality of life in translation to many other hot spots globally. Otherwise, why would immigrants flock to a country that has only recently surpassed 150 years of structure compared to ancient communities—centuries old? 

By no means do I think prosperity is guaranteed in  this country, but it has always seemed and offered a safe zone to not only me but many around this country. However, last week one of the most troubling experiences of a Canadian opting to end his life due to financial woes created a new perception. 

Amir Farsoud, a 54-year-old resident in Ontario, who has not only felt the impacts of inflation but the crippling disadvantages of being a disabled person, has subscribed to the Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) program offered in Canada. The program aims to alleviate the pain and suffering caused by “serious illness, disease or disability,” according to the law and has been allowing individuals to end their life since 2016. 

Farsoud’s reasoning for applying is purely based on the fact that his physical and medical requirements can no longer be supported by the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)—which is similar to the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) payments for challenged people in this province.  

Opting to seek approval to die in Canada to avoid homelessness, this story is telling of the climate many in this country face. 

I don’t think this is the last we will hear of cases like Farsoud, who is forced to make these decisions under duress. It is unimaginable to think the financial, social, physical and housing crisis throughout this country could cause others to subscribe to the  MAID program to avoid the same potential outcome. 

In recent weeks, this story has travelled and seen calls for support and is changing the fabric of not only what programs and services tax dollars fund but how politicians have alienated citizens in need. Farsoud who has not only paid taxes, but his injury is a result of a workplace incident, his story is opening a discussion I think is needed: what are we doing to create a better community? 

In less than a week, the public outcry has seen over $60,000 raised to support him through a Go Fund Me campaign. And in the coming weeks, I hope the public support won’t be the final solution, but rather, a framework to apply support or services for Canadians one step away from homelessness.