Dear Ministers Jean Yves Duclos and Minister Carolyn Bennett,
I am writing on behalf of TheraPsil, a non-profit organization that advocates for access to psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for Canadians in medical need. We urge you to reconsider the recent decisions to revoke Section 56 exemptions for Janis Hughes and Thomas Hartle, two terminally ill Canadians who are seeking access to psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy as part of their end-of-life care.
We believe that there are three key reasons why Janis and Thomas should be granted access to psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy:
- Right to Die with Medical Assistance in Dying: The Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying presented its final report, which recommended making access easier for those who are considering Medical Assistance in Dying. This recommendation was made based on the belief that Canadians have the right to die with dignity, and that includes having access to all possible options for end-of-life care. Psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy should be considered as one of these options.
- Psilocybin has worked for them in the past: Both Thomas and Janis have tried psilocybin in the past, and it has been helpful for them. When Patty Hajdu granted Thomas' exemption and when Janis went underground to obtain psilocybin, it provided them with significant relief from anxiety and existential distress. We believe that they should be supported by their government, not abandoned.
- Patients are terminally ill: Janis and Thomas are both terminally ill and are engaged in a constitutional challenge that they may not see through given how long it could take. The government's decision to revoke their Section 56 exemptions has left them with limited options for end-of-life care, and we believe that this is a cruel decision.
We urge you to reconsider these decisions and grant Janis and Thomas access to psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy. This treatment has shown great promise in helping those facing end-of-life anxiety, and it is crucial that Canadians have access to all possible options for end-of-life care.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Spencer Hawkswell, TheraPsil CEO & President