ontario news watch

Hospice services return to Delta, B.C., as facility reopens after lengthy fight

DELTA, B.C. — Hospice services are once again available locally to residents of Delta, B.C., as Fraser Health officially opens the Irene Thomas Hospice.

The launch ends a bitter and lengthy battle between the province and a provincially funded society that formerly operated the hospice, but refused to provide medical assistance in dying.

Members of the former Delta Hospice Society objected on religious grounds to a requirement to offer medically assisted deaths, prompting legal action, removal of provincial funding and an order for the society to vacate the facility.

Fraser Health took possession of the 10-bed hospice on March 31, and made several upgrades and repairs before the Thursday opening.

Jim Sinclair, chairman of the Fraser Health board of directors, issued a statement thanking Delta residents and city councillors for their support during the transition.

He says the reopened hospice puts patients and their families first, and ensures access to end-of-life care in a home-like setting tailored to meet all needs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press