Canadians Can Choose Health Services Based on Spiritual Beliefs

We often get questions about the rights of Canadians to choose healthcare services based on spiritual beliefs.

The PMA currently has PMA licensed practitioners in all fifty states of the USA and in sixteen other countries including Canada.  The PMA License is a license to practice natural healthcare under the auspicious of the religious rights as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights (and others).

 In light of today’s political climate, We never know what a government will or will not do. Therefore we cannot say with any certainty what the Canadian government(s) will allow. We do know that the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms allows Freedom of religion – In 1955, the Supreme Court ruled in Chaput v. Romain, regarding Jehovah’s Witnesses, that different religions have rights, based upon tradition and the rule of law (at the time no statutes formed the basis for this argument).

In Syndicat Northcrest v. Amselem (2004), the Supreme Court drew up a definition of freedom of religion under the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, mindful of the overlap with section 2(a). The majority found freedom of religion encompasses a right to religious practices if the individual has a sincere belief that the practice is connected to religion. It would not matter whether the practice was needed according to religious authority. If courts can believe an individual is telling the truth in saying a practice is connected to religion, the courts then ask whether the infringement of freedom of religion is severe enough to trigger section 2. The Court also said religious beliefs are vacillating, so courts trying to determine an individual belief should be mindful that beliefs may change.

Following this test in Multani v. Commission Scolaire Marguerite Bourgeoys (2006), the Court found freedom of religion should protect a non-violent Sikh student’s right to wear a Kirpan (dagger) in school. In R. v. N.S., 2012 SCC 72, the Supreme Court sought to find a middle ground on the issue of whether a witness can wear a face-covering Niqab while testifying in a criminal trial. The court found that the right to religious freedom must be balanced against the right of the accused to a fair trial.

For more information about Canadian actions and procedures, read this essay.