What if Your Nonprofit Purpose is Declared Illegal?

August 3, 2011; Source: The Province |The debate over assisted suicide in the U.S. is contentious, but in Canada it has led to the rejection of a group’s request for nonprofit status.  In British Columbia, the Registrar of Companies rejected the nonprofit application of the Farewell Foundation because assisted suicide is illegal in Canada.  The Foundation has 100 members and “provide(s) comfort, care and assistance” to its members who want to pursue assisted suicide. 

Who  might be a typical member?  The article talks about 62-year-old single mother Gloria Taylor who is dying from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known to most people as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  She wants a physician-assisted suicide with the help of the Farewell Foundation and therefore wants a quick resolution of the Foundation’s appeal of the government’s rejection of its nonprofit status, but the appeal filed with the Supreme Court of Canada could take as long as five or six years to resolve, and the province is so far resisting expedited consideration of the case.  

It would seem that before this case is resolved, there will be more people like Gloria Taylor looking for support in Canada but they will be unable to find it.—Rick Cohen