Canadian Medical Association

In response to the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights’ report The Scars that We Carry: Forced and Coerced Sterilization of Persons in Canada – Part II, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) unequivocally denounces the practices of forced and coerced sterilization. 

As the report details, forced and coerced sterilization have a long history in Canada. Laws and government policies rooted in racism and discrimination sought to reduce births in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, Black communities, and among people with intersecting vulnerabilities relating to social and structural determinants of health, ethnicity and disability. These practices have had a disproportionate impact on equity-relevant groups and those experiencing structural vulnerabilities in Canada. The medical profession must acknowledge its role and commit to upholding its ethical obligations.  

The act of sterilization without informed and uncoerced patient consent is an absolute violation of fundamental tenets of medical ethics and the medical profession’s fundamental commitment to respect for persons, as articulated by the CMA Code of Ethics and Professionalism. The CMA supports the Senate committee’s recommendations to prohibit these practices and enhance training and regulation of medical professionals to halt these practices in the future.

Dr. Katharine Smart
CMA President

Back to top