Canadian Fashion Retailer Advertises For 'Medical Assistance In Dying' And Attempts To Glamorize Suicide

Canada has made it possible for people to opt in for something called medical assistance in dying (MAID) if they are terminally ill, which is a fancy way of saying that doctors will help people commit suicide. A fashion retailer in Canada just released an ad for MAID in an attempt to normalize and even glamorize the concept of ending your own life.

By Gina Florio2 min read
canada commercial suicide

Canada has made it possible for terminally ill patients to opt in for MAID, a medically assisted suicide. The Canadian government's website states that you must be eligible to receive health services funded by the federal government, have a "grievous and irremediable medical condition," give informed consent, and "make a voluntary request for MAID that is not the result of outside pressure or influence." However, starting on March 17, 2023, you can be eligible for MAID if you merely suffer from a mental illness. The website makes it clear: "You do not need to have a fatal or terminal condition to be eligible for medical assistance in dying."

Canadian Fashion Retailer Advertises for 'Medical Assistance in Dying' and Attempts to Glamorize Suicide

La Maison Simons is a Canadian fashion retailer that released a three-minute film on YouTube about a woman named Jennyfer who talks about the decision to end her own life. The video shows stylish, ethereal scenes of a woman on the beach with loved ones, having an outdoor party with friends, playing the cello, etc. Jennyfer's voice is in the background talking about how she has spent so much of her life searching for beauty, but now she is coming to the end of her life.

"Dying in a hospital is not what’s natural, that’s not what’s soft. In these kinds of moments you need softness... It can take dying to figure out what living is actually like," she says in the background as you watch her hug her loved ones and get a tattoo. "There is still so much beauty, you just have to be brave enough to see it."

It's meant to be a celebration of Jennyfer's life and the love she shares with her family and friends, and you feel her sadness, especially when you see the tear roll down her cheek. The whole video feels a bit creepy and dystopian, and it makes your skin crawl when you realize that they're advertising for medically assisted suicide.

The end of the video displays the message, “For Jennyfer: June 1985 to October 2022."

Previous CEO of Simons, Peter Simons, explained that this project "really pushed us to our limits" and it wasn't about advertising for themselves.

“It’s obviously not a commercial campaign,” he says. “It’s more an effort to use our freedom, our voice, and the privilege we have to speak and create every day in a way that is more about human connection. And I think we sincerely believe that companies have a responsibility to participate in communities and to help build the communities that we want to live in tomorrow, and leave to our children.”

“I admit I’m scared," Simons says about releasing the ad. "But I would say I think without perhaps courage—I say that with humility—there is no creativity and there is no possibility of making beauty.”

“We decided to try to tell her story and to—as Jennyfer would say to me—maybe create a little ripple out there, a ripple of generosity,” he says. “A ripple that might allow people to see beauty in, obviously, in the nice moments. But more importantly, to have the strength and the courage to see beauty in the more difficult moments in life.”

Many of the comments on YouTube highlight how this commercial seems to be straight out of a dystopian reality. Other comments come from a place of sadness and people offering to pray for Jennyfer and her family.

"What does this message say to someone who lives with suicidal ideation?" someone asked. This is a question that many are asking. How would a commercial like this impact someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts? Sadly, Canada has attempted to rebrand suicide as something beautiful and artistic, and we have to wonder what kind of impact this will have on its citizens.