Cryonics in Canada

Cryonics is the low-temperature preservation of at least the brain immediately following death, in order to preserve the structures that encode the data of the mind. For those who will age to death prior to the advent of rejuvenation treatments in the decades ahead this is the only shot at a longer life in the future. A society with the technologies necessary to restore a cryopreserved individual to life is a society that should have no issues with regenerating a new body and repairing the damage of aging.

Cryonics remains a small industry, not all that much larger than it was in the 1970s when early amateur efforts transitioned into more professional non-profit organizations. We live in a world in which it has long been technologically feasible to prevent the absolute loss to oblivion of a majority of the people who die in any given year, yet only a vanishingly small fraction of the population seem to have any interest in this goal. The rest march in lock-step to die without making any meaningful attempts to do something about it.

Here is a short interview with the president of the Cryonics Society of Canada:

The Alcor Life Extension Foundation, and the Cryonics Institute are the two main organizations in North America that offer cryopreservation and long-term storage. They have different business structures and very different prices. KrioRus in Russia is a third option. It is the first, and currently only, cryonics company in Europe or Asia.

Each organization has a process for membership that includes the requisite paperwork. Most people that sign up opt to have their services funded through a life insurance policy. The organizations can best advise you on which insurance companies are most ideal for this purpose. You will likely pay a small amount in membership dues, and then upon pronouncement, your insurance policy (or alternate means of funding) will be applied to your immediate needs.

Cryonics is not illegal in Canada. It is regarded as an end-of-life choice, and there are no legal barriers to performing this service. The only exception is in British Columbia, which passed a law several years ago forbidding the marketing of cryonics services. Members in B.C. have been successfully cryopreserved, though, within full observation of the law.

Cryonics patients are legally dead, so although there are no specific laws which deal with cryopreservation, cryonics organizations handle patients while observing the laws governing anatomical donations of a body to science and the laws that govern the funeral service. Transportation of patients is done in collaboration with a licensed funeral director, after a person has been legally pronounced and certified as deceased by the appropriate medical provider. By keeping the wishes of the patient known, and the process transparent, legal authorities generally do not take issue with the practice.

Mainstream science has historically been skeptical of cryonics, as it is a process that cannot yet be reversed by modern technology. There has been a shift, though, in recent years, in the mainstream, where cryonics has been viewed less and less like science fiction and more like a plausible near-future advancement. How cryonicists respond is quite varied. The Cryonics Society of Canada exists to try to educate the public about cryonics and to advocate for its members. Some members are very vocal and positive about their involvement. Others prefer to keep the matter private.



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