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Medical Assistance in Dying

Advice for our members

Federal Government Introduces Bill C-14

  • On April 14, 2016 the Government of Canada introduced a bill to amend the Criminal Code to allow “medical assistance in dying” (read the bill here). While the bill is not yet law, it identifies the intent of the federal government with respect to legislating medical assistance in dying. The College is aligning its Advice to the Profession with this terminology, and will soon post an update to this document.
  • Individuals seeking PAD before June 6, 2016 can apply to a superior court in their home province for an individual exemption according to the criteria set out in the SCC decision in Carter of February 6, 2015.

To help our members prepare for the pending decriminalization of physician-assisted death (PAD), the College drafted an advice document on PAD and invited feedback from our members, other healthcare care professionals and the public, as well as stakeholders examining this issue at the provincial and national levels. During September and October 2015, we received more than 600 responses to our online survey as well as many written and emailed submissions.

We have now refined our advice for physicians based on this feedback: Advice to the Profession – Physician-Assisted Death 

The following standards of practice related to physician-assisted death are now under review: Informed Consent, Moral or Religious Beliefs Affecting Medical Care and Assessing the Mental Capacity of a Patient. Consultation took place January 7 – March 7, 2016. Council will consider consultation feedback at its May 2016 meeting, and any approved amendments will take effect in July 2016.