Proposed New Legislation on Physician-Assisted Death
The issue of medically assisted death attracted a lot of attention in 2016. We blogged on the topic several times.
The federal Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying) received Royal Assent in June 2016. The federal legislation has been criticized for being too restrictive. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association has indicated it plans to challenge the constitutionality of the federal legislation.
The government of Ontario recently proposed legislation to complement the federal legislation. Some highlights of the proposed Medical Assistance in Dying Statute Law Amendment Act include:
- Patients must be competent adults over the age of 18 and suffer from incurable conditions or face a reasonably foreseeable natural death to qualify for physician-assisted death.
- All physician-assisted deaths must be reported to the Coroner, who may then choose whether or not to investigate the death.
- Physicians and nurse practitioners are not liable for any act or omission made in good faith in performing a medically-assisted death.
- Insurance and workplace compensation benefits cannot be denied to people for choosing medically assisted death.
The Medical Assistance in Dying Statute Law Amendment Act has only passed the first reading stage and may change as it is subject to second and third readings. The provincial legislature will not debate the bill again until February, when the legislature reconvenes after winter break.
Thank you for reading.