In response to the Supreme Court of Canada’s (SCC) decision on physician-assisted dying (PAD) in Carter v. Canada, the Government of Ontario is working to develop a provincial approach to PAD.
The approach has been, and will continue to be informed by:
- advice received from the Provincial-Territorial (P/T) Expert Advisory Group (EAG) on PAD
- online and in-person public consultations
- discussions with numerous stakeholders
- collaboration with federal and provincial governments
As the principal advisor to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (the Ministry) on palliative and end-of-life care, the emerging provincial palliative care network will:
- highlight the need for palliative care and supports for patients and caregivers at end-of-life;
- provide education and support to health care providers to ensure high quality palliative care is delivered in Ontario to all those who need it and want it; and
- respect the legislation that will be enacted
At the regional level, you are encouraged to:
- advocate for high-quality accessible palliative care
- provide education and support to colleagues in responding to requests for PAD
- work to ensure and advocate that patients are informed of and have access to the full range of appropriate treatments, supports, and services
In December 2015 the emerging provincial palliative care network, participated in the Ministry’s PAD Consultation Process. The network will continue to work with the Ministry as they develop Ontario’s proposed approach to PAD.
- In February 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) struck down the federal law prohibiting PAD;
- Carter V. Canada Decision: A competent adult has the right to seek physician assistance to hasten his/her death if he or she
- clearly consents to the termination of life; and
- has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.
- The SCC suspended its decision for 12 months (to February 6, 2016) to provide governments and medical regulatory bodies time to develop appropriate policies and protocols related to PAD
- On December 3, 2015, the federal government, which has jurisdiction over the Criminal Code, requested a 6 month extension to the original suspension to have more time to respond
- On January 15, 2016, a 4 month extension was granted to the federal government (to June 6 2016)
However, in the extension period between February 6 and June 6, 2016, the SCC will allow individuals who meet the criteria set out in the Carter decision to apply to a provincial superior court of justice for an individual exemption.
For more information, please click here to visit the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario website.