Sunday, August 21, 2016

Canadian Bar Association Resolutions relating to Medical Assistance in Dying

Last week, I attended the Canadian Bar Association National Counsel Meeting where the Canadian Bar Association passed three resolutions related to the Supreme Court of Canada deciison in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), 2015 SCC 5, and the new amendments to the Criminal Code to permit medial assistance in dying in certain circumstances.

I was particularly interested in  the resolution, which I seconded,  relating to advance requests for medical assistance in dying:
Advance Requests for Medical Assistance in Dying
WHEREAS the Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying recommended that the federal government amend the Criminal Code to permit a request for medical assistance in dying (MAID) at any time following the diagnosis of a grievous and irremediable condition when suffering becomes intolerable;
WHEREAS the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying recommended that advance requests for MAID be allowed at any time after one is diagnosed with a condition that is reasonably likely to cause loss of capacity or after diagnosis of a grievous or irremediable condition but before the suffering becomes intolerable;
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Canadian Bar Association:
1. urge the federal government to amend the Criminal Code:
a) to permit advance requests for medical assistance in dying consistent with the criteria recommended by the Provincial-Territorial Advisory Group and Special Joint Committee; and
b) to exempt from liability all persons assisting in the discussion of end of life choices, including MAID, in the context of an advance request.
2. urge each province and territory to review and, where necessary, enact legislation to permit MAID pursuant to a valid advance request, and to consider and address:
a) consistency across provinces and territories;
b) measures that adequately safeguard individuals where capacity is an issue, but do not impose undue barriers for eligible individuals who wish to make an advance request for MAID;
c) clear requirements to determine the validity of an advance request for MAID;
d) a prohibition against providing MAID based on an advance request if the grantor is capable;
e) retaining the right of every individual who has made an advance request to refuse the administration of MAID regardless of capacity; and
f) who is legally bound to comply with an advance request for MAID.

1 comment:

Joanne Taylor, Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre said...

While we appreciate that others are focused on further and future law reforms, Nidus' focus has been on the implementation of the current legislation. We've found some discrepancies in the forms produced for MAiD in BC and the federal law. We decided to produce a fact sheet in the public interest. It is posted at - click Ask Joanne in the right sidebar or