Developments to Watch

Federal Medical Assistance in Dying Legislation

On April 14, 2016, the federal Minister of Justice introduced Bill C-14: An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying).

On May 12, the Bill was reported back to the House with amendments.

On May 17, the Senate tabled a pre-study report on Bill C-14 and made a set of recommendations for amendment to the Bill.

The amended Bill C-14 is now before the House for debate.

See here for motions for amendments currently before the House.

Provincial-Territorial Medical Assistance in Dying Legislation

On June 5, 2014, the Quebec National Assembly passed “An Act respecting end of life care” (Bill 52) – legislation that specifies rights with respect to end-of-life care and regulates “continuous palliative sedation” and “medical aid in dying”.  Click here for the full text of the legislation.

The Act faced a court challenge but ultimately came into force in December 2015.  In January 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada granted an exemption to the extension on the suspension of the declaration of invalidity of the Criminal Code prohibitions on physician-assisted death – in other words, it made it clear that, because of the Quebec legislation, medical aid in dying could proceed without risk of criminal liability in Quebec even while it remained illegal in the rest of the country.

Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons

In response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General) (2015), Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons from across the country have introduced guidelines for physicians:

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