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Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada - Ethics Resources

In April 2015, the JCB commissioned a task force on medical assistance in dying (MAID, previously referred to as physician-assisted death) to anticipate and respond to ethical issues related to the implementation of MAID in Canada. A core commitment of the JCB Task Force was to develop ethically sound and evidence-informed guidance for policymakers, health professionals, patients, and the public. In so doing, the JCB seeks to advance understanding of MAID, facilitate collaboration across different stakeholders, and promote consistency across the health system where possible.

The JCB Task Force is co-chaired by Sally Bean (Senior Ethicist and Policy Advisor, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre) and Dr. Philip Hébert (Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine). It comprises an interdisciplinary group of scholars, practitioners, regulators, and community members working locally and provincially as well as institutional collaborations with the Ontario Hospital Association, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, and others. Its focus on developing guidance, tools and resources (see below) to address critical ethical issues of assisted dying implementation in Ontario‚Äôs health system.

Last February, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a deadline of February 6, 2016 following its unanimous Carter vs. Canada decision which would give Canadians access to assisted dying. The deadline has since been extended by four months to June 6, 2016 after an application to the Supreme Court of Canada by the Attorney General in January 2016.

 

Current JCB Task Force Initiatives

The working groups of the JCB Task Force are currently developing:

  1. A model institutional policy and patient pathway within and across care settings,
  2. Educational materials for health professionals,
  3. Resources for patients/families, and
  4. Ethical guidance on capacity assessment involving requests from persons with an underlying mental health diagnosis.
The JCB Task Force is working toward the timely release of guidance and resources by June 2016.

 

JCB Task Force Resources

Tools:
Medical Assistance in Dying Policy Template (October 1, 2016) pdf link

Key Considerations for Addressing Interim Requests for a Physician-Assisted Death Exemption pdf link

After Carter v. Canada: Physician Assisted Death in Canada - Report and Recommendations pdf link

Discussion Paper:
An Ethics-based Analysis and Recommendations for Implementing Physician-Assisted Dying in Canada pdf link

Briefing Document:
A Review of the Literature on Capacity Assessment Tools within Mental Health Practice pdf link

 

Other Key Guidance Documents

Ontario Hospital Association - Bill C-14: An Act to Amend the Criminal Code and to Make Related Amendments to Other Acts (Medical Assistance in Dying) pdf link

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario - Interim Guidance on Physician-Assisted Death - 10 Things The Public Should Know pdf link

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario - Interim Guidance on Physician-Assisted Death web link

Parliament of Canada - Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying web link

Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying (Final Report) pdf link

Supreme Court of Canada Decision - Carter v. Canada (January 15, 2016) web link

Supreme Court of Canada Decision - Carter v. Canada (February 6, 2015) web link

 

JCB in the News

May 5, 2016: Jennifer Gibson (JCB Director), House Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights - Meeting No. 14 JUST - Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights web link

April 17, 2016: Jennifer Gibson (JCB Director), Jeff Blackmer and James Downar (MHSc Graduates / JCB Members), CBC Radio - What do you think of the government's proposed law on assisted death? web link

April 14, 2016: Jeff Blackmer (MHSc Graduate / JCB Member), Reuters - Canada draft law to allow assisted suicide, exclude tourists web link

April 14, 2016: James Downar, Jeff Blackmer and Mark Handelman (MHSc Graduates / JCB Members), National Post - What's a 'reasonably forseeable' death? Experts clash over criteria in Canada's new assisted-suicide law web link

March 22, 2016: James Downar (MHSc Graduate / JCB Member), The Current - CBC Radio - Assisted dying: Doctors struggle with how to help patients end their lives web link

March 19, 2016: Kerry Bowman (JCB Member), Metro News - What's known and still unknown in Canada's doctor-assisted death debate web link

March 18, 2016: Kerry Bowman (JCB Member), lfpress.com - Toronto man granted doctor-assisted death has died web link

February 29, 2016: Veronique Fraser (JCB Fellow 2014-15), Impact Ethics - The Unwilling Ethicist and Assisted Dying web link

February 5, 2016: JCB Physician-Assisted Death Implementation Task Force - JCB Task Force Outlines Key Considerations for Addressing Interim Requests for Physician-Assisted Dying in Canada

February 3, 2016: JCB Physician-Assisted Death Working Group - JCB Working Group Explores the Ethical Dimensions Related to Implementing Physician-Assisted Death

January 26, 2016: Jennifer Gibson (JCB Director), CBC News - Vulnerable Canadians 'at risk of being encouraged to seek an assisted death,' panel hears web link

January 26, 2016: Jennifer Gibson (JCB Director as co-chair of the Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying), Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying (Meetings) - Physician-Assisted Dying web link

January 2016: Trudo Lemmens (JCB Member) and James Downar (MHSc Graduate), U of T Medicine Magazine - Dying for a Conversation web link

January 11, 2016: Trudo Lemmens (JCB Member), The Globe and Mail - Why we must move cautiously on doctor-assisted dying web link

January 1, 2016: JCB Task Force on Physician-Assisted Death, The National Post - If doctors have exhausted every last option, is it ethical to grant a child's wish to die? web link

December 17, 2015: Jennifer Gibson (JCB Director), U of T News - U of T experts offer recommendations on physician-assisted dying web link

December 16, 2015: Jennifer Gibson (JCB Director), The Current - CBC radio - Physician-assisted death report offers roadmap for application of law web link

December 14, 2015: Jennifer Gibson (JCB Director), The Globe and Mail - Expert panel calls for equal access to publicly funded doctor-assisted dying web link

December 14, 2015: Jennifer Gibson (JCB Director), CBC News - Physician-assisted death should be based on decision-making capacity, not age: Ontario report web link

November 18, 2015: Jeff Blackmer and James Downar (MHSc Gradudates / JCB Members), The Hamilton Spectator - Doctors gather to talk about assisted death web link

September 10, 2015: Jennifer Gibson (JCB Director), Global News - Election 2015: Is Canada ready for physician-assisted death? web link

August 24, 2015: Jennifer Gibson (JCB Director), The Toronto Star - Physician assisted dying should be an election issue web link

August 14, 2015: Jennifer Gibson (JCB Director), The Toronto Star - Ontario leads cross-Canada panel on doctor-assisted death web link

 

Media

Please contact Laurie Bulchak, Web & Communication Administrator (laurie.bulchak@utoronto.ca) with any questions.