Physicians and nurse practitioners are legally permitted to assist in the death of a competent and consenting adult with a grievous and irremediable medical condition who is suffering intolerably and whose death is reasonably foreseeable. The federal government’s Bill C-14 received royal assent and became law on June 17, 2016.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) has issued guidance for medical assistance in dying (Policy Statement # 4-16) that complies with the federal legislation. It outlines professional and legal obligations that apply to medical-assistance in dying, eligibility criteria for patients, and guidance for physicians on practice-related elements.
The CPSO's Physician Advisory Services is available to discuss questions (1.800.268.7096 ext. 606 or 416.967.2606). The public and patients can address questions to the CPSO at 1.800.268.7096 ext. 603.
In the days and weeks ahead family physicians and nurse practitioners will likely see an increase in questions from patients about medical assistance in dying. If this is the first time a patient has raised end-of-life wishes, it is important to engage in a broader discussion about palliative care and end-of-life care support. For many people, a palliative approach to care can help manage their medical and psychosocial concerns. For patients who want to ensure that the option of assisted death is available to them, the CPSO's guidance outlines the necessary process to follow.
Information will be added to this page as new resources become available.
New MAID Resource from the Centre for Effective Practice
To support physicians and nurse practitioners, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care engaged the Centre for Effective Practice to develop a resource to help clinicians better understand the process to be undertaken for the provision of MAID.
The goal of this resource is to support physicians and nurse practitioners with the provision of MAID and to implement a consistent approach to the process within Ontario. The resource summarizes the requirements outlined in the federal legislation and guidelines by various provincial regulatory colleges, and presents them in a logical sequential order to support clinicians with a patient request for MAID.
This resource also highlights key considerations and recommends processes for the provision of MAID by medical and nurse practitioners based on extensive consultations with key stakeholder organizations and regulatory bodies. It is intended to supplement, not circumvent, existing regulatory body requirements or institutional processes that have been implemented
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
On December 7, 2016, the Ontario government introduced the Medical Assistance in Dying Statute Law Amendment Act, 2016. The legislation seeks to provide clarity and legal protections for clinicians and patients navigating MAID and establish a new role for the Coroner in overseeing MAID deaths.
The news release outlining the key areas of the proposed legislation can be viewed here. A backgrounder providing information about the amendments that would take effect if the legislation passes can be viewed here.
Canadian Medical Association
Canadian Medical Protective Association
Joint Centre for Bioethics (JCB), University of Toronto
College of Family Physicians of Canada
Ontario Hospital Association
Provincial and Federal Reports and Relevant Legislation