News Release

College provides guidance on physician-assisted death

Jun 06, 2016

Physician-assisted dying is now legal in Canada and the College policy on Physician-Assisted Death is in place to support patients and physicians in the absence of federal legislation.

The College policy is consistent with the College’s interim guidance on physician-assisted death developed earlier this year. “Our policy is designed to provide clarity, and is mirrored on the Carter decision,” noted College President Dr. Joel Kirsh.

The federal government’s proposed legislation (Bill C-14) is currently making its way through the legislative process.  In addition to developing the Physician-Assisted Death policy, the College has also developed a draft policy, Medical Assistance in Dying, which will reflect the federal law. This policy is still in draft form, but will be finalized whenever the federal legislation is passed into law.  The College undertook work on both policies to ensure that it could continue to provide the public and the profession with guidance on this important issue, regardless of the progress of Bill C-14 through the Parliament and Senate.

“Either way, patients and physicians will not be left to consider PAD (or MAiD) in a vacuum.  We will work as necessary to ensure that the College continues to provide accurate and effective guidance to the profession and public on this important and challenging topic as it evolves,” said Dr. Kirsh.

We commend the Government of Ontario for establishing a referral service to help facilitate access and support physicians to make an effective referral.  This is an important element of our policy to ensure there are no barriers for patients.

The policy is available on our website.