Feds Miss Assisted Dying Deadline
Prince George, B.C. – Starting today, assisted dying is no longer illegal in Canada though legislation regulating its practice has not met the Supreme Court of Canada’s June 6, 2016 deadline.
As for what this means for our province, B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake and Attorney General Suzanne Anton have released a joint statement on the matter.
They said of Bill C-14, the bill presented in parliament: “We are hopeful this legislation will be passed quickly so B.C. and other provinces and territories can move forward with a clear and consistent approach to delivering this new service for patients.”
They say in the meantime the Province will be guided by the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling released in February, 2015.
“Our ministries are working together, alongside the province’s professional regulatory colleges and other partners, to ensure safeguards are in place to protect vulnerable patients. This work aims to make medical assistance in dying in B.C. appropriate, available, and well-monitored even before federal legislation is in place.”
They add doctors must abide by the standards set out by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC.
“In an effort to ensure strong safeguards to protect vulnerable patients, the college has strengthened direction to doctors by elevating advice on how best to care for patients seeking medical assistance in dying from guidelines to standards. This provides clearer direction to doctors on determining eligibility and following the most appropriate and safe procedures.”
They note the government has amended the regulations under B.C.’s Health Professions Act “to give the college’s recently released standards the weight of law as of June 6, 2016. We have also direction each health authority to appoint a co-ordinator for medical assistance in dying.”
Both acknowledge the Supreme Court decision only clearly refers to doctors though, not nurses.
“The College of Registered Nurses and the College of Pharmacists are working to support registrants in getting legal clarity on medical assistance in dying to further support patient access.”