You will find here all the information you need to better understand the issues surrounding assisted suicide and euthanasia in Canada.
July 11, 2019 RISE OF MAiD DEMANDS IN MANITOBA
According to Shared Health Manitoba, medical aid in dying demands rose from 2018 to 2019 in Manitoba.
June 17, 2019 OTTAWA RELEASES $50M NATIONAL DEMENTIA STRATEGY
The federal government is releasing a national strategy on dementia that focuses on preventing the affliction, supporting caregivers and finding cures. According to federal statistics, more than 419,000 Canadian seniors have been diagnosed with some form of dementia, and they rely on an average of 26 hours a week of help from relatives and friends.
Hospice Southeast New Brunswick has launched a $5-million capital campaign to build the first residential hospice in the region. The bilingual 10-bed hospice is scheduled to open in late 2020 and will include a pediatric palliative care bed.
June 12, 2019 CANADA WELCOMES REPORT ADVOCATING NATIONAL DRUG COVERAGE
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Liberals are committed to instituting a national pharmacare program, after an advisory committee’s report recommending the extension of prescribed drug coverage.
While such a system would cost the federal government billions of dollars annually, Dr. Eric Hoskins — the former Ontario health minister that headed the advisory committee — warned that the current patchwork of public and private prescription drug coverage is unsustainable.
“(The costs) will be significantly less than if we do nothing,” Hoskins told reporters at a press conference in Ottawa.
Ontario’s highest court ruled unanimously that doctors in the province with conscientious objection must give referrals for medical services they are opposed with, calling it a compromise that balances the rights of physicians and the interests of patients.
An article in MacLean’s Magazine entitled For people with dementia, a fight for the right to die promotes euthanasia for people with dementia.
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition analyzed the numbers from the Fourth Interim Report on Euthanasia and found out they were inaccurate and incomplete. The report has wrongly calculated the percentage of deaths by euthanasia as 1.12% when it is actually 1.46%.
April 25, 2019 FOURTH INTERIM REPORT ON EUTHANASIA IN CANADA
Based on available data, there were at least 2,614 euthanasias in Canada between January 1 and October 31, 2018. Euthanasias accounted for approximately 1.12% of all deaths in Canada during this period. Of these deaths, cancer was the most frequently cited underlying medical condition, accounting for approximately 64% of all euthanasias.
Ms Devandas Aguilar, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, met with Federal Government April 2nd-12th. On her report, she writes:
” I am extremely concerned about the implementation of the legislation on medical assistance in dying from a disability perspective. I have been informed that there is no protocol in place to demonstrate that persons with disabilities have been provided with viable alternatives when eligible for assistive dying. I have further received worrisome claims about persons with disabilities in institutions being pressured to seek medical assistance in dying, and practitioners not formally reporting cases involving persons with disabilities. I urge the federal government to investigate these complaints and put into place adequate safeguards to ensure that persons with disabilities do not request assistive dying simply because of the absence of community-based alternatives and palliative care. ”
The legalization of euthanasia – called medical assistance in dying (MAID) — in Canada has resulted in some people choosing to donate their bodies to anatomy programs, but it has raised profound ethical issues.
Bruce Wainman, of McMaster University, said the anatomical scientist community needs to establish guidelines around these donations. There are issues about the appropriateness of accepting or using MAID body donations; communication with donors, informed consent, and the transparency surrounding MAID donation with staff, faculty and students.
“We had zero direction on this,” Dr. Wainman said. “There’s absolutely nothing in law talking about the acquisition of bodies after medical assistance in dying.”
Nova Scotia legislation that presumes consent for organ donations is poised to become law, with a key official saying the new system will address concerns raised by civil libertarians and others.
Once passed, the legislation isn’t expected to take effect for at least a year to allow time for planning, education and public awareness.
A new study out of McGill University shows that the next generation of Canadian physicians will be more open to helping their ailing patients end their lives through medical assistance in dying (MAID).
Of 1,200 medical students surveyed during the 2016-2017 academic year, 71 per cent reported they would be willing to provide legal medical assistance in dying to their patients.
Helping people in First Nations in Ontario develop a palliative care strategy for their community is an issue Holly Prince, who is a project manager at Lakehead University’s Centre for Research and Education on Aging and Health (CERAH) in Thunder Bay, has been working on for years.
Her efforts lead her to be named the Innovator of the Year, in 2018, by the International Congress on Palliative Care.
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced the establishment of the Canadian Pain Task Force at the Canadian Pain Society’s 40th Annual Scientific Meeting in Toronto. The Canadian Pain Task Force will help the Government of Canada to address the barriers that may prevent people with chronic pain from receiving the health services they need.
March 28, 2019 ONTARIO EUTHANASIA DEATHS INCREASE BY 78%
The 2018 Ontario report states that there were 2529 reported assisted deaths since legalization (June 17, 2016)
According to the Ontario Coroner’s office there were 1499 reported assisted deaths in 2018, 841 reported assisted deaths in 2017 and 189 reported assisted deaths in 2016.
A poll of Albertans shows that 80 per cent support the idea that publicly-funded hospitals in the province should be required to allow medically-assisted death if the hospital is physically capable of doing so.
As well, 77 per cent disagree with the province’s current practice of allowing hospitals to refuse to allow the service because of their beliefs or religious affiliation, says the poll.
March 9, 2019 PALLIATIVE CARE TEAM HELPS THE HOMELESS
The Palliative Education and Care for the Homeless (PEACH) in Toronto takes care of the homeless people in the city, providing for them with palliative care.
A new training program in Thunder Bay will provide shelter support workers with knowledge and training on how to support homeless people dealing with life-threatening illnesses or in need of palliative services.
6 March 2019 EUTHANASIA NUMBERS ON THE RISE IN ALBERTA (+50%)
The number of euthanasia cases in Alberta has now reached 600 since the implentation of the practice according to Alberta Health Services data.
February 13, 2019 AT LEAST 14 ISLANDERS HAVE NOW RECEIVED EUTHANASIA
Bill C-14 became law in June 2016, allowing medical assistance in dying. From that time until the end of October 2018, Health PEI received 22 requests for the service, and 13 patients were euthanised. Health PEI had previously reported six of those deaths were in 2017. Most were men aged 59 to 74. In addition, a man was euthanised on February 9.
Launch of the Healthy End of Life Project (HELP) in Ottawa. The three-year research project is based on a model developed in Melbourne, Australia. It aims to help communities support people to live well at the end of their lives, surrounded by family, friends and social networks. It also aims to help people talk about death and dying and to ask for and accept help when they need it.
HELP Ottawa is a ground breaking, community-based initiative to support people with advanced age, frailty, chronic and/or life-limiting illness to live at home or in the community as long as possible. Designed to create a collaborative end of life culture, this three-year project will focus on strengthening family, community and organizational capacity while enhancing and strengthening links between health services, community programs, neighbourhoods and the broader community.
February 6, 2019 CANADIAN MEDIA PROMOTE EUTHANASIA LOBBY PETITION
Several of Canada’s major media have even included links to the online euthanasia lobby petition to extend euthanasia to people who are incompetent but previously requested assisted death.
February 5, 2019 CANADIAN PARLIAMENT TO DEBATE CONSCIENCE RIGHTS BILL
Bill C-418 will be debated by parliament in the near future. It makes it an offence to intimidate a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or any other health care professional for the purpose of compelling them to take part, directly or indirectly, in the provision of euthanasia.
Ontario doctors challenging a court ruling that found physicians must give referrals for medical services that clash with their moral or religious beliefs say there is no proof that removing that requirement would hamper patients seeking treatment.
While many disability groups fought the initial push to legalize assisted suicide in Canada three years ago, they are having to fight again as efforts to expand access to assisted suicide to the disabled in the country continue. In Canada, only those facing “foreseeable” death are eligible for assisted suicide. This week, two people from Montreal, Jean Truchon, 49, and Nicole Gladu, 73, started their legal battle in the Quebec Superior Court to expand access to assisted suicide to people with disabilities and severe health problems.
Jean Truchon and Nicole Gladu do not qualify to have a physician end their lives because, despite their suffering, they are not considered to be at the end of life. Ms. Gladu suffers from post-polio syndrome and Mr. Truchon has cerebral palsy.
Canadians are walking into new territory on the right to die, commencing a debate over whether Parliament should allow minors and the mentally ill to end their lives with the help of a doctor. Just days before breaking for the holidays, the Liberal government received three expert panel reports from the Council of Canadian Academies which looked at the possibility of extending medical assistance in dying (MAID) to ‘mature’ minors — people under age 18 considered by doctors to be capable of directing their own care — people with psychiatric conditions and those making requests in advance.
December 12, 2018 REPORT OF CCA ON EUTHANASIA EXTENSION
In December 2016, the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) was asked by then Minister of Health Jane Philpott and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould to undertake independent reviews related to medical assistance in dying (MAID). Specifically, the CCA was tasked with examining three particularly complex types of requests for MAID that were identified for further review and study in the legislation passed by Parliament in 2016: requests by mature minors, advance requests, and requests where a mental disorder is the sole underlying medical condition.
November 15, 2018 PEOPLE SEEKING EUTHANASIA CAN NOW CALL SASK.’S HEALTH LINE
As of November 1, the provincial 811 health line — staffed with clinicians to provide general health information and advice — can connect people to the provincial manager of the MAID program.
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman has tolerated policy that caused patient suffering. Critics are demanding that Health Minister Sarah Hoffman finally order an end to a Covenant Health policy that has traumatized some terminally ill patients seeking an assisted death.
November 13, 2018 CANADIAN HOSPITAL WAITING ROOM PROMOTES EUTHANASIA
The ad makes no mention of palliative care or other means to reduce or eliminate suffering without killing. It does not describe that counseling can help people regain the desire to live. There is no hint that suicide prevention services might be available. And it obscures the fact that MAiD is a euphemism for homicide by lethal injection.Think about how shockingly far the culture of death has penetrated Canada since the country’s Supreme Court imposed it on the entire country three years ago.
November 9, 2018 THE CANADIAN EUTHANASIA EXPRESS ROLLS ON
“The right to life can be flipped into a right to die” – an opinion written by Margaret Somerville.
November 1, 2018 EUTHANASIA: WHERE DO WE STAND TWO YEARS LATER?
This article identifies issues physicians may encounter when asked to provide MAID. In addition to carefully considering and applying the eligibility criteria and safeguards in the Criminal Code, physicians involved in MAID must comply with provincial and territorial laws and regulations, reporting requirements, as well as College and hospital policies. Physicians who have provided MAID on several occasions need to ensure they continue to have a thorough approach to assessing each request for MAID based on the individual circumstances of their patient.
Audrey Parker, who has been working with the euthanasia lobby group, Dying with Dignity, is promoting the extension of euthanasia to people who are incompetent, but made a previous request, is scheduled to die by euthanasia today. Parker argues that she is dying early because if she became incompetent, she will not qualify for euthanasia in Canada.
David Anderson, MP for Cypress Hills–-Grasslands tabled Bill C-418, the Protection of Freedom of Conscience Act, to protect conscience rights for health care professionals.The purpose of the Protection of Freedom of Conscience Act is to protect the rights of health care professionals to conscientiously object to participation in medical assistance in dying (MAiD), making it an offence to intimidate or try to force a health care professional to be involved in MAiD. It also makes it an offence to fire or refuse to employ a health care professional for refusing to take part, directly or indirectly, in the provision of MAiD. Read more
October 30, 2018 WAS EUTHANASIA DISPUTE BEHIND CAM-WMA SPLIT?
A long-running dispute over euthanasia between the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and the World Medical Association (WMA) may have contributed to the CMA’s decision to resign from the global medical body, according to some Canadian doctors. Read more
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman refused Tuesday to explain what, if anything, she did to address a Covenant Health policy that forced a terminally ill patient to have her assisted-dying assessment on a sidewalk outside the Edmonton General.
Neither Covenant Health nor Alberta Health Services tracks exactly how many patients have been forced to leave Covenant’s health facilities for medical-assistance-in-dying assessments, and for the procedure itself. But new federal rules that take effect Nov. 1 will require all doctors and nurse practitioners to report that information directly to Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman, who will then forward it to Health Canada.
One-on-one interviews with eight nurses in Ontario revealed that nurses making conscientious objections to ethically-relevant policies lack concrete supports and need protection in healthcare practice settings. The authors of the Journal of Advanced Nursing study noted that healthcare practice is becoming more ethically complex, and nurses need to be able to address their issues of conscience to care that they ethically disagree with.
October 16, 2018 VANCOUVER ISLAND RECORDS HIGHEST RATE OF EUTHANASIA IN CANADA
The rate of medically assisted deaths on Vancouver Island is about five times higher than in the rest of Canada, a new report from Island Health shows.
October 16, 2018 IN CANADA, EUTHANASIA YES – PALLIATIVE CARE, NOT SO MUCH
An article written by Wesley J. Smith describing the contrast between euthanasia and palliative care in Canada.
The Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) released its policy platform for the 2019 Federal election. CARP is focusing on 19 areas for action including pressuring the government to force every medical institution that receives government funding to provide euthanasia, also known as Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).
Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children recently unveiled a plan for how to terminate the lives of terminally ill kids—with or without parental consent. This next step for physician-assisted suicide in Canada is shocking, yet unsurprising, given international trends. Read more here, here, here and here
The dispute between the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and the World Medical Association (WMA) erupted at a Reykjavik conference for the WMA this weekend, highlighting a divide among professionals on how to deal with a peer accused of passing off the work of others as his own. But what appears to be the real issue for the CMA is its failure to pass a motion during the conference to change the position of WMA on euthanasia.
Today, millions of Canadians provide informal care and support for seriously ill family members. That is why in Budget 2017 the Government of Canada announced a commitment to support family caregivers with Employment Insurance benefits that are more flexible, inclusive and easier to access.
September 22, 2018 CANADA LAYING GROUNDWORK FOR CHILD EUTHANASIA
Euthanasia, or “medical aid in dying”, was authorised by Canada’s Supreme Court in June 2016. It was a controversial decision and the controversy is far from over. Three issues were left hanging: euthanasia for “mature minors”, euthanasia for people with mental illness, and advance directives for euthanasia. The government asked the Council of Canadian Academies to produce a report on these issues by December this year.
September 15, 2018 AMEND LAW TO ALLOW ORGAN DONORS EUTHANASIA, SAY CANADIAN DOCTORS
Canadian legislation and medical protocols need to be tweaked to allow euthanasia with organ donation, according to an opinion piece in the New England Journal of Medicine. Two doctors from Western University, in Ontario, and Robert Truog, a Harvard Medical School bioethicist, outline the changes that will be needed to ensure that patients can give as many healthy organs as possible.
The Journal of the World Medical Association (WMJ) in its August 2018 edition reported that the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) are pressuring the World Medical Association (WMA) to change its position in opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide.
The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) Policy Convention (August 25) in Halifax overwhelmingly supported a party policy opposing the expansion of euthanasia (MAiD). The policy stated that the CPC: “Opposed the extension of euthanasia and assisted suicide to minors, to people who are not competent and people who live with psychological suffering.”
August 29, 2018 EUTHANASIA NEEDS MORE MONITORING
In the early days of Canada’s public conversation about Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID), Dr. Jeff Blackmer, then vice president of the Canadian Medical Association, expressed the gravitas of the policy choices that lay ahead as “no less than a sea change” to the ethos and culture of the medical profession.
The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association is asking the top court to reject the federal government’s contention that the facts on which the Supreme Court struck down the ban on assisted dying three years ago are not applicable to the new federal law.
An Ontario man suffering from an incurable neurological disease has provided CTV News with audio recordings that he says are proof that hospital staff offered him medically assisted death, despite his repeated requests to live at home.
Decades after Robert Latimer killed his severely disabled daughter in what he maintains was an act of mercy, his Vancouver lawyer has filed an application to have his murder conviction pardoned. Read more
June 21, 2018 NUMBER OF CANADIANS CHOOSING EUTHANASIA JUMPS 30%
There were 1,523 medically assisted deaths in Canada in the last six-month reporting period — a nearly 30 per cent increase over the previous six months. Cancer was the most common underlying medical condition in reported assisted death cases, cited in about 65 per cent of all medically assisted deaths, according to the report from Health Canada. Read more here and here
The BCCLA is headed back to court, hoping to convince a B.C. Court of Appeal judge to speed up the civil-rights group’s fight to change Canada’s doctor-assisted dying legislation. The BCCLA hopes the appeals court will allow the organization to challenge the government’s legislation, Bill C-14, at a trial, without rehashing what’s already been decided by the Supreme Court of Canada. That includes whether assisted dying is ethical and whether Canadians are in support of it.
Health Canada launched a public consultation on a framework for palliative care in Canada. A framework will help support improved access to palliative care and will provide a useful reference point across jurisdictions to help identify opportunities, address gaps, and share promising practices.
March 26, 2018 CAMPAIGN IN CANADA TO TEACH PEOPLE HOW TO DIE
Philip Nitschke, Exit International Founder, launches a campaign in Canada aimed at teaching people how to die.
March 15, 2018 OFFERED DEATH, TERMINALLY ILL ONTARIO MAN FILES LAWSUIT
Roger Foley launches a lawsuit alleging that Ontario health officials will not provide him with the care he desires but instead offer assisted suicide.
February 1, 2018 57 NEW BRUNSWICKERS HAVE RECEIVED ASSISTED SUICIDE
January 31, 2018 ONTARIO SUPERIOR COURT RULES ON PHYSICIANS
January 29, 2018 BC HAS THE HIGHEST RATE OF ASSISTED SUICIDE IN CANADA
“In fact, in the first 11 months of 2017, nearly half of all medically assisted deaths in British Columbia happened in areas covered by Island Health. In this region, which includes Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, 3.5 per cent of all deaths were medically assisted, compared to just 1.7 per cent for the whole province. “
January 18, 2018 NS MAN CAN’T RECEIVED ASSISTED SUICIDE
A Nova Scotian is unable to receive assisted suicide due to a lack of personnel.
The province is under fire for allowing faith-based hospitals in Alberta to deny the rights of patients who want medically assisted death. Brad Peter from Dying with Dignity Canada joins Shaye Ganam to talk about a petition is urging people to take a stand.
January 15, 2018 NEW PETITION CALLS ON FAIR ACCESS TO ASSISTED SUICIDE
Dying with Dignity releases a new petition calling on Canada to ensure fair access to euthanasia at all health facilities.
January 11, 2018 DO RELIGIOUS HOSPITALS HAVE TO BE FORCED TO OFFER EUTHANASIA?
The transfer of a patient from Vancouver’s Saint Paul Hospital raises the question of whether religious hospitals should be forced to offer euthanasia within their walls.
January 7, 2018 ASSISTED SUICIDE SPARKS SCANDAL AT CANDIAN JEWISH ELDERLY HOME
A Jewish Care Home files a complaint against a euthanasia doctor for sneaking into the institution and euthanising a patient. Read more