May 9, 2017 (Toronto, ON) – Ontario passed legislation today that will support the implementation of medical assistance in dying in the province by providing more protection and greater clarity for patients, their families, health care providers and health care institutions.
Federal legislation, which came into force in June 2016, sets out the parameters for how medical assistance in dying can be provided. Ontario’s Medical Assistance in Dying Statute Law Amendment Act aligns with the federal legislation and will address areas that fall under provincial jurisdiction.
“It is critical that end-of-life care, including medical assistance in dying, is provided safely and compassionately. This legislation will help ensure that patients, health care providers and health care institutions have more clarity and effective legal protection when medical assistance in dying takes place. ”
— Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
The Medical Assistance in Dying Statute Law Amendment Act will ensure:
• Benefits, such as insurance payments and workplace safety and insurance benefits, are not denied only because of a medically assisted death
• Physicians and nurse practitioners, those who assist them, and care provider institutions, are protected from civil liability when lawfully providing medical assistance in dying, except in cases of negligence
• Identifiable information about individuals and facilities that provide medical assistance in dying are protected from disclosure under access to information requests
• Effective ongoing reporting and monitoring by the Chief Coroner of Ontario for cases of medical assistance in dying
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care will also be establishing a care coordination service to assist patients and caregivers in accessing additional information and services for medical assistance in dying and other end-of-life options.
Ontario has also worked with many health care partners to develop information, tools and training to support patients, caregivers and health care providers on medical assistance in dying-related matters.
• Ontario’s health regulatory colleges for physicians, nurses and pharmacists provide additional guidance to help their members provide appropriate medical assistance in dying.
• Ontario has established a Clinician Referral Service to support physicians and nurse practitioners in making effective referrals for patients seeking medical assistance in dying.
• Ontario’s approach to medical assistance in dying has also been informed by public consultations, with thousands of Ontarians, health care providers and stakeholders sharing their views through in-person and online consultations.
• Ontario is investing $155 million over three years to improve community-based palliative and end-of-life care.