On February 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that individuals with a grievous and irremediable medical condition (as a result of disease, illness or disability) that causes suffering that is intolerable to the individual could receive assistance to die through the prescription or administration of life-ending medication. Since then, the federal government appointed an all-party committee of MPs and Senators to make recommendations on how to implement assisted dying.
On February 25, that federal joint special committee released its recommendations for implementing medical assistance in dying. The government must now decide whether to accept these recommendations and reflect them in legislation. CARP polled its members to inform its position on this highly sensitive issue. The responses will serve as a guide in drafting consultation materials provided to the government, highlighting what CARP member’s think about key recommendations drafted by the Committee report.
Over 6,000 members took part in the CARP poll to share their opinion on the Committee’s recommendations. Eight in -ten CARP members support the Committee recommendation that individuals with a grievous and irremediable medical condition causing enduring suffering be able to have assistance to die.
Eight out of ten CARP members agreed or strongly agreed that medical assistance to die should be provided in publicly funded healthcare institutions, such as hospitals, hospices and long-term care homes.
Two-thirds of CARP members support the committee’s recommendation that medical assistance to die should not include a prior review and an approval process. An overwhelming majority (85%) supports the recommendations that the period of reflection in legislation should be flexible and take into account the nature of the patient’s medical condition.
When asked about health practitioners’ freedom of conscience and the need to respect a patient seeking medical assistance in dying, 87% percent of CARP members polled supported the recommendation expressing that, at minimum, the objecting practitioner should provide a referral.
Eight out of ten CARP members polled support an advance request for medical assistance in dying for an individual diagnosed with a grievous and irremediable medical condition, such as dementia.
Federal, provincial and territorial governments have until June 6, 2016 to respond and enact legislation or regulations that do not conflict with the Supreme Court’s decision.
CARP will work with all levels of government to make sure the needs of Canadians are represented in the framework put forward and that Canadians know and understand all health care options available to them.
Put your views into action. CARP members who support the recommendations of the Special Joint Committee can use the email your MP tool created by Dying With Dignity Canada. CARP members who are opposed can add their voice to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition’s Petition.
Click here to read the full document; ‘Medical Assistance in Dying – A Patient Centred Approach: Report of the Special Joint Committee on Physician Assisted Dying.‘
See the full CARP poll results here