Assisted dying regulations to come into force

by Joe Rosengarten17 Aug 2018

The Government of Canada yesterday published final regulations which form the basis of a federal pan-Canadian monitoring system on medical assistance in dying.

The regulations, which will come into force November 1, 2018, set out reporting requirements for physicians and nurse practitioners who receive written requests for medical assistance in dying. The regulations also set guidelines for pharmacists who dispense medication for assisted dying. Providers have until November 1st to become familiar with the new reporting requirements.

The latest news comes after parliament passed legislation that allows eligible Canadian adults to request medical assistance in dying on June 17, 2016. The legislation is now part of the Criminal Code and exempts physicians and nurse practitioners from certain criminal offences if they provide or assist in providing medical assistance in dying according to the eligibility requirements and safeguards in the law.

According to the latest data, there have been 3,714 medically assisted deaths in Canada since the legislation was enacted, with medically assisted deaths accounting for approximately 1.07% of all deaths nationally. The majority of Canadians who received assistance in dying were between 56 and 90 years old. The average age was approximately 73 years old.

"Medical assistance in dying is a sensitive, complex issue and many Canadians have deeply-held views on the subject,” said Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor. “We are committed to ensuring that Canadians who choose medical assistance in dying have access to these services. These regulations promote transparency and will help us monitor how this service is being implemented across the country."

Any personal data collected will be protected under the federal Privacy Act, but will be used to publish annual reports on medical assistance in dying in Canada, including the number of requests received, the number of medically assisted deaths and the number of people found ineligible.

Health Canada expects to continue to produce interim reports until the permanent monitoring and reporting system is operational. Annual federal reporting using the data collected under the regulations is expected to begin in 2019.


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