Statement on B-C14 (Medical Aid in Dying)

On Monday, May 30, 2016, Bill C-14 An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying) passed the report stage in the House of Commons. With the passage of Bill C-14 by the House of Commons, the Hospice Palliative Care Ontario (HPCO) and the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) remain committed to promoting access to hospice palliative care for all Canadians. We continue to strive to improve the quality of living and dying for persons with Continue reading →

End-of-life decisions Canadians face go beyond assisted suicide debate

When CBC producer Lynn Burgess started working on a documentary series on assisted suicide for The National six months ago, she “sensed a profound public fatigue with the right-to-die issue in Canada.” It was clear to Burgess that there was a greater need to focus the camera on Canadians and the broader end-of-life decisions they face. The series, entitled “Last Right” and beginning its nationwide run tonight, is intended to broaden the national conversation beyond the right-to-die debate. Burgess believes that “what we’re hearing this week from Continue reading →

Supreme Court rules consent required before ending care

The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an appeal by doctors at a Toronto hospital who sought to withdraw treatment from Hassan Rasouli, a severely brain-damaged patient who they say has no hope of recovery. Mr. Rasouli has been in a persistent vegetative state and ventilator dependent since October 2010. After an extensive internal review and discussion with the family, the hospital made the decision that CPR and intensive life support was not the standard of care for patients with this diagnosis, as no prolonged medical Continue reading →

British Columbia Court of Appeal upholds ban on assisted suicide

In a split two-to-one decision yesterday, the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled to uphold Canada’s ban on physician-assisted suicide. The federal government had previously appealed the landmark ruling of Carter v. Canada, which stated that voluntary euthanasia should be allowed under strict conditions. The British Columbia Supreme Court ruled last year that prohibiting assisted suicide violated the Charter rights of gravely ill Canadians. “These are complex issues that involve real people and real emotional situations,” said Hugh Scher, the legal counsel for the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. Continue reading →

Let’s talk about dying in Canada

What will I want or need at the end of life? Will I suffer pain and need medication to manage my symptoms? How can I let my family and friends know my wishes and preferences for end-of-life care? What help is available to me? Will I suffer from a chronic illness and feel like a burden to others? What decisions will I have to make? Many Canadians find themselves asking these questions as they near end-of-life. They are unsure what to expect, leading them to ask how they want to Continue reading →

Let’s Talk About Hospice Palliative Care First

Today (June 12, 2013) in the Quebec National Assembly, the Dying with Dignity Bill was tabled by the Minister for Social Services and Youth Protection Véronique Hivon. The bill would allow for physician assisted dying in cases of patients near death who are suffering and have requested assisted suicide.  The Assembly adjourns for the summer this Friday so the debate and vote on the bill won’t happen until fall.  Should the bill pass, it will have complex and confounding implications for end-of-life care in Quebec and Canada. Continue reading →