Deadline on medically assisted dying passes with no new legislation

Jun 6, 2016

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says critically ill people in the province can seek a doctor's help to end their life even before the federal government comes up with new legislation on assisted dying. It is an issue being watched on both sides of the Canadian-U.S. border.

The Supreme Court last year struck down the ban on assisted dying as a violation of the Charter right to life, liberty and security of the person. Monday marked the Supreme Court of Canada deadline for the federal government to come up with a new law, but the legislation from the Liberal government remains before the Senate. A vote is not expected until at least Friday.

Wynne says the province worked with the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons so protocols would be in place. She says people will still need to go through their family doctor, but will not have to go to court "to get medically assisted death service.

Ontario is also setting up a referral service so physicians unwilling or unable to provide medically assisted dying can connect patients with those who are willing.

Health Minister Eric Hoskins says Ontario will also ensure that drugs for medically-assisted dying will be available at no cost. He also urged the federal government to pass legislation on assisted dying as quickly as possible so a national framework could be established on the practice.