Ontario passes assisted dying law

Xavier Symons
May 19, 2017
Reproduced with Permission

Ontario has passed detailed new legislation to facilitate Medical Assistance in Dying in the province.

Earlier this month, lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favour of what is known as "Bill 84" - a bill that amends six several Ontario laws that potentially impede the implementation of federal law on euthanasia.

Among the various provisions, Bill 84 ensures that patients who receive euthanasia will be eligible for insurance and workplace safety benefits. Their deaths will not be documented as suicide, but rather will be attributed to an underlying illness or condition.

The legislation also limits public access to identifiable information on individuals and facilities who provide MAID, and ensures that practitioners and institutions are protected from civil liability, except in the case of negligence.

"It is critical that end-of-life care, including medical assistance in dying, is provided safely and compassionately", Dr Eric Hoskins , Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, said. "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."

Critics of the bill argue that it fails to provide adequate exemptions for practitioners who conscientious object to participation in MAID.

A group of Ontario-based healthcare professionals held a press conference at the Ontario Legislative Building early this week, telling reporters that law could force practitioners to leave the profession because of their conscientious objection to euthanasia.