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Canada’s Health Care Providers Urge Passage of Assisted Dying Legislation

OTTAWA, June 3, 2016 Canada’s leading health care provider organizations are urging Senators to ensure the enactment of Bill C-14, Medical assistance in dying, as soon as possible.

Health care providers are deeply concerned that Parliament will not meet the June 6 deadline and disappointed that the Senate has adjourned without passing Bill C-14. Now that the deadline appears destined to be missed, health care providers and their patients expect that Senators will pass legislation at the earliest opportunity.

It is with all gravity, that the Canadian Nurses Association, Canadian Pharmacist Association, HealthCareCAN and the Canadian Medical Association are working together to advance one common imperative: the need to enact Bill C-14 as a national priority.

Without clear federal legislated safeguards in place, health care providers and their patients will face a legal grey zone, in particular given that the SCC ruling was silent on the roles of health professionals other than physicians. Further, disparities across jurisdictions will pose real consequences and concerns for a national framework, not least of which being inconsistent and patchwork rules.

We recognize that there has been significant public discourse on elements of Bill C-14, however, we are confident that this legislation is a balanced and cautious approach. We are also confident that over time, the legislative and regulatory framework governing assisted dying will be further refined.


“Medical assistance in dying is a team effort involving patients, their families, physicians, hospitals, nurses, pharmacists, and others. Failure to pass legislation urgently leaves us all in the lurch,” says Bill Tholl, President and CEO of HealthCareCAN, the national voice of Canada's hospitals and healthcare organizations.

“We are disappointed that there will be no national federal legislation in place by the deadline. While the Supreme Court Decision provides some clarity for physicians, it does not specifically address the role of pharmacists, which will cause confusion and hesitation within the profession,” says Perry Eisenschmid, CEO of the Canadian Pharmacists Association

“Physicians across the country remain uncertain and in that climate of uncertainty Canadians will be left to languish, exactly what the Supreme Court of Canada ruling in the Carter case sought to avoid. We urge the Senate to pass the Bill after they return from their hiatus next week,” says Dr. Cindy Forbes, President of the Canadian Medical Association, the voluntary professional association representing Canada’s doctors.

“Prompt passing of Bill C-14 will enable access for patients who request medical assistance in dying (MAID), and protect healthcare providers. A Bill will promote extensive work across all health professions and regulators to ensure consistent policy and practice for compassionate and safe assisted dying. It will assist regulators to provide their members with the guidance and expectations required in each jurisdiction, and offer clarity for registered nurses and nurse practitioners who play a role in MAID. CNA is steadfast in our commitment to work with patients and federal/provincial/territorial partners to deliver and monitor MAID,” says Anne Sutherland Boal, CEO, Canadian Nurses Association

For further information:

Lucie Boileau, Director of Communications, Marketing and Government Relations,
E-mail: lboileau@healthcarecan.ca,
Tel.: 855-236-0213/613-241-8005, ext. 205
Cell: 613-462-5604

Sarah Turnbull, Communications Coordinator
Canadian Medical Association
E-mail: mediainquiries@cma.ca
Tel.: 613-806-1865

Mark McCondach, Director of Communications
Canadian Pharmacists Association
E-mail: mmccondach@pharmacists.ca
Tel.: 613-523-7877, ext. 285

Kevin Ménard, Communications Advisor
Canadian Nurses Association
E-mail: kmenard@cna-aiic.ca
Tel.: 613-237-2159, ext. 543