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Statement from the Canadian Nurses Association on the passage of Bill C-14 - June 20 2016

Ottawa, June 17, 2016 — “The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) today welcomes the passing of Bill C-14, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code and to Make Related Amendments to Other Acts (Medical Assistance in Dying). The successful passage of this piece of legislation at third reading in the Senate opens the door for eligible patients seeking assisted dying while protecting care providers. The legislation strikes a delicate balance, which includes welcome amendments proposed by the Senate, between compassionate care and a safeguard to protect the most vulnerable Canadians while ensuring protection from criminal prosecution for nurses and their colleagues who make up the health-care team.

“We would like to thank members of both the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada for their thoughtful and collaborative work on behalf of Canadians. We would also like to thank the chairs and members of the special joint committee on physician-assisted dying, the House of Commons standing committee on justice and human rights, and the Senate standing committee on legal and constitutional affairs for inviting CNA to present our recommendations on this important issue. CNA acknowledges this comprehensively consultative process and encourages ongoing consultation as the legislation evolves incrementally over time to reflect the desires and needs of Canadians.

By passing Bill C-14 today, parliamentarians eliminated the uncertainty around medical assistance in dying. While the legislation will contribute to the harmonization of approaches across Canada, CNA president Karima Velji points out that ”extensive work is still required across jurisdictions and among health-care stakeholders, including regulatory bodies, educators and employers to ensure a harmonized approach across Canada. For its part, CNA is continuing to work with national and provincial/territorial-level nursing stakeholders to develop a nursing framework on medical assistance in dying, in parallel with their ongoing work to advocate for palliative and end-of-life care. We support the implementation of this new compassionate practice.”