Province takes control of assisted dying

Doctor standards given force of law in B.C. as provinces await new legislation from Justin Trudeau government

B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake

With the federal law against assisted suicide expired as of Tuesday and a replacement not yet approved in Ottawa, the B.C. government has adopted the latest doctors’ standards as the law until the situation is clarified.

New professional standards set by the College of Physicians and Surgeons for assisting a patient to die are to be enforced by regulation until the federal law is clear, B.C. Health MInister Terry Lake and Justice Minister Suzanne Anton said in a statement Monday.

“As laid out in the Supreme Court of Canada’s February 2015 ruling, doctors will no longer be prohibited from providing medical assistance in dying to competent, consenting adults who have a grievous or irremediable medical condition that causes enduring, intolerable suffering,” the statement says.

After being pushed through the House of Commons in an effort to meet the court deadline, the Justin Trudeau government’s Bill C-14 was held up in the Senate, with disagreements over assisted suicide for young people and those who are not terminally ill.

The B.C. government notes the court decision refers only to doctors. The province is consulting professional organizations for nurses and pharmacists to clarify their legal situation in participating in assisted death.

Medical assistance in dying requires the consent of two doctors “and the patient’s consistent expression of a desire for medical assistance over a reasonable period of time,” according to the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons professional standards, issued after the Carter v. Canada decision by the Supreme Court.

One of the doctors is permitted to make the decision via video link. The doctor approving a lethal dose of medication must be present during the self-administration or delivery of the medication until death is confirmed.

For doctors who object to assisting someone to die, the standards do not require a formal referral but are required to provide “an effective transfer of care” to another physician.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Kootenay snowpack nearing record levels

High snowpack can mean a greater risk of flooding in spring, say forecasters

Rossland Skating Club invites the community to Year End Show

Rossland Skating Club competed in the East Kootenay Invitational Skating Competition last week

Court loss won’t affect Rossland plastic bag ban: mayor

Mayor says community is compliant, with enforceable law or not

VIDEO: Kootenay Patricks, Montreal Canadiens play to the crowd in Nelson

The charity game was a spectacle from puck drop

Grand Forks emergency shelter to be managed by Boundary Family Services

The organization got Grand Forks city council’s approval on Jan. 15

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

Most Read