Ontario Consulting On Physician-Assisted Dying, End-of-Life Care
End-of-life decision-making and care is a challenging and sensitive issue for patients, families and health care providers. Physician-assisted dying is part of a larger conversation on how to provide support for people at the end of their lives with compassion and dignity, while respecting their wishes for the type of care that they want to receive.
In February 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously struck down the Criminal Code prohibition against physician-assisted dying. The ruling applies to a competent adult who:
- Clearly consents to the termination of life; and
- Has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition
The court gave federal and provincial governments 12 months to respond to the ruling.
In response to this ruling, Ontario is launching a public consultation on the implementation of physician-assisted dying. This consultation is in addition to the establishment of a provincial-territorial expert advisory group that will consult with experts across Canada.
Ontarians will have the opportunity to participate through in-person consultations and are invited to share their ideas through a confidential online survey.
The feedback from this public consultation will be used to inform the Ontario government's approach to the sensitive and complex topic of end-of-life decisions, with a focus on the voices of patients and families. The consultation will help ensure that any future laws or policies meet the needs of people, respect personal wishes and support death with dignity.
These consultations are part of Ontario's Open Government commitment to engage more voices and gather public input before policies are made. The Open Government initiative is giving the public more opportunities to weigh in on government decision-making, strengthen transparency and accountability, and improve access to government data and services.