Ontario Introduces Legislation on Medical Assistance in Dying
Province Providing Clarity and Protection for Patients and Health Care Providers
Ontario has introduced legislation that would, if passed, support the implementation of medical assistance in dying by providing more protection and greater clarity for patients, their families and their health care providers.
Federal legislation, which passed in June 2016, guides how medical assistance in dying can be provided. The province's proposed Medical Assistance in Dying Statute Law Amendment Act aligns with the federal medical assistance in dying legislation and would address areas that fall under provincial legislation.
The Medical Assistance in Dying Statute Law Amendment Act would ensure:
- Benefits, such as insurance payouts and workplace safety benefits, are not denied only because of a medically assisted death
- Health care professionals and those who assist them are protected from civil liability when lawfully providing medical assistance in dying
- Health care providers and facilities that provide medical assistance in dying have their privacy protected
- There will continue to be effective reporting and monitoring of medical assistance in dying cases.
In addition to the existing Clinician Referral Service, the province will also work to establish a care coordination service to assist patients and caregivers in accessing additional information and services for medical assistance in dying and other end-of-life options.
Ontario has also developed information, tools and training to support patients, health care providers and health care facilities on medical assistance in dying related matters.
- Ontario's health regulatory colleges for physicians, nurses and pharmacists provide additional guidance to help health care professionals provide appropriate medical assistance in dying.
- Ontario has established a Clinician Referral Service to support physicians in making an effective referral for patient consultation and assessment for possible medical assistance in dying cases.
- Ontario’s approach to medical assistance in dying has also been informed by public consultations, with thousands of Ontarians, health care providers and stakeholders sharing their views through in-person and online consultations.
- Ontario is investing $75 million over three years to improve community-based palliative and end-of-life care. Ontario is developing a comprehensive strategy on end-of-life care that will focus on ensuring access to coordinated palliative care where patients want it and supporting families and caregivers.
“There are many sensitive and complex issues related to end-of-life care. These legislative amendments will support the implementation of medical assistance in dying in Ontario by adding clarity and protection for patients and health care providers. Our commitment is to ensure that end-of-life care is provided in a safe, sensitive and compassionate manner.”
Dr. Eric Hoskins