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The Medical Assistance in Dying Statute Law Amendment Act

Archived Backgrounder

The Medical Assistance in Dying Statute Law Amendment Act

Ministry of Health

The Medical Assistance in Dying Statute Law Amendment Act consists of a series of amendments that would provide more clarity on medical assistance in dying for patients, families and health care providers. It would ensure that appropriate coroner oversight of medical assistance in dying situations will continue.

If approved, the proposed legislation would amend:

The Excellent Care for All Act

  • Clarify that benefits, such as insurance payouts and workplace safety benefits, that would otherwise be available are not denied only because of a medically assisted death
  • Protect physicians, nurse practitioners and persons assisting them, from civil liability when lawfully providing medical assistance in dying
  • This proposed immunity from civil liability would not apply to claims based on alleged negligence.

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act

  • Clarify that a person who received medical assistance in dying is considered to have died as a result of their underlying injury or illness.

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

  • Strengthen privacy protections for health care providers and facilities by excluding identifying information about persons or facilities in relation to medical assistance in dying from these Acts. This would protect clinicians and facilities that provide medical assistance in dying from being identified under access to information requests.

The Coroners Act

  • Require that the Coroner be notified of all medically assisted deaths and allow the Coroner to determine whether to investigate the death
  • Clarify that the requirement under the Coroners Act to investigate any death from any cause other than disease does not apply to medical assistance in dying
  • Require a process to review the Coroner's oversight role, to be established by the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services within two years.

Patients, health care providers and other partners in the health care system will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed amendments through the legislative process.

Federal legislation, which passed in June 2016, guides how medical assistance in dying can be provided. It outlines the criteria for patient eligibility, such as having a grievous and irremediable medical condition, and requires certain safeguards to be followed, such as the patient providing written consent and having two clinicians assess a patient's eligibility. 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.

Medical assistance in dying is an insured service under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) and drugs required for medical assistance in dying are available at no cost.  Health care providers, including physicians, nurses and pharmacists, should refer to their regulatory colleges for more information and guidance on medical assistance in dying.

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