Originally published in our June 2017 Newsletter
The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) has released its final Discussion Paper on the Improving the Last Stages of Life project, which considers how the law shapes the rights, choices, and quality of life for persons who are dying and those who support them.
“Last stages of life” is the term used in the project to capture the experience of dying as a process or a continuity of events, whether as a result of terminal illness, chronic conditions or serious frailties.
The LCO outlines the purpose and goals of the project, namely:
- To address a range of issues, including equitable access to palliative care, caregiver benefits, aspects of medical assistance in dying, decision-making over the withdrawal and withholding of treatment, supports for faith and cultural communities, and dispute resolution.
- To better identify and recommend, based on consultations with these groups, law reforms that are concrete, precise, and responsive to the experience of persons in the last stages of life.
Public consultations are in progress (since June, 2017) and will run through to September, 2017. Following this consultation period, the LCO will release additional information and report on interim findings and preliminary recommendations in early 2018.
Further information regarding the ongoing public consultations can be found here.
In order to address the theoretical and practical implications raised by this project, the LCO has established an Advisory Group, which brings together a diverse group of professionals with particular expertise in the area.
WEL Partners’ own Mark Handelman is a member of the Advisory Group and has co-authored a commissioned research paper for the project entitled, “The impact of suffering on decision-making and methods of assessing capacity in the last stages of life.” Kimberly Whaley was also involved in the consultations.