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Update to Physician Assisted Death Legislation

On January 22nd, The Supreme Court of Canada granted the Federal government a 4 month extension to draft laws enacting physician-assisted death.  From Feb. 6th 2016 until June 6th, a person wishing to exercise the right of physician assisted death must get authority from a Superior Court Judge.  This applies across the country except in Quebec, where assisted death legislation came into effect in December 2015.

Understandably, judges will want to be very cautious in approving an assisted death and the practice advisory reflects that caution.

In brief, what the Applicant has to do is:

in brief, what you need to do is:

  • file the application on notice to the Ontario and Canada Attorneys General;
  • anticipate a Hearing no sooner than 15 days (usually) and no later than 30 days after the filing date
  • have affidavits from the patient, attending physician, consulting psychiatrist and of the physician proposed to assist death.
  • pray….

Physician, psychiatrist and patient will depose the patient’s personal circumstances, medical condition(s), capacity, why patient’s suffering is intolerable, that patient is aware she can change her mind and why patient wishes to die.  The Physician proposed to assist death will depose “the manner and means and timing” of death, among other things.

So, if you want to die, you probably need a lawyer with some experience in this arcane field of practice…

Ontario Superior Court: Practice Advisory – Application for Judicial Authorization of Physician Assisted Death


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