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Medical Assistance in Dying – Update June 20

As of June 6, 2016, federal legislation on medical assistance in dying is not in place; therefore, the Supreme Court of Canada decision stands.  It is a criminal offence for nurses to assist someone to die unless they have an Ontario Superior Court of Justice order. Nurses should seek legal advice for clarity about their role in this process.

If clients are seeking information about medical assistance in dying, nurses should refer them to a physician.

The February 6, 2015 Supreme Court of Canada decision, which did not apply to nurses,  makes it possible for physicians to provide assistance in dying for a competent adult who:

  • Clearly consents to the termination of life
  • 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

 Click here to read the Ontario government’s statement encouraging patients and healthcare providers to apply for an Ontario Superior Court of Justice order for Medical Assistance in Dying. For more information please visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/medical-assistance-dying-and-end-life-decisions.

The College will continue to monitor any changes that impact this guidance and modify this information as required.

Page last reviewed June 20, 2016