B.C. adopts temporary assisted death protection

Doctors, pharmacists and nurses protected by prosecution guidelines while federal politicians argue over new suicide law

Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould

Crown prosecutors in B.C. have been instructed to follow the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark assisted suicide case when considering charges, until the federal government passes a new law to replace the one struck down June 7.

Provincial charge assessment guidelines apply to pharmacists and nurses as well as doctors involved in assisted death cases. The guidelines say if the conditions set out in the high court decision are met, no charges should be laid.

The federal government’s new legislation was changed by the Senate this week to remove the provision that medically assisted suicide is only allowed for patients who are terminally ill.

The court ruled in February that physician-assisted death is permitted for competent adults who clearly consent to the termination of their life and have “a grievous and irremediable medical condition” including illness or disability that causes “enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual.”

Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Health Minister Jane Philpott issued a statement urging that the Senate pass the new federal law quickly.

“There will be serious access problems for Canadian patients who want medical professionals to help them have a peaceful and dignified death, due to legal uncertainty for medical providers,” they said.

The proposed law allows doctors to opt out of assisting suicide, but requires them to refer patients to another doctor to provide what the court now considers a constitutional right.

The B.C. government has told doctors to be guided by the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons professional standards, which require two doctors to consent that the patient is competent to request assisted suicide.

 

Just Posted

Trail liquor store held up Friday night

The perpetrator was brandishing a weapon that appeared to be a gun, according to the Trail RCMP

Trail Smoke Eaters lose in shootout to Coquitlam Express

The Trail Smoke Eaters battled the Express in a tight checking 2-1 shootout loss on Friday

Lest We Forget

Crowd fills downtown Trail for Remembrance Day ceremony

Remembering Trail veterans

The Trail Legion now has 14 veterans from the Second World War

3 games, 3 wins for the Vees

Penticton wins 4-3 over Smoke Eaters

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

Surging Rangers beat visiting Canucks 2-1

Goalie Lundqvist ties Plante on all-time wins list

VIDEO: Newcomer kids see first Canadian snowfall

Children arrived in Canada with their mother and two siblings last week from Eritrea

Calgary 2026 leader expects close vote in Winter Games plebiscite

Residents to choose in a non-binding vote on Tuesday whether they want city to bid on 2026 Olympics

Feds dropped ball with WWI anniversary tributes: historians

Wrote one historian: ‘Other than the Vimy Ridge celebration … I think they have done a very bad job’

Sides ‘far apart’ in Canada Post talks despite mediation, says union

The lack of a breakthrough means rotating strikes will resume Tuesday

Feds’ appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. to be heard

Judge ruled in January that indefinite such confinement is unconstitutional, causes permanent harm

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Most Read