Groundbreaking poll: 8 in 10 Canadians support the right to advance consent for assisted dying

Eight in 10 Canadians agree that individuals with a grievous and irremediable medical condition, including patients with dementia, should be permitted to consent to assisted death in advance.

This is a key finding of a new public opinion poll commissioned by Dying With Dignity Canada and conducted by Ipsos Reid. The poll digs into one of the most sensitive issues facing federal lawmakers as they prepare new rules for physician-assisted dying: the issue of advance consent, and more specifically, whether a still-competent patient with a serious degenerative illness should be allowed to make an advance request for assisted death that could be carried out when he or she is no longer competent.

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Open letter: Provincial superior courts must consider compassion during extension period

In a new open letter, Dying With Dignity Canada condemns the Ontario Superior Court's interim rules for assisted dying and urges the judiciaries in other provinces to take a more patient-centred approach to handling requests for aid in dying in the four-month period before the Supreme Court's decision in Carter v. Canada comes into effect.

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Dr. David Amies: Ontario court's interim rules for assisted death are a lawyer's picnic

Desperately ill patients in Ontario will have to jump through myriad legal hoops if they wish to access their right to end-of-life choice in the next four months. The province's Superior Court of Justice has released its interim rules for what steps patients must take in order to have their requests approved. Unless they are amended, these Draconian protocols will be in place from Saturday up until June 6, when the Supreme Court's decision on assisted dying finally comes into force.

In his latest column for the DWDC blog, Dr. David Amies details the policy's most nefarious points, warning that they may set a sinister example for lawmakers in other jurisdictions.

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Replay: DWDC presents to Parliamentary committee on assisted dying

Did you miss the live broadcast of Dying With Dignity Canada's comments Monday to the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying? Not to worry. Click on the video below to watch a replay of CEO Wanda Morris and incoming CEO Shanaaz Gokool's presentation.

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Parliamentary committee hearings: Week in review

The MPs and senators on Parliament’s Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying have been assigned the unenviable task of quickly cobbling together recommendations for new federal legislation on medical aid in dying. The committee has begun holding hearings, interviewing a breadth of key stakeholders.

From his perch in Lethbridge, Alta., Dr. David Amies, a member of DWDC's Physicians Advisory Council, has been keeping a keen eye on the proceedings in Ottawa and has written up a helpful summary of what he saw of this week’s hearing. Here’s are his observations.

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Dr. David Amies: CMA drama and a morality play on patient rights

Dying With Dignity Canada raised the alarm earlier this month about the Canadian Medical Association's draft protocols for physician assisted dying. In particular, we are concerned by the CMA's insistence that doctors who oppose assisted dying for reasons of conscience should not be required to refer patients who request it to a willing provider or third-party referral body.

This policy, if implemented broadly, poses a significant barrier for patients — particularly those living in remote communities where healthcare services are scarce — looking to access their right to die with the help of a doctor. (CMA brass testified to a committee of federal MPs and senators this week that, no, foregoing a duty to refer won't threaten patient access. We're still not convinced.)

For his latest, most irreverent post to the DWDC blog, Dr. David Amies imagines a dialogue between a terminally ill man who wants to end his suffering and doctor who refuses to help and refuses to refer the patient to another physician. Yes, the piece is satirical and yes, the repartee is heavy-handed by design. However, as with any good morality play, the real-life ethical dilemmas it probes are ultimately what matters.

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Message from the CEO: A new phase of leadership for Dying With Dignity Canada

Dying With Dignity Canada CEO Wanda Morris announces exciting upcoming changes as the organization doubles down on fighting for the best possible legislation for physician assisted dying.

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Dr. David Amies: Old debates delay new laws for assisted dying

Dr. David Amies take a look at the people, policies and events over the past year that have stalled the implementation of physician assisted dying in Canada. (And the political tug of war, he warns, is only getting started.)

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New CMA recommendations don't do enough to protect patients' rights

The Canadian Medical Association’s updated recommendations on physician assisted dying do not go far enough to protect patients’ right to a peaceful death, Dying With Dignity Canada says.

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Supreme Court allows four-month delay of assisted dying ruling

The Supreme Court has granted in part a request of the federal government to delay the implementation of the court's decision on physician assisted dying.

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