It can be a touchy subject to discuss, but it’s one we must broach if we are to work toward fair access to assisted dying across Canada.
What physicians are paid to assess for and provide medical assistance in dying (MAID) is emerging as a possible barrier to access across the country. According to a new report written by The Globe and Mail’s Kelly Grant, a number of doctors in British Columbia are dropping out of providing assisted dying because the pay they receive is unsustainably low. In Nova Scotia, most of the province’s assisted dying providers have not been paid for their MAID-related work.
Inadequate compensation for MAID providers is unfair, and not just for the physicians. We at Dying With Dignity Canada (DWDC) are concerned, first and foremost, about the impact that this phenomenon will have on suffering Canadians — those who wish to access their right to a peaceful death. Unless there are enough doctors who feel comfortable participating in MAID, Canadians, especially those in rural and remote communities, will continue to face difficulties in finding providers.
Below is a backgrounder we produced in conjunction with the Canadian Association of MAID Assessors and Providers on how inadequate compensation for assisted dying affects access for Canadians. Although the details of the fee rates in this case are specific to B.C., the take-home message is applicable across the country.