Regional Spotlight: Death and dying in Eastern Canada

Clinicians and navigators from Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia joined us to discuss various topics surrounding death and dying in Eastern Canada.

Some focal points included:

  • General attitudes towards death and dying
  • Palliative care resources and supports
  • Information about medical assistance in dying (MAID).

Tip: We've uploaded timestamps so you can jump straight to the questions and answers that interest you most. Just select "Watch on YouTube" above, and read the description underneath the video.

Prefer to read a summary of key takeaways from this webinar? Click here


Dr. Aaron McKim is a native Newfoundlander graduating from Memorial Medical School in 1998. Having worked in Nova Scotia, the Yukon, and in British Columbia, Aaron and his wife (also a family physician) moved back to Newfoundland in 2002. He has been working in private practice and in long-term care for the past 19 years with Eastern Health and was clinical chief for Long Term Care from 2012 to 2017. Certified as a palliative care instructor with Pallium Canada, Dr. McKim has travelled throughout Eastern Newfoundland teaching end-of-life care to community and long-term care teams through the accredited LEAP Training program. Aaron McKim had taken a lead role in Eastern Newfoundland with advancing accessibility to assisted dying and has been one of the main organizers of several accredited multidisciplinary programs teaching medical assistance in dying (MAID) to health care providers. Aaron has been working for several years helping to set up the provincial MAID infrastructure including two years with the provincial Department of Health and Community Services as the provincial coordinator of MAID, and recently as the Eastern Regional Health Authority - Medical Director for MAID. He is a faculty member at Memorial University Medical School and has also been a unicyclist and juggling instructor for the St. John’s Juggling club for the past 30 years. Aaron lives with his wife, three kids and two dogs on his family farm in St. Phillips, NL.

Dr. Fran Alborg moved to New Brunswick in 2001, after living and training in the USA for 20 years. She has been a MAID provider and assessor since 2016 and has been a member of Dying With Dignity Canada’s Clinical Advisory Council. Dr. Alborg currently lives in Woodstock, New Brunswick, and is a member of the Canadian Association of MAID Assessors and Providers (CAMAP).

Nicole Phinney is the MAID Nurse Navigator for Nova Scotia Health and does MAID Coordination, teaching, and program development for the province of Nova Scotia. She began her career working in palliative care seven years ago and also worked in oncology prior to coming into the MAID Navigator role. Nova Scotia’s formal MAID program is relatively new, and Nicole has worked alongside her team for the last two years trying to improve access and service for Nova Scotians interested in MAID.

Dr. Megan Miller is proud to have been involved in the delivery of both palliative care and MAID services at the PEI Cancer Treatment Center over the past several years. In 2021, she switched roles to become the first Chief Physician Recruiter for the Medical Society of PEI, but still focuses her clinical practice on the delivery of MAID services in the province. Megan is passionate about this work and ongoing program development to improve the quality of MAID delivery in PEI. In her spare time, she is a partner to an orthopedic surgeon and mom to three awesome kids and one great dog!

John McCarthy has been the MAID Medical Affairs Advisor for Nova Scotia Health since 2017. With a background in project management and health governance, John works closely with his colleagues to ensure the highest quality of care is provided to Nova Scotians seeking a medically assisted death.


For viewing subtitles in French:

  1. Click on the video to play, or open in YouTube in a separate window.
  2. At the bottom right of the screen is a block with CC in it.  If you click on this icon, the Closed Captioning will be activated and a red line will appear under the CC icon.
  3. Next, you can change the language from the default English to French.  
  4. Click on the gear icon just to the right of the CC icon. 
  5. A list of choices will appear including Subtitles/CC. Click on this option and you will have a choice of 3 items. 
  6. Choose "Auto-translate," then scroll down to find French in the list.