Press release: Protecting MAID Practitioners and Patients During COVID-19

Dying With Dignity Canada’s statement of support for CAMAP’s Statement on Provincial and Federal regulations and policies pertaining to Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Dying With Dignity Canada (DWDC) is pleased to add its voice to that of the Canadian Association of MAiD Assessors and Providers (CAMAP) in calling on all provincial regulators and medical and nursing bodies to implement critical changes to medical assistance in dying (MAID) policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All Canadians have the right to request a medically assisted death if they meet the criteria for eligibility.  It is critical that the right to end-of-life choice is upheld in order to prevent the intolerable suffering of Canadians with a grievous and irremediable medical condition. It is also essential that the health and safety of medical and nursing staff be protected as they continue to provide care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to ensure that the provision of MAID remains available, and recognizing that health and safety is paramount, Dying With Dignity Canada supports the Statement on Provincial and Federal regulations and policies pertaining to Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) during the COVID-19 Pandemic recently released by CAMAP.

“We are strongly encouraging provincial regulators and medical and nursing bodies across Canada to consider and make necessary changes to ensure continued access to MAID. Policies must protect the health and safety of medical and nursing staff as well as patients and their loved ones,” said Helen Long, CEO of DWDC.  “Adoption of the recommendations in CAMAP’s statement will achieve this goal.”

The recommendations made by CAMAP include:

  • That MAID assessors, providers and support staff should have full personal protective equipment (PPE) available to them;
  • That institutions should not adopt blanket cessation of MAID services as a solution to the problem of potential COVID-19 transmission;
  • That faith-based institutions that prohibit MAID and have previously transferred patients to other institutions be required to allow MAID when the transfer of patients has been prohibited for reasons of public health;
  • That all provinces should follow the example of British Columbia and alter the requirements for MAID so that:
    • Both assessments may be completed via telemedicine;
    • The provincial requirement, should there be one, to have a professional witness during a telemedicine assessment should be removed; and,
    • That the formal written requests can be carried out using video conferencing.

"It is critical that these recommendations are considered in order to avoid needless suffering across the country,” urged Dr. Stefanie Green, co-founder and current President of CAMAP. “In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, the safety and rights of patients and healthcare providers must be protected.” 

Dying With Dignity Canada is the national organization committed to improving quality of dying and expanding end-of-life choice.  


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