Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

January 15, 2016 18:46 ET

Statement by the Attorney General of Canada on Timelines for a Government Response on Physician-Assisted Dying

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 15, 2016) - Department of Justice Canada

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today issued the following statement:

"The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of physician assisted-dying to all those who are considering their end-of-life care options.

"The Supreme Court of Canada has granted the Government of Canada an additional 4 months to respond to the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling in Carter v. Canada.

"The Government of Canada respects the court's judgment and remains committed to developing a thoughtful, compassionate, and well-informed response to the Supreme Court's ruling. This extension will provide the time to work closely with Minister Philpott and officials at Health Canada, and in consultation with the provinces and territories, to move quickly, with care and diligence, to develop an approach that protects the most vulnerable among us while respecting the inherent dignity of all Canadians.

"The court granted an exemption to those who wish to exercise their rights by allowing them to apply to the superior court of their jurisdiction for relief in accordance with the criteria set out in para. 127 of the court's reasons in Carter. The court also held that in respect of specified provisions of An Act respecting end-of-life care, Quebec is exempted from the four-month extension. The government recognizes the leadership that Quebec has demonstrated in developing its own legislation on physician-assisted dying.

"The House of Commons and the Senate have established a Special Joint Committee to review the extensive body of work already done on this issue, including relevant consultation activities and studies. It will also consult with Canadians, experts and stakeholders on a federal government framework for physician-assisted dying.

"The Special Joint Committee will have its first meeting on Monday, January 18. We look forward to receiving the results of the Committee's deliberations."

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