Government of Canada

Government of Canada

June 17, 2016 16:21 ET

Statement by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and Minister of Health on Medical Assistance in Dying Legislation

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 17, 2016) - The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, together with the Honourable Dr. Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, today issued the following statement:

We are pleased to announce that Bill C-14, criminal legislation on medical assistance in dying, passed in Parliament today. The Government recognizes the extraordinary efforts that were made in the House of Commons and in the Senate to ensure passage of this Bill, efforts that will now ensure safe and consistent access to medical assistance in dying across Canada. We are grateful to all Parliamentarians for their hard work in seeing this through under such demanding circumstances.

Medical assistance in dying is a difficult, complex and deeply personal issue. In response to the Supreme Court of Canada's unanimous decision in the Carter case that struck down the former laws prohibiting assisted dying, the Government has acted swiftly to bring forward a federal framework for medical assistance in dying.

The legislation strikes the right balance between personal autonomy for those seeking access to medically assisted dying and protecting the vulnerable. It gives dying patients who are suffering intolerably while in decline on a path toward death the choice of a medically assisted death. The measures included in the legislation revise the Criminal Code to exempt health care practitioners who provide, or help to provide, medical assistance in dying from otherwise applicable criminal offences.

The legislation has been drafted to be consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and recognizes the jurisdiction of provinces and territories over the delivery of health care services.

The step that Parliament has taken in passing this legislation is an important one, but it is not the last step in this journey. Health Canada will continue to work with the provinces and territories as provisions of the legislation come into force, and further study will be done with respect to medical assistance in dying in the context of mature minors, people for whom mental illness is the sole underlying condition, and advance requests.

For more information for patients and health care practitioners, visit healthycanadians.gc.ca.

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Contact Information

  • Michael Davis
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Minister of Justice
    613-992-4621

    Media Relations
    Department of Justice
    613-957-4207

    Andrew MacKendrick
    Minister of Health Spokesperson
    Office of the Minister of Health
    613-957-0200

    Media Relations
    Health Canada
    613-957-2983