B.C. adopts temporary assisted death protection

Doctors, pharmacists and nurses protected by prosecution guidelines while federal politicians argue over new suicide law

Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould

Crown prosecutors in B.C. have been instructed to follow the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark assisted suicide case when considering charges, until the federal government passes a new law to replace the one struck down June 7.

Provincial charge assessment guidelines apply to pharmacists and nurses as well as doctors involved in assisted death cases. The guidelines say if the conditions set out in the high court decision are met, no charges should be laid.

The federal government’s new legislation was changed by the Senate this week to remove the provision that medically assisted suicide is only allowed for patients who are terminally ill.

The court ruled in February that physician-assisted death is permitted for competent adults who clearly consent to the termination of their life and have “a grievous and irremediable medical condition” including illness or disability that causes “enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual.”

Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Health Minister Jane Philpott issued a statement urging that the Senate pass the new federal law quickly.

“There will be serious access problems for Canadian patients who want medical professionals to help them have a peaceful and dignified death, due to legal uncertainty for medical providers,” they said.

The proposed law allows doctors to opt out of assisting suicide, but requires them to refer patients to another doctor to provide what the court now considers a constitutional right.

The B.C. government has told doctors to be guided by the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons professional standards, which require two doctors to consent that the patient is competent to request assisted suicide.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

EDITORIAL: Managing wildfires

Wildfires have the potential to cause significant damage within our province

Opening night lineup for online Roots & Blues festival released

The first night of the festival on Aug. 14 will be stacked with favourites from previous years

July Kootenay real estate sales at record high

Sales and prices of Kootenay real estate on the rise

Dust on Crust bring bluegrass to Golden

The band came together at the Wolf’s Den jam nights and have been playing bluegrass ever since

Morning Start: The human body contains trace amounts of gold

Your morning start for Friday, August 7, 2020

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Pup stolen from Vernon temporary shelter reunited with owner

Nicola Sanders says her son’s puppy was ‘overjoyed’ to see her owner again

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Number of Kelowna-linked COVID-19 cases grows to 159

Interior Health reported four new cases region-wide on Friday, 18 remain active

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Most Read