Ottawa drafts regs for better national reporting of assisted deaths
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, December 18, 2017 11:02AM EST
Last Updated Monday, December 18, 2017 4:52PM EST
OTTAWA -- Health Canada has posted draft regulations designed to allow the federal government to get a better national picture of how many Canadians are getting medical help to end their lives and in what circumstances.
The proposed regulations, published in the Canada Gazette, include requirements for doctors and nurse practitioners who receive written requests for medically assisted deaths, as well as for pharmacists who dispense the medications required.And that's raising concerns that the additional administrative burden could prompt fewer doctors, nurses and pharmacists to get involved in providing assistance in dying, widening the already existing barriers to access.
Online consultations are underway until Feb. 13 with the goal of creating final regulations by next summer.
Health Canada says it plans to start publishing annual reports as part of a new monitoring system by 2019.
Until then, the department says it will collaborate with the provinces and territories to produce interim reports every six months, as it has been doing since June 2016 when Parliament passed legislation allowing Canadian adults to request medical assistance in dying.
Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said the federal government has worked with provinces, territories and stakeholders to develop a consistent reporting approach.
"We look forward to receiving thoughtful feedback from all Canadians on the proposed regulations," she said in a statement Monday.
Dying with Dignity Canada said it supports a national monitoring system but it wants Health Canada to work with its provincial and territorial counterparts to avoid duplication and streamline reporting requirements.
Cory Ruf, a spokesperson for the organization, said each assisted death case already requires hours of paperwork for clinicians, including reporting to their local coroner, hospital and province. Any increase in that administrative burden could prompt some of the few existing providers to cease their involvement in assisted dying and discourage others from getting involved, he said.
"This would widen existing barriers to access facing suffering Canadians who want access to their right to MAID (medical assistance in dying), particularly in rural and remote communities."