Today, Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, and Madeleine Meilleur, Ontario’s Attorney General issued the following statement:
“Beginning today, medical assistance in dying is permitted in Ontario as a result of a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada.
Patients who wish to access medical assistance in dying should talk with their health care provider. Health care providers should consult their regulatory colleges about any rules, guidelines or practices regarding medical assistance in dying.
Ontario’s health regulatory colleges for physicians, nurses and pharmacists will provide guidance to help health care providers provide appropriate medical assistance in dying to patients who request this option. Ontario will also ensure that drugs required for medical assistance in dying will be available at no cost.
Ontario will establish a referral service to support physicians in making an effective referral for consultation and assessment for possible medical assistance in dying cases. The service will help connect physicians who are unwilling or unable to provide medical assistance in dying with physicians who are willing to complete a patient consultation and assessment.
While not required by the Supreme Court, we encourage patients and health care providers to seek further clarity about how the Supreme Court’s decision applies to their particular circumstances by bringing an application to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
Federal government legislation on medical assistance in dying is not currently in place. We urge both the House of Commons and the Senate to continue to work collaboratively to pass legislation so that a national framework for the provision of medical assistance in dying can be established.
Ontario will continue to monitor the proposed federal legislation closely and continue engaging federal officials and other provinces and territories on issues related to this legislation as required. Moving forward, Ontario will also pursue amendments to provincial legislation to further support the implementation of medical assistance in dying.
Medical assistance in dying is a significant matter to all Ontarians. Through our consultations, we heard from thousands of Ontarians, health care providers and stakeholders from across the province about the complex and sensitive issues related to end-of-life decisions and medical assistance in dying. Our ongoing commitment is to ensure that end-of-life care is provided appropriately, safely and with the utmost compassion.”
More information is available on the Ontario government’s website.