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Carter: CMA submission regarding euthanasia and assisted death

https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy13935
Last Reviewed
2011-03-05
Date
2014-08-27
Topics
Ethics and medical professionalism
Population health/ health equity/ public health
  1 document  
Policy Type
Court submission
Last Reviewed
2011-03-05
Date
2014-08-27
Topics
Ethics and medical professionalism
Population health/ health equity/ public health
Text
S.C.C. No. 35591 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CANADA (ON APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF APPEAL FOR BRITISH COLUMBIA) BETWEEN: LEE CARTER, HOLLIS JOHNSON, DR. WILLIAM SHOICHET, THE BRITISH COLUMBIA CIVIL LIBERTIES ASSOCIATION and GLORIA TAYLOR Appellants - and - ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CANADA and ATTORNEY GENERAL OF BRITISH COLUMBIA Respondents -and- ATTORNEY GENERAL OF ONTARIO, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF QUEBEC, ALLIANCE OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES WHO ARE SUPPORTIVE OF LEGAL ASSISTED DYING SOCIETY, ASSOCIATION FOR REFORMED POLITICAL ACTION CANADA, THE CANADIAN CIVIL LIBERTIES ASSOCIATION, THE CANADIAN HIV/AIDS LEGAL NETWORK AND THE HIV & AIDS LEGAL CLINIC ONTARIO, THE CANADIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, THE CANADIAN UNITARIAN COUNCIL, THE CATHOLIC CIVIL RIGHTS LEAGUE, THE FAITH AND FREEDOM ALLIANCE AND THE PROTECTION OF CONSCIENCE PROJECT, THE CATHOLIC HEALTH ALLIANCE OF CANADA, THE CHRISTIAN LEGAL FELLOWSHIP, THE CHRISTIAN MEDICAL AND DENTAL SOCIETY OF CANADA, THE CANADIAN FEDERATION OF CATHOLIC PHYSICIANS' SOCIETIES, THE COLLECTIF DES MEDECINS CONTRE L'EUTHANASIE, THE COUNCIL OF CANADIANS WITH DISABILITIES AND THE CANADIAN SOCIETY FOR COMMUNITY LIVING, THE CRIMINAL LA WYERS' ASSOCIATION (ONTARIO), DYING WITH DIGNITY, THE EV ANGELICAL FELLOWSHIP OF CANADA, THE FAREWELL FOUNDATION FOR THE RIGHT TO DIE and THE ASSOCIATION QUEBECOISE POUR LE DROIT DE MOURIR DANS LA DIGNITE, and THE EUTHANASIA PREVENTION COALITION AND THE EUTHANASIA PREVENTION COALITION - BRITISH COLUMBIA FACTUM OF THE INTERVENER THE CANADIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION Rules 37 and 42 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Canada Interveners POLLEY FAITH LLP The Victory Building 80 Richmond Street West Suite 1300 Toronto, Ontario M5H 2A4 Harry Underwood and Jessica Prince Tel: ( 416) 365-1600 Fax: (416) 365-1601 hunderwood@polleyfaith.com jprince@polleyfaith.com Jean Nelson Tel: (613) 731-8610 Fax: (613) 526-7571 j ean.nelson@cma.ca Counsel for the Intervener, the Canadian Medical Association GOWLING LAFLEUR HENDERSON LLP 160 Elgin Street, Suite 2600 Ottawa, Ontario KIP 1 C3 D. Lynne Watt Tel: (613) 786-8695 Fax: (613) 788-3509 email lynne. watt@gowlings.com Ottawa Agent for the Intervener, the Canadian Medical Association ORIGINAL TO: The Registrar Supreme Court of Canada 301 Wellington Street Ottawa, Ontario KIA OJI COPIES TO: Counsel for the Appellants, Lee Carter, Hollis Johnson, Dr. William Shoichet, The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and Gloria Taylor Joseph J. Arvay, Q.C. and Alison M. Latimer Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP 25 th Floor, 700 West Georgia Street Vancouver, BC V7Y 1B3 Tel: (604) 684-9151 Fax: (604) 661-9349 Email: jarvay@farris.com -and- Sheila M. Tucker Davis LLP 2800- 666 Burrard Street Vancouver, BC V6C 2Z7 Tel: (604) 643-2980 Fax: (604) 605-3781 Email: stucker@davis.ca Agent for the Appellants Jeffrey W. Beedell Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP 160 Elgin Street, Suite 2600 Ottawa, Ontario KIP 1C3 Tel: (613) 233-1781 Fax: (613) 788-3587 Email: jeff. beedell@gowlings.com Counsel for the Respondent, Attorney General of Canada Donnaree Nygard and Robert Frater Department of Justice Canada 900 - 840 Howe Street Vancouver, BC V6Z 2S9 Tel: (604) 666-3049 Fax: (604) 775-5942 Email: donnaree.nygard@justice.gc.ca Counsel for the Respondent, Attorney General of British Columbia Jean M. Walters Ministry of Justice Legal Services Branch 6th Floor - 1001 Douglas Street PO Box 9230 Stn Prov Govt Victoria, BC V8W 9J7 Tel: (250) 356-8894 Fax: (250) 356-9154 Email: jean.walters@gov.bc.ca Counsel for the Intervener, Attorney General of Ontario Zachary Green Attorney General of Ontario 720 Bay Street, 4th Floor Toronto, ON MSG 2Kl Tel: ( 416) 326-4460 Fax: (416) 326-4015 Email: zachary.green@ontario.ca Agent for the Respondent, Attorney General of Canada Robert Frater Department of Justice Canada Civil Litigation Section 50 O'Connor Street, Suite 50 Ottawa, Ontario KIA 0H8 Tel: (613) 670-6289 Fax: (613) 954-1920 Email: ro bert. frater@ j ustice. gc.ca Agent for the Respondent, Attorney General of British Columbia Robert E. Houston, Q.C. Burke-Robertson 441 MacLaren Street, Suite 200 Ottawa, Ontario K2P 2H3 Tel: (613) 236-9665 Fax: (613) 235-4430 Email: rhouston@burkerobertson.com Agent for the Intervener, Attorney General of Ontario Robert E. Houston, Q.C. Burke-Robertson 441 MacLaren Street, Suite 200 Ottawa, Ontario K2P 2H3 Tel: (613) 236-9665 Fax: (613) 235-4430 Email: rhouston@burkerobertson.com Counsel for the Intervener, Attorney General of Quebec Sylvain Leboef and Syltiane Goulet Procureur general du Quebec 1200, Route de L'Eglise, 2eme etage Quebec, QC GlV 4Ml Tel: (418) 643-1477 Fax: ( 418) 644-7030 Email: sylvain.leboeuf@justice.gouv.gc.ca Counsel for the Intervener, Council of Canadians with Disabilities and the Canadian Association for Community Living David Baker Sarah Mohamed Bakerlaw 4 711 Yonge Street, Suite 509 Toronto, Ontario M2N 6K8 Tel: (416) 533-0040 Fax: ( 416) 533-0050 Email: dbaker@bakerlaw.ca Counsel for the Intervener, Christian Legal Fellowship Gerald D. Chipeur, Q.C. Miller Thomirson LLP 3000, 700-9t A venue SW Calgary, Alberta T2P 3V4 Tel: (403) 298-2425 Fax: (403) 262-0007 Agent for the Intervener, Attorney General of Quebec Pierre Landry Noel & Associes 111 Champlain Street Gatineau, QC J8X 3Rl Tel: (819)771-7393 Fax: (819) 771-5397 Email: p.landry@noelassocies.com Agent for the Intervener, Council of Canadians with Disabilities and the Canadian Association for Community Living Marie-France Major Supreme Advocacy LLP 397 Gladstone A venue, Suite 100 Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0Y9 Tel: (613) 695-8855 Ext: 102 Fax: (613) 695-8580 Email: mfmajor@supremeadvocacy.ca Agent for the Intervener, Christian Legal Fellowship Eugene Meehan, Q.C. Supreme Advocacy LLP 397 Gladstone A venue, Suite 100 Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0Y9 Tel: (613) 695-8855 Ext: 101 Fax: (613) 695-8580 Email: emeehan@supremeadvocacy.ca Counsel for the Intervener, Agent for the Intervener, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario Gordon Capern Michael Fenrick Paliare, Roland, Rosenberg, Rothstein, LLP 155 Wellington Street West, 35 th Floor Toronto, Ontario M5V 3Hl Tel: ( 416) 646-4311 Fax: (416) 646-4301 Email: gordon.capem@paliareroland.com Counsel for the Intervener, Reformed Political Action Canada Andre Schutten ARPA Canada I Rideau Street, Suite 700 Ottawa, Ontario KIN 8S7 Tel: (613) 297-5172 Fax: (613) 670-5701 Email: andre@ARP A Canada.ca Counsel for the Intervener, Collectif des medecins contre l'euthanasie Pierre Bienvenu Andres C. Garin Vincent Rochette Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP 1, Place Ville Marie, Bureau 2500 Montreal, Quebec H3B IRI Tel: (514) 847-4452 Fax: (514) 286-5474 Email: pierre. bienvenue@nortonrose.com Marie-France Major Supreme Advocacy LLP 397 Gladstone Avenue, Suite 100 Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0Y9 Tel: (613) 695-8855 Ext: 102 Fax: (613) 695-8580 Email: mfmajor@supremeadvocacy.ca Agent for the Intervener, Collectif des medecins contre l'euthanasie Sally Gomery Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP 1500-45 O'Connor Street Ottawa, Ontario KIP 1A4 Tel: (613) 780-8604 Fax: (613) 230-5459 Email: sally. gomery@nortonrose.com Counsel for the Intervener, Evangelical Fellowship of Canada Geoffrey Trotter Geoffrey Trotter Law Corporation 1185 West Georgia Street, suite 1700 Vancouver, British Columbia V6E 4E6 Tel: (604) 678-9190 Fax: (604) 259-2459 Email: gt @ gtlawcorp .com Counsel for the Intervener, Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada Albertos Polizogopoulos Vincent Dagenais Gibson LLP 260 Dalhousie Street, Suite 400 Ottawa, Ontario KlN 7E4 Tel: (613) 241-2701 Fax: (613) 241-2599 Email: albertos @ vdg.ca Counsel for the Intervener, Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians' Societies Geoffrey Trotter Geoffrey Trotter Law Corporation 1185 West Georgia Street, suite 1700 Vancouver, British Columbia V6E 4E6 Tel: (604) 678-9190 Fax: (604) 259-2459 Email: gt@gtlawcorp.com Agent for the Intervener, Evangelical Fellowship of Canada Albertos Polizogopoulos Vincent Dagenais Gibson LLP 260 Dalhousie Street, Suite 400 Ottawa, Ontario K 1 N 7E4 Tel : (613) 241-2701 Fax: (613) 241-2599 Rmail: albertos@vdg.ca Agent for the Intervener, Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians' Societies Marie-France Major Supreme Advocacy LLP 397 Gladstone Avenue, Suite 100 Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0Y9 Tel: (613) 695-8855 Ext : 102 Fax: (613) 695-8580 Email: mfmajor@.supremeadvocacy.ca Counsel for the Intervener, Dying with Dignity Cynthia Petersen Kelly Doctor Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP 1100-20 Dundas Street West, Box 180 Toronto, Ontario MSG 2G8 Tel: (416) 977-6070 Fax: (416) 591-7333 Email: cpetersen@sgmlaw.com Counsel for the Intervener, Catholic Health Alliance of Canada Russell G. Gibson Albertos Polizogopoulos Vincent Dagenais Gibson LLP 260 Dalhousie Street, Suite 400 Ottawa, Ontario K 1 N 7E4 Tel: (613) 241-2701 Ext. 229 Fax: (613) 241-2599 Email: russell.gibson@vdg.ca Counsel for the Intervener, Criminal Lawyers' Association (Ontario) Marlys A. Edwarth Daniel Sheppard Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP 1100-20 Dundas Street West Toronto, Ontario MSG 2G8 Tel: (416) 979-4380 Fax: (416) 979-4430 Email: medwarth@ sgmlaw.com Agent for the Intervener, Dying with Dignity Raija Pulkkinen Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP 500-30 Metcalfe Street Ottawa, Ontario KIP 5L4 Tel: (613) 235-5327 Fax: (613) 235-3041 Email: rpulkkinen@sgmlaw.com Agent for the Intervener, Criminal Lawyers' Association (Ontario) D. Lynne Watt Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP 160 Elgin Street, Suite 2600 Ottawa, Ontario K 1 P 1 C3 Tel: (613) 786-8695 Fax: (613) 788-3509 Email: lynne. watt@gowlings.com Counsel for the Intervener, Farewell Foundation For The Right To Die Joseph J. Arvay, Q.C. Alison Latimer Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP 700 West Georgia Street, 25th Floor Vancouver, British Columbia V7Y 1B3 Tel: (604) 684-9151 Fax: (604) 661-9349 Email: jarvay@farris.com Counsel for the Intervener, Association Quebecoise pour le droit de mourir dans la dignite Joseph J. Arvay, Q.C. Alison Latimer Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP 700 West Georgia Street, 25th Floor Vancouver, British Columbia V7Y 1B3 Tel: (604) 684-9151 Fax: (604) 661-9349 Email: jarvay@farris.com Counsel for the Intervener, Canadian Civil Liberties Association Christopher D. Bredt Ewa Krajewska Margot Finley Borden Ladner Gervais LLP Scotia Plaza, 40 King Street West Toronto, Ontario M5H 3Y4 Tel: (416) 367-6165 Fax: (416) 361-7063 Email: cbredt@blg.com Agent for the Intervener, Farewell Foundation For The Right To Die Jeffrey W. Beedell Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP 160 Elgin Street, Suite 2600 Ottawa, Ontario KIP 1C3 Tel: (613) 786-0171 Fax: (613) 788-3587 Email: jeff.beedell@gowlings.com Agent for the Intervener, Association Quebecoise pour le droit de mourir dans la dignite Jeffrey W. Beedell Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP 160 Elgin Street, Suite 2600 Ottawa, Ontario K 1 P 1 C3 Tel: (613) 786-0171 Fax: (613) 788-3587 Email: jeff.beedell@gowling .com Agent for the Intervener, Canadian Civil Liberties Association Nadia Effendi Borden Ladner Gervais LLP World Exchange Plaza 100 Queen Street, Suite 100 Ottawa, Ontario KlP 119 Tel: (613) 237-5160 Fax: (613) 230-8842 Counsel for the Intervener, Catholic Civil Rights League Ranjan K. Agarwal Jack R. Maslen Bennett Jones LLP 3400 One First Canadian Place P.O. Box 130, Station 1st Canadian Place Toronto, Ontario M5X 1A4 Tel: (416) 863-1200 Fax: (416) 863-1716 Email: agarwalr@bennettjones.com Counsel for the Intervener, Faith and Freedom Alliance and Protection of Conscience Project Geoffrey Trotter Ranjan K. Agarwal Jack R. Maslen Geoffrey Trotter Law Corporation 1185 West Georgia Street, suite 1700 Vancouver, British Columbia V6E 4E6 Tel: (604) 678-9190 Fax: (604) 259-2459 Email: gt@gtlawcorp.com Agent for the Intervener, Catholic Civil Rights League Sheridan Scott Bennett Jones LLP 1900-45 O'Connor Street World Exchange Plaza Ottawa, Ontario KlP 1A4 Tel: (613) 683-2302 Fax: (613) 683-2323 Email: scotts@bennettjones.com Agent for the Intervener, Faith and Freedom Alliance and Protection of Conscience Project Marie-France Major Supreme Advocacy LLP 397 Gladstone Avenue, Suite 100 Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0Y9 Tel: (613) 695-8855 Ext: 102 Fax: (613) 695-8580 Email: mfmajor@supremeadvocacy.ca Counsel for the Intervener, Alliance of People with Disabilities who are Supportive of Legal Assisted Dying Society Angus M. Gunn, Q.C. Borden Ladner Gervais LLP 1200-200 Burrard Street Vancouver, British Columbia V7X 1 T2 Tel: (604) 687-5744 Fax: (604) 687-1415 Counsel for the Intervener, Canadian Unitarian Council Tim A. Dickson R.J.M. Androsoff Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP 700 West Georgia Street, 25 th Floor Vancouver, British Columbia V7Y 1 B3 Tel: (604) 661-9341 Fax: (604) 661-9349 Email: tdickson@farris.com Counsel for the Intervener, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and Euthanasia Prevention Coalition -British Columbia Hugh R. Scher Scher Law Professional Corporation 69· Bloor Street East, Suite 210 Toronto, Ontario M4W 1A9 Tel: (416) 515-9686 Fax: ( 416) 969-1815 Email: hugh@sdlaw.ca Agent for the Intervener, Alliance of People with Disabilities who are Supportive of Legal Assisted Dying Society Nadia Effendi Borden Ladner Gervais LLP World Exchange Plaza 100 Queen Street, Suite 100 Ottawa, Ontario KIP 1J9 Tel: (613) 237-5160 Fax: (613) 230-8842 Agent for the Intervener, Canadian Unitarian Council Nadia Effendi Borden Ladner Gervais LLP World Exchange Plaza 100 Queen Street, Suite 100 Ottawa, Ontario KIP 1J9 Tel: (613) 237-5160 Fax: (613) 230-8842 Agent for the Intervener, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and Euthanasia Prevention Coalition -British Columbia Yael Wexler Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP 55 Metcalfe Street, Suite 1300 Ottawa, Ontario MlP 6L5 Tel: (613) 236-3882 Fax: (613) 230-6423 Email: ywexler@fasken.com Index Part I: Overview of Argument .... ... .. . ... . ... . ...... . ............. ... ... ... ......... .. .. .. . .. ... ... ... .. ... .. ..... .... .. ... ..... 1 Part II: Statement of Argument. ... ... .. ...... ... .. ........ ... ... ..... .... ... .. ..... ... ... ... .. .. ... .... ... ......... ...... ... ..... 2 A. The CMA's policy on euthanasia and assisted suicide .. ....... ......... .... .. ..... ...... ..... ... ... .. 2 B. The implications of a change in the law ...................... .... ... ................. ..... ... ...... .. ... ...... 5 1. Palliative care .............................................................. ...... ... .. ... ... ....... ... ............ . 5 2. Concerns over safeguards .................................. ..... . ........ . .......... .. ......... ........... .. 7 3. Protections for physicians ...... ..... .. .... ......... ... .... ... .. ... .. .. ... ... . .......... . .. ... ... .. ... .. .. ... 8 Part III: Submissions regarding remedy ............. ... ...... ... ... ... .... ... ... ... ........ ............................. ... . 9 Part IV: Submissions regarding costs ..... . ...... ........ ..... .. ........ . ... .. .. ....... ....... ... .... .. ..... ..... .. ... . ..... .. 9 Part V: Request for oral argument.. .... ... .. .. .......... .. .. ... .. ..... .. ..... .. ... . ........ ... .. .... .......... ....... ...... .. 10 -1- Part I: Overview of Argument 1. The policy of the Canadian Medical Association ( the "CMA") on euthanasia and assisted suicide1 forms part of the trial record.2 The policy was debated at successive annual meetings of the CMA's members in 2013 and 2014, resulting in its amendment. In 2013, new definitions were added to clarify key terminology used. In August 2014, a motion was passed by delegates to CMA's General Council, and affirmed by the CMA Board of Directors, supporting the right of all physicians, within the bounds of existing legislation, to follow their conscience when deciding whether or not to provide medical aid in dying. 3 The policy will be amended as a consequence. 2. It is anticipated that the policy, once amended, will continue to reflect the ethical principles for physicians to consider in choosing whether or not to participate in medical aid in dying. 3. The statement of support for matters of conscience now exists alongside the statement in the CMA policy that "Canadian physicians should not participate in euthanasia or assisted suicide." As long as such practices remain illegal, the CMA believes that physicians should not participate in medical aid in dying. If the law were to change, the CMA would support its members who elect to follow their conscience. 4. A portion of the CMA's membership believes that patients should be free to choose medical aid in dying as a matter of autonomy. Other voices highlight that participation would undermine long-established ethical principles applicable to the practice of medicine. Amidst this 1 CMA Policy: Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide (Update 2014), https://www.cma.ca/Assets/assetslibrary/ document/en/about-us/PD14-06.pdf#search=assisted%20death. 2 Carter v. Canada (Attorney General}, 2012 BCSC 886, paragraphs 6 and 274. 3 Resolutions adopted at the 14ih Annual Meeting of the Canadian Medical Association, Aug. 18-20, 2014: ~www.cma.ca/Assets/assets-lib rary/document/en/advocacy/ Flnal -Resolutions-GC-2014-end-of-lifecare. pdf. -2- diversity of views, however, there is a unifying theme: one of respect for the alternative perspective. This element was highlighted in the policy motion coming out of the CMA's August 2014 General Council meeting. 5. The CMA accepts that the decision of whether or not medical aid in dying should be allowed as a matter of law is for lawmakers, not medical doctors, to determine. The policy itself acknowledges, uniquely among CMA policies in this respect, that "[i]t is the prerogative of society to decide whether the laws dealing with euthanasia and assisted suicide should be changed." 6. As the national voice of physicians across the country, the CMA intervenes in this appeal desiring to assist the Court by providing its perspective on the rationale for the diverse views expressed by its membership, and to highlight practical considerations that must be assessed if the law were to change. Part II: Statement of Argument A. The CMA's policy on euthanasia and assisted suicide 7. The CMA's policy on euthanasia and assisted suicide4 was adopted in 2007, replacing and consolidating two previous CMA policies5 , and has been amended twice since then as noted above. 8. In an effort to promote broad public and member discussion, in the first half of 2014 the CMA hosted a series of town hall meetings across Canada on end of life care issues. Members of the public and the profession were able to attend the town halls in person, or post comments 4 CMA Policy: Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide (Update 2014): https://www.cma.ca/Assets/assetslibrary/ document/en/about-us/PD14-06.pdf#search=assisted%20death. 5 Physician Assisted Death 1995 and Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide (1998). -3 - online, to provide their perspectives and opm1ons on, inter alia, euthanasia and physicianassisted suicide. 6 9. The CMA adopts policies in order to inform the organization's advocacy efforts, and to provide physician members with an understanding of the views and opinions of their national representative organization and to reflect the views of its membership. The CMA' s policies are not meant to mandate a standard of care for members or to override an individual physician's conscience. 10. The CMA recognizes that many of its policies are referenced by other health care groups and the courts, as well as the provincial and territorial medical regulatory authorities. 11. In general, those CMA members who oppose medical aid in dying do so because of the derogation from established medical ethical principles and clinical practices that would result. Those who support medical aid in dying do so because of the equally established principles of considering patient well-being and patient autonomy. The policy in its current form reflects these various considerations . 12. Physicians have a tremendous amount of compassion and concern for patients who are suffering near the end of their lives, and strive to improve their patients' quality of life for the remainder of their lives. Physicians are trained to be healers. For most Canadian physicians , the question is not a simple matter of balancing between patient autonomy and professional standards, but goes much deeper, to the very core of what it means to be a medical professional. 6 The CMA published two reports coming out of the end of life care town halls - a public report in June 2014 and a CMA members' report in July 2014 - both of which can be found on the CMA's website. -4- 13. One rationale for the position in opposition to physician participation is that euthanasia and assisted suicide would have, as the policy states, "unpredictable effects on the practice of medicine" as well as the physician-patient relationship. 7 14. At the same time, the policy recognizes the principle of patient autonomy, and the fact that it is a competing consideration. It cites several articles from the CMA Code of Ethics 8 that emphasize the importance of patient well-being and autonomy. 9 Physicians are advised to "consider first the well-being of your patient." 15. Opposition to paiiicipation is found in statements from the World Medical Association and various national medical associations akin to the CMA. 10 In jurisdictions where medical aid in dying has been legali zed , the practice is considered "ethically sound .. . and part of end of life care" by the national medical association in the Netherlands and the Belgian association has not published any policy . 11 7 CMA Policy: Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide (Update 2014): https://www.cma.ca/Assets/assetslibrary/ document/en/about-us/PD14-06.pdf#search=assisted%20death. 8 For example, "Provide your patients with the information they need to make informed decisions about their medical care, and answer their questions to the best of your ability"; "Respect the right of a competent patient to accept or reject any medical care recommended"; and "Ascertain wherever possible and recognize your patient's wishes about the initiation, continuation or cessation of life-sustaining treatment." 9 The concept of patient autonomy is usually associated with allowing or at least enabling patients to make their own decisions about which health care treatments they will or will not receive, or incorporating their point of view into assessments of the appropriateness and effectiveness of treatment options. See: Entwistle, VA. , Carter, SM ., Cribb, A. & Mccaffery, K. (2010) . 'Supporting patient autonomy : The importance of clinician-patient relationships'. Journal of General Internal Medicine, vol 25, no. 7, pp. 741-745; and Sullivan MD. "The new subjective medicine: taking the patient's point of view on health care and health" . Soc Sci Med 56:1595 - 1604, 2003 . 10 World Medical Association Statement on Physician-Assisted Dying. Adopted by the 44th World Medical Assembly, Marbella, Spain, September 1992 and editorially revised by the 170th WMA Council Session, Divonne-les-Bains, France, May 2005: http ://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/p13/. British Medical Association. What is the current BMA policy on assisted dying? http://bma.org.uk/practical-support-at-work/ethics/bma-policyassisted- dying. Australian Medical Association. Position Statement on the Role of the Medical Practitioner in End of Life Care 2007, section 10 : https://ama .com.au/position -statement/role-medical- pr actit ioner-end -life-ca re-2007 . American Medical Association' s Opinion 2. 211- Physician-Assisted Suicide: http://www .amaass n.org/ama/pub/p hys i cian-r esources/ medi ca1 -ethic s/ co de-med ica l-ethi cs/o pin ion2211 .page ?. 11 KNMG. Euthanasia in the Netherlands. Available at: http://knmg.artsennet.nl/Dossiers-9/Dossiersthematrefwoord / Levenseinde/ Eu t hanasia-in-the-Netherlands -1.htm. -5- 16. It is acknowledged that just moral and ethical arguments form the basis of arguments that both support and deny assisted death. The CMA accepts that, in the face of such diverse opinion, based on individuals' consciences, it would not be appropriate for it to seek to impose or advocate for a single standard for the medical profession. 1 7. In any event, the CMA accepts that the decision as to the lawfulness of the current prohibition on medical aid in dying is for patients and their elected representatives as lawmakers to determine, not physicians. B. The implications of a change in the law 18. The CMA and its members have practical and procedural concerns to bring to the Court for reflection with respect to the legalization of medical aid in dying and the implications for medical practice. Three such implications are addressed below. 1. Palliative care 19. One question and element highlighted in CMA policy formulation is the role of palliative care and whether adequate public access is a precondition to changing the law. The CMA acknowledges that the desire to access medical aid in dying is predicated, at least in part, on the inadequacy or inability of palliative care to address a patient's needs in particular circumstances. The policy currently recognizes that adequate palliative care is a prerequisite to the legalization of medical aid in dying. That is because patients should never have to choose death because of unbearable pain which can, in fact, be treated, but the treatment cannot, in reality, be accessed. 20. However, even if palliative care were readily available and effective, there would likely be some patients who would still opt for medical aid in dying over palliative care. Moreover, it -6- seems wrong to deny grievously ill patients the option of medical aid in dying simply because of systemic inadequacies in the delivery of palliative care. 21. The public and the medical profession lack current, specific and non-anecdotal information as to the availability of adequate palliative care across Canada. Notwithstanding this lack of rigorous data, concerns are often expressed. 12 As Justice Smith held at trial, "High quality palliative care is far from universally available in Canada."13 The policy itself provides that "[ e ]fforts to broaden the availability of palliative care in Canada should be intensified." 22. Canada has no national strategy to ensure the delivery of a uniformly high standard of palliative care across the country. Similarly, there are no national uniform standards which direct when and how palliative care is to be provided and by which physicians. At the CMA's annual meeting in August 2014, motions were passed as policy affirming that (i) all health care providers should have access to referral for palliative care services and expertise, (ii) a strategy should be developed for advance care planning, palliative and end of life care in all provinces and territories, and (iii) the CMA will engage in physician human resource planning to develop an appropriate strategy to ensure the delivery of quality palliative care throughout Canada. 14 23. Regardless of the outcome of this appeal, the Canadian public and the medical profession must unite in insisting upon the dedication of appropriate resources to overcome the deficiencies identified above. Palliative care will continue to be a focus of the CMA's future policy development. 12 The Senate of Canada: the Honourable Sharon Carstairs, Raising the Bar: A Roadmap for the Future of Palliative Care in Canada, June 2010, http://www.chpca.net/media/7859/Raising the Bar June 2010.pdf, pages 12 and 16. 13 Carter v. Canada (Attorney General). 2012 BCSC 886, paragraph 192. 14 Resolutions adopted at the 14ih Annual Meeting of the Canadian Medical Association, Aug. 18-20, 2014: https://www.cma.ca/Assets/assets~libra ry/document/en/advocacy/Final-Resolutions-GC-2014-end-of-!ife-care.pdf -7- 2. Concerns over safeguards 24. The trial judge placed great reliance on the ability of physicians to assess the competency of patients requesting medical aid in dying and the voluntariness of their wishes. 15 The CMA submits that the challenges physicians will face in making these assessments have been understated, especially in the end of life care context where the consequences of decisions are particularly grave and in a public medical system in which resource constraints are a pressing issue. 16 25. The CMA submits that these assessments will involve significant new responsibilities that warrant comprehensive study by and with physicians for the following reasons: 15 a) Patients must be afforded a full right of informed consent, but the ordinary context in which a physician obtains the patient's informed consent would not apply since the intervention would be initiated not by the physician's recommendation but by the patient's request and since the patient's decision may tum more than usually is the case upon considerations apart from the expected efficacy of the treatment. b) A patient may be subject to influences which the patient is motivated not to disclose to his or her physician and which may be very difficult to detect. c) Such important decisions are best made following careful discussions between physician and patient, well in advance, concerning the patient's end of life wishes generally. The CMA and its provincial and territorial medical association colleagues note that these types of discussions do not now routinely occur, and that when they do, patients' assessments of their goals can and do evolve over the course of their illness. 17 Carter v. Canada (Attorney General}, 2012 BCSC 886, paragraphs 883, 1240 and 1367. 16 Chaoulli v. Quebec (Attorney General}, (2005] 1 SCR 791, paragraphs 173 and 221-222. 17 The Policy urges that "a Canadian study of medical decision making during dying" be undertaken. It explains that "relatively little" is known about "the frequency of various medical decisions made near the end of life, how these -8- d) It may be very difficult to assess competency and voluntariness in some patients (for example, the very old, the very ill and the depressed) and in some settings (for example, the emergency room and the intensive care unit) where there may not be an established physician-patient relationship. e) Institutional supports are lacking, including recognition in provincial fee schedules of the time that is required for meetings with patients and their families. 3. Protections for physicians 26. The CMA submits that, if the law were to change, any regime of medical aid in dying must legally protect those physicians who choose to participate from criminal, civil or disciplinary proceedings or sanctions. 27. In addition, if the law were to change, no physician should be compelled to participate in or provide medical aid in dying to a patient, either at all, because the physician conscientiously objects to medical aid in dying, or in individual cases, in which the physician makes a clinical assessment that the patient's decision is contrary to the patient's best interests. Notably, no jurisdiction that has legalized medical aid in dying compels physician participation. 18 If the decisions are made and the satisfaction of patients, families, physicians and other caregivers with the decisionmaking process and outcomes." See also the Ontario Medical Association, 'Ontario Doctors Launch End of Life Care Plan'. Available at: https:Uwww.oma.org/resources/documents/eolcstrategyframework.pdf. 18 Quebec: Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, 1st Sess, 41st Leg, Quebec, 2014 cl 50 (assented to 10 June 2014), SQ 2014, c2; Netherlands: Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act (2002) .b.1ti;! ://www .eu th anasi ecom missie .n 1/1 mages/Wet%20toetsi ng%201evensbeei nd iging%20op%20verzoek%20en%20 hulp%20bij%20zelfdoding%20Engels tcm52-36287.pdf; Switzerland: Suiss Criminal Code, Book Two : Specific Provisions, Title One: Offences against Life and Limb, Article 115 (1942). http://www.admin.ch/ opc/ en/ classifiedcompilation/ 19370083/index.html; Belgium: Loi relative a l'euthanasie, Chapitre 6, article 14 (2002) http://www.ejustice.just.fgov.be/cgi lei/change lg.pl?language=fr&la=F&ta ble name=loi&cn=2002052837; Luxembourg: Loi du 16 mars 2009 sur l'euthanasie et /'assistance au suicide, Chapitre 7, article 15 (2009). http://www.legil ux. pu bl ic.Ju/1 eg/a/arch ives/2009/0046/a046. pdf#page= 7; Washington: The Washington Death with Dignity Act, RCW, 70 §70.245.190 (2009). http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=70.245.190; Oregon: The Oregon Death with Dignity Act, ORS, 127 §127.885 4.01 (1997). http ://public. hea Ith. oregon .gov /P roviderP a rtnerReso u rces/Eva I u ati on Res ea rch/Deathwith Dign i tyAct/Docu men ts/ statute.pdf; Vermont: An act relating to patient choice and control at the end of life, VSA, 113 § 5285 (a) {2013). -9- attending physician declines to participate, every jurisdiction that has legalized medical aid in dying has adopted a process for eligible patients to be transferred to a participating physician. 19 28. While the Court cannot and should not set out a comprehensive regime, the CMA submits that it can indicate that a practicable legislative regime for medical aid in dying must legally protect those physicians who choose to provide this new intervention to their patients, as well as those who do not. Part III: Submissions regarding remedy 29. If the law is changed, the CMA would ask this Court to adopt a remedy that would preserve the autonomy and constitutional rights of patients and their health care providers. To that end, the CMA asks the Court to adopt a remedy akin to what Justice Smith ordered at the trial level: suspending the effect of a declaration for one year from the date of any decision and instituting a process for individual exemptions such as that afforded to the late Ms. Taylor. Part IV: Submissions regarding costs 30. The CMA seeks no costs and asks that none be awarded against it. http://www.leg.state.vt.us/docs/2014/Acts/ACT039.pdf; New-Mexico: Morris v New-Mexico (2014); and Montana: Baxter v Montana, 482 LEXIS at 59 (2008). 19 Canadian Medical Association, Schedule A: Legal Status of Physician-Assisted Dying (PAD) in Jurisdictions with Legislation, https://www.cma.ca/ Assets/ assets-II bra ry/ document/ en/advocacy/ EO L/Leg a 1-status-p hysicia nassi sted-d eat h-j u risd i cti on slegislation. odf#search=schedule%20A%3A%201egal%20stacus%20of%20physician%2Dassisted%20death, page 3. -10- Part V: Request for oral argument 31. The CMA requests permission to make fifteen minutes of oral argument at the hearing of this appeal. ALL OF WHICH IS RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED, this 27th day of August, 2014. /_/ - Harry Underwood Jean Nels
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CMA’s formal submission to the Federal External Panel on assisted dying

https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy11750
Last Reviewed
2019-03-03
Date
2015-10-19
Topics
Ethics and medical professionalism
  1 document  
Policy Type
Parliamentary submission
Last Reviewed
2019-03-03
Date
2015-10-19
Topics
Ethics and medical professionalism
Text
Dear Members of the Federal External Panel: On behalf of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), I appreciate the opportunity to provide input toward the Federal External Panel's national consultation to support the federal government's legislative response following the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling in Carter v. Canada. As the national professional association representing Canada's physicians, the CMA has played an important role in leading the public dialogue on end-of-life care, including assisted dying. In 2014, the CMA led a national consultation on end-of-life care which included a series of public and member town hall consultations across the country. This national dialogue focused on three main issues: advance care planning, palliative care, and physician-assisted dying. As highlighted in the summary report (enclosed as Appendix 1), the Canadian public emphasized the need for strict protocols and safeguards if the law on physician-assisted dying were to change. This initial consultation provided valuable insights to inform the concurrent CMA's in-depth and comprehensive consultation with its membership as well as medical and health stakeholders as an intervener before the Supreme Court and following the Carter decision. This consultation included engagement of the CMA's Ethics Committee, policy debates as part of the CMA's Annual Meetings in 2014 and 2015, in-person member forums across the country, and an online dialogue. The consultation was critical to the development of the CMA's Principles-based Recommendations for a Canadian Approach to Assisted Dying (enclosed as Appendix 2). These recommendations, guided by a set of ten foundational principles, address patient eligibility for access to and assessment for assisted dying, procedural safeguards for eligibility criteria, the roles and responsibilities of the attending and consulting physicians, and the issue of conscientious objection. Taken together, these recommendations form the CMA's position on the forthcoming legislative and regulatory framework to govern assisted dying in Canada. In addition to our recommendations, we would like to highlight key points that are of particular relevance to physicians: NATIONAL, PAN-CANADIAN LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK The CMA strongly recommends the establishment of national and coordinated legislative and regulatory processes and systems in response to the Carter decision. The CMA is deeply concerned that in the absence of federal action to support the establishment of national guidelines for assisted dying, a patchwork of differing and potentially conflicting approaches could emerge across jurisdictions. Legislative action at the federal level is needed to provide further clarity for physicians and their patients and support the promulgation of a coordinated and consistent approach across all jurisdictions in Canada. The CMA has been working with the medical regulatory colleges at the national level to mitigate this risk through the development of the CMA's Principles-based Recommendations for a Canadian Approach to Assisted Dying which has encouraged similar efforts by the regulatory colleges. In addition to these initiatives, federal action is required. CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION As the Federal External Panel is aware, the Carter decision emphasizes that any regulatory or legislative response must seek to reconcile the Charter rights of patients (wanting to access assisted dying) and physicians (who choose not to participate in assisted dying on grounds of conscientious objection). The notion of conscientious objection is not monolithic. While some conceptions of conscience encompass referral, others view referral as being connected to, or as akin to participating in, a morally objectionable act. It is the CMA's position that an effective reconciliation is one that respects, and takes account of, differences in conscience, while facilitating access on the principle of equity. To this end, the CMA's membership strongly endorses the recommendation on conscientious objection as set out in section 5.2 of the CMA's enclosed Principles-based Recommendations for a Canadian Approach to Assisted Dying. ADDITIONAL SUPPORTS The CMA recognizes, and supports addressing, the need to develop education materials for physicians. To this end, the CMA is actively developing education modules for physicians following an environmental scan of existing courses and discussions with other jurisdictions (e.g., the Royal Dutch Medical Association). The CMA has the support of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and the Canadian Medical Protective Association to lead this initiative. Finally, as previously stated, the CMA strongly encourages the federal government to make the report of the Federal External Panel publicly available once final. The CMA urges the members of the Federal External Panel to support this recommendation to the federal government. Thank you once again for the opportunity to provide input. The CMA looks forward to our meeting with the Federal External Panel on October 20, 2015. Sincerely, Cindy Forbes, MD, CCFP, FCFP President Jeff Blackmer MD, MHSc, FRCPC Vice-President, Medical Professionalism Enclosed: Appendix 1 - Summary Report: End-of-Life Care A National Dialogue (please see pdf for link to document) Appendix 2 - CMA's Principles-based Recommendations for a Canadian Approach to Assisted Dying Principles-based Recommendations for a Canadian Approach to Assisted Dying On Feb. 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously struck down the law prohibiting assisted dying. The court suspended that decision for 12 months. This has provided an opportunity for the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) to build on its past work and pursue further consultation with provincial and territorial medical associations, medical and non-medical stakeholders, members, legislatures and patients for processes, whether legal, regulatory or guidelines, that respect patients' needs and reflects physicians' perspectives. The goal of this process is twofold: (a) discussion and recommendations on a suite of ethical-legal principles and (b) input on specific issues that are particularly physician-sensitive and are worded ambiguously or not addressed in the Court's decision. The touch points are reasonable accommodation for all perspectives and patient-centeredness. For purposes of clarity, CMA recommends national and coordinated legislative and regulatory processes and systems. There should be no undue delay in the development of these laws and regulations. The principles are not designed to serve as a tool for legislative compliance in a particular jurisdiction or provide a standard of care. Rather, the CMA wishes to provide physicians with guidance and a vision of what physicians might strive for to further their professional and legal obligations in a complex area. The CMA recommends adopting the following principles-based approach to assisted dying in Canada: Foundational principles The following foundational principles underpin CMA's recommended approach to assisted dying. Proposing foundational principles is a starting point for ethical reflection, and their application requires further reflection and interpretation when conflicts arise. 1. Respect for patient autonomy: Competent adults are free to make decisions about their bodily integrity. Specific criteria are warranted given the finality of assisted dying. 2. Equity: To the extent possible, all those who meet the criteria for assisted dying should have access to this intervention. Physicians will work with relevant parties to support increased resources and access to high quality palliative care, and assisted dying. There should be no undue delay to accessing assisted dying, either from a clinical, system or facility perspective. To that end, the CMA calls for the creation of a separate central information, counseling, and referral service. 3. Respect for physician values: Physicians can follow their conscience when deciding whether or not to provide assisted dying without discrimination. This must not result in undue delay for the patient to access these services. No one should be compelled to provide assistance in dying. 4. Consent and capacity: All the requirements for informed consent must clearly be met, including the requirement that the patient be capable of making that decision, with particular attention to the context of potential vulnerabilities and sensitivities in end of life circumstances. Consent is seen as an evolving process requiring physicians to continuously communicate with the patient. 5. Clarity: All Canadians must be clear on the requirements for qualification for assisted dying. There should be no "grey areas" in any legislation or regulations. 6. Dignity: All patients, their family members or significant others should be treated with dignity and respect at all times, including throughout the entire process of care at the end of life. 7. Protection of patients: Laws and regulations, through a carefully designed and monitored system of safeguards, should aim to minimize harm to all patients and should also address issues of vulnerability and potential coercion. 8. Accountability: An oversight body and reporting mechanism should be identified and established in order to ensure that all processes are followed. Physicians participating in assisted dying must ensure that they have appropriate technical competencies as well as the ability to assess decisional capacity, or the ability to consult with a colleague to assess capacity in more complex situations. 9. Solidarity: Patients should be supported and not abandoned by physicians and health care providers, sensitive to issues of culture and background, throughout the dying process regardless of the decisions they make with respect to assisted dying. 10. Mutual respect: There should be mutual respect between the patient making the request and the physician who must decide whether or not to perform assisted dying. A request for assisted dying is only possible in a meaningful physician-patient relationship where both participants recognize the gravity of such a request. Recommendations Based on these principles, the Supreme Court decision in Carter v. Canada (2015)1 and a review of other jurisdictions' experiences, CMA makes the following recommendations for potential statutory and regulatory frameworks with respect to assisted dying. We note that this document is not intended to address all potential issues with respect to assisted dying, and some of these will need to be captured in subsequent regulations. 1. Patient eligibility for access to assisted dying 1.1 The patient must be a competent adult who meets the criteria set out by the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Carter v. Canada (2015. 1.2 Informed decision * The attending physician must disclose to the patient information regarding their health status, diagnosis, prognosis, the certainty of death upon taking the lethal medication, and alternatives, including comfort care, palliative and hospice care, and pain and symptom control. 1.3 Capacity * The attending physician must be satisfied that: - the patient is mentally capable of making an informed decision at the time of the request(s) - the patient is capable of giving consent to assisted dying, paying particular attention to the potential vulnerability of the patient in these circumstances - communications include exploring the priorities, values and fears of the patient, providing information related to the patient's diagnosis and prognosis, treatment options including palliative care and other possible interventions and answering the patient's questions * If either or both the attending physician or the consulting physician determines that the patient is incapable, the patient must be referred for further capacity assessment. * Only patients on their own behalf can make the request while competent. 1.4 Voluntariness * The attending physician must be satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that all of the following conditions are fulfilled: - The patient's decision to undergo assisted dying has been made freely, without coercion or undue influence from family members, health care providers or others. - The patient has a clear and settled intention to end his/her own life after due consideration. - The patient has requested assisted dying him/herself, thoughtfully and repeatedly, in a free and informed manner. 2. Patient eligibility for assessment for decision-making in assisted dying Stage 1: Requesting assisted dying 1. The patient submits at least two oral requests for assisted dying to the attending physician over a period of time that is proportionate to the patient's expected prognosis (i.e., terminal vs non-terminal illness). CMA supports the view that a standard waiting period is not appropriate for all requests. 2. CMA recommends generally waiting a minimum of 14 days between the first and the second oral requests for assisted dying. 3. The patient then submits a written request for assisted dying to the attending physician. The written request must be completed via a special declaration form that is developed by the government/department of health/regional health authority/health care facility. 4. Ongoing analysis of the patient's condition and ongoing assessment of requests should be conducted for longer waiting periods. Stage 2: Before undertaking assisted dying 5. The attending physician must wait no longer than 48 hours, or as soon as is practicable, after the written request is received. 6. The attending physician must then assess the patient for capacity and voluntariness or refer the patient for a specialized capacity assessment in more complex situations. 7. The attending physician must inform the patient of his/her right to rescind the request at any time. 8. A second, independent, consulting physician must then also assess the patient for capacity and voluntariness. 9. Both physicians must agree that the patient meets eligibility criteria for assisted dying to proceed. 10. The attending physician must fulfill the documentation and reporting requirements. Stage 3: After undertaking assisted dying 11. The attending physician, or a physician delegated by the attending physician, must take care of the patient until the patient's death. 3. Role of the physician 3.1 The attending physician must be trained to provide assisted dying. 3.2 Patient assessment * The attending physician must determine if the patient qualifies for assisted dying under the parameters stated above in Section 1. * The attending physician must ensure that all reasonable treatment options have been considered to treat physical and psychological suffering according to the patient's need, which may include, independently or in combination, palliative care, psychiatric assessment, pain specialists, gerontologists, spiritual care, and/or addiction counseling. 3.3 Consultation requirements * The attending physician must consult a second physician, independent of both the patient and the attending physician, before the patient is considered eligible to undergo assisted dying. * The consulting physician must - Be qualified by specialty or experience to render a diagnosis and prognosis of the patient's illness and to assess their capacity as noted in Stage 2 above. 3.4 Opportunity to rescind request * The attending physician must offer the patient an opportunity to rescind the request at any time; the offer and the patient's response must be documented. 3.5 Documentation requirements * The attending physician must document the following in the patient's medical record: - All oral and written requests by a patient for assisted dying - The attending physician's diagnosis and prognosis, and their determination that the patient is capable, acting voluntarily and has made an informed decision - The consulting physician's diagnosis and prognosis, and verification that the patient is capable, acting voluntarily and has made an informed decision - A report of the outcome and determinations made during counseling - The attending physician's offer to the patient to rescind the request for assisted dying - A note by the attending physician indicating that all requirements have been met and indicating the steps taken to carry out the request 3.6 Oversight body and reporting requirements * There should be a formal oversight body and reporting mechanism that collects data from the attending physician. * Following the provision of assisted dying, the attending physician must submit all of the following items to the oversight body: - Attending physician report - Consulting physician report - Medical record documentation - Patient's written request for assisted dying * The oversight body would review the documentation for compliance * Provincial and territorial jurisdictions should ensure that legislation and/or regulations are in place to support investigations related to assisted dying by existing provincial and territorial systems * Pan-Canadian guidelines should be developed in order to provide clarity on how to classify the cause on the death certificate 4. Responsibilities of the consulting physician * The consulting physician must verify the patient's qualifications including capacity and voluntariness. * The consulting physician must document the patient's diagnosis, prognosis, capacity, volition and the provision of information sufficient for an informed decision. The consulting physician must review the patient's medical records, and should document this review. 5. Moral opposition to assisted dying 5.1 Moral opposition by a health care facility or health authority * Hospitals and health authorities that oppose assisted dying may not prohibit physicians from providing these services in other locations. There should be no discrimination against physicians who decide to provide assisted dying. 5.2 Conscientious objection by a physician * Physicians are not obligated to fulfill requests for assisted dying. There should be no discrimination against a physician who chooses not to participate in assisted dying. In order to reconcile physicians' conscientious objection with a patient's request for access to assisted dying, physicians are expected to provide the patient with complete information on all options available to them, including assisted dying, and advise the patient on how they can access any separate central information, counseling, and referral service. 1 Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), [2015] 1 SCR 331, 2015 SCC 5 (CanLII)
Documents
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CMA supports all physicians in CMA's policy on euthanasia and assisted suicide.

https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy11220
Last Reviewed
2018-03-03
Date
2014-08-20
Topics
Ethics and medical professionalism
Resolution
GC14-24
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) supports the right of all physicians, within the bounds of existing legislation, to follow their conscience when deciding whether to provide medical aid in dying as defined in CMA's policy on euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Policy Type
Policy resolution
Last Reviewed
2018-03-03
Date
2014-08-20
Topics
Ethics and medical professionalism
Resolution
GC14-24
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) supports the right of all physicians, within the bounds of existing legislation, to follow their conscience when deciding whether to provide medical aid in dying as defined in CMA's policy on euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Text
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) supports the right of all physicians, within the bounds of existing legislation, to follow their conscience when deciding whether to provide medical aid in dying as defined in CMA's policy on euthanasia and assisted suicide.
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Medical certification of death forms in cases involving physician-assisted death

https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy11638
Last Reviewed
2018-03-03
Date
2015-08-26
Topics
Ethics and medical professionalism
Resolution
GC15-40
The Canadian Medical Association supports the development of pan-Canadian guidelines for physicians on the terminology to be used when completing medical certification of death forms in cases involving physician-assisted death.
Policy Type
Policy resolution
Last Reviewed
2018-03-03
Date
2015-08-26
Topics
Ethics and medical professionalism
Resolution
GC15-40
The Canadian Medical Association supports the development of pan-Canadian guidelines for physicians on the terminology to be used when completing medical certification of death forms in cases involving physician-assisted death.
Text
The Canadian Medical Association supports the development of pan-Canadian guidelines for physicians on the terminology to be used when completing medical certification of death forms in cases involving physician-assisted death.
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Palliative care

https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy11809
Last Reviewed
2020-02-29
Date
2015-10-03
Topics
Ethics and medical professionalism
  1 document  
Policy Type
Policy document
Last Reviewed
2020-02-29
Date
2015-10-03
Topics
Ethics and medical professionalism
Text
Palliative care is an approach that aims to relieve suffering and improve the quality of life of those facing life-limiting acute or chronic conditions by means of early identification, assessment, treatment of pain and other symptoms and support of all physical, emotional and spiritual needs. It may coexist with other goals of care, such as prevention, treatment and management of chronic conditions, or it may be the sole focus of care. General principles Goals 1. All Canadian residents should have access to comprehensive, quality palliative care services regardless of age, care setting, diagnosis, ethnicity, language and financial status.1 2. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) declares that its members should adhere to the principles of palliative care whereby relief of suffering and quality of living are valued equally to other goals of medicine. 3. The CMA believes that all health care professionals should have access to referral for palliative care services and expertise.2 4. The CMA supports the integration of the palliative care approach into the management of life-limiting acute and chronic disease.3 5. The CMA advocates for the integration of accessible, quality palliative care services into acute, community and chronic care service delivery models4 that align with patient and family needs. 6. The CMA supports the implementation of a shared care model, emphasizing collaboration and open communication among physicians and other health care professionals.5 7. The CMA recognizes that the practice of assisted dying as defined by the Supreme Court of Canada is distinct from the practice of palliative care. Access to palliative care services 8. The CMA believes that every person nearing the end of life who wishes to receive palliative care services at home should have access to them. 9. Comprehensive, quality palliative care services must be made available to all Canadians and efforts to broaden the availability of palliative care in Canada should be intensified.6 10. The CMA calls upon the federal government, in cooperation with provincial and territorial governments, to improve access to pediatric palliative care through enhanced funding, training and awareness campaigns.7 11. The CMA will engage in physician human resource planning to develop an appropriate strategy to ensure the delivery of quality palliative care throughout Canada.8 Education 12. All physicians require basic competencies in palliative care and may require enhanced skills appropriate to their practice. 13. The CMA requests that all Canadian faculties of medicine create a training curriculum in palliative care suitable for physicians at all stages of their medical education and relevant to the settings in which they practise.9 Role of governments 14. The CMA calls on governments to work toward a common strategy for palliative care to ensure equitable access to and adequate standards for quality palliative care.10 15. The CMA recommends that all relevant legislation be amended to recognize that any person whose medical condition warrants it is entitled to receive palliative care.11 16. The CMA supports emergency funding for end-of-life care for uninsured people residing in Canada.12 BACKGROUND In Canada, the impact of end-of-life care on both individuals and the health care system is "staggering," and the demand for this care will continue to grow as the population ages.13 It is estimated that the number of Canadians dying each year will increase by 40% to 330,000 by 2026. The well-being of an average of five others will be affected by each of those deaths, or more than 1.6 million people.14 Against this backdrop, the availability of and access to palliative care is an urgent policy and practice imperative. There has been mounting support for, and mounting criticism of the lack of, a national strategy for palliative care.15 The delivery of palliative care varies greatly across Canada due to differences in regional demographics, societal needs, government involvement and funding structures. Similarly, funding and legislation supporting access to palliative care services vary significantly between jurisdictions. A recent survey of Canadian physicians who provide palliative medicine found that: (1) Canada needs an adequate palliative medicine workforce; (2) primary care providers need more support for palliative care education and training; (3) palliative medicine as a distinct discipline must be further developed to better meet the complex needs of patients; and (4) Canada must ensure minimum palliative medicine standards are met.16 In an effort to address the current challenges in palliative care and improve both the quality of care and access to care, the CMA developed recommendations for a national call to action: 1. All patients should have a primary care provider that can support them with their palliative care needs or else refer these patients earlier to a palliative care team to establish goals of care. 2. Physicians should provide leadership at local, regional, provincial/territorial and federal levels to promote the establishment of integrated models of palliative care. 3. All physicians should obtain essential palliative care skills and knowledge to provide basic palliative care services to their patients. 4. Physicians should advocate for adequate and appropriate home palliative care resources so their patients can stay in their homes as long as possible. 5. Physicians should advocate for an adequate number of palliative and/or hospice care beds to meet their communities' needs. 6. Continuing care facilities and long-term care homes should have in-house palliative care physician support on their palliative care teams. 7. Physicians should support the valuable work of hospice volunteers. 8. Medical students are encouraged to look at palliative care as a rewarding career. 9. Practising palliative care physicians are encouraged, if needed, to obtain additional certified training in palliative care from either the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or the College of Family Physicians of Canada. 10. Physicians acknowledge the value of and support the participation of family and friends in caring for their loved ones at the end of life. Integrated palliative approach to care There are four main models of palliative care delivery in Canada: integrated palliative care programs, continuing care and long-term care facilities, residential hospices, and home-based palliative care. Palliative care was originally developed in cancer care to provide patients dying of cancer with care at the very end of life by a specialized palliative care team.17 This model has evolved significantly in response to the increasing occurrence of, and burden posed by, complex chronic disease18. Palliative care is now also provided to patients with multiple co-occurring morbidities who require multiple interventions. It is now recognized to benefit all those living with life-limiting acute or chronic conditions, including, or perhaps especially, when it is initiated earlier in the disease trajectory. Evidence shows that integrated and early provision of palliative care leads to: (1) better outcomes than those obtained with treatment alone (e.g., improvements in symptoms, quality of life and patient satisfaction; positive effects on emotional wellness; decreased suffering; and at times increased longevity) and (2) better use of resources (e.g., less burden on caregivers, more appropriate referrals to hospice palliative care, more effective use of palliative care experts, less use of emergency and intensive interventions and decreased cost of care).19-20-21-22 Taken together, these studies validate the benefits of integrating palliative care services with standard treatment and involving palliative care providers early, a collaborative approach that transcends the conventional view that palliative care is care delivered at the very end of life. At present, there is strong support for the development and implementation of an integrated palliative approach to care. Integration effectively occurs: * throughout the disease trajectory; * across care settings (primary care, acute care, long-term and complex continuing care, residential hospices, shelters, home); * across professions/disciplines and specialties; * between the health care system and communities; and * with changing needs from primary palliative care through to specialist palliative care teams. The integrated palliative approach to care focuses on meeting a person's and family's full range of physical, psychosocial and spiritual needs at all stages of frailty or chronic illness, not just at the end of life.23 It is provided in all health care settings. The palliative approach to care is not delayed until the end stages of an illness but is applied earlier to provide active comfort-focused care and a positive approach to reducing suffering. It also promotes understanding of loss and bereavement (Fig. 1). Figure 1 Specialized palliative units and hospices are essential for end-of-life care for some individuals but are not appropriate for all persons facing life-limiting chronic conditions. When a palliative approach is offered in multiple settings, people and their families can receive better care through the many transitions of chronic conditions like dementia, lung, kidney and heart diseases, and cancer. This requires that all physicians be competent in initiating a primary palliative approach: they must be able to engage in advance care planning discussions, ask about physical and emotional symptoms and make appropriate, timely referrals to other providers and resources. Primary care physicians may need to develop more expertise in palliative care. A cadre of expert palliative care physicians will be required to provide care in complex cases, engage in education and research, and provide support for health professional colleagues providing palliative care in multiple settings. All health professionals must be able to practise competently in an integrated palliative approach to care. At the heart of an integrated palliative approach to care are a patient and family surrounded by a team of multidisciplinary professionals and community providers (Fig. 2). While team members vary depending on the needs of the patients and families, the principles of whole-person care and family care do not change. This allows patients and families to have their symptoms managed, receive care in the setting of their choice, engage in ongoing discussions about their preferences for care and experience a sense of autonomy in living their lives well. Figure 2 A report on The Way Forward, a project of the Quality End-of-Life Coalition of Canada and the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, summarizes the situation as follows: "Only a small proportion of Canadians will need the kind of complex, intensive or tertiary hospice palliative care provided by expert palliative care teams in institutional settings, such as residential hospices and acute care hospitals. However, everyone who is becoming frail or is faced with a chronic illness could benefit from certain key palliative care services. As our population ages, we must ensure that all Canadians have access to palliative services integrated with their other care that will help them manage symptoms, enhance their lives, give them a greater sense of control, and enable them to make informed decisions about the care they want. More equitable access to palliative care integrated with their other care will enable more Canadians to live well with their illness up to the end of life. It will also enable more people to receive care in the setting of their choice and reduce the demand on acute care resources." 24 Access to palliative care services There are currently no reliable data on the number of specialized or semi-specialized palliative care physicians in Canada. It is difficult to count these physicians because palliative care has not historically existed as a specialty. Physicians practising palliative care have a wide variety of backgrounds and training, and many provide palliative care on a part-time basis. The Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians is currently working with partner organizations including the CMA, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons and the College of Family Physicians of Canada to better define the different types of palliative care physicians to conduct a meaningful count. On the question of access, studies have found that palliative care services are not aligned with patient preferences. For example, while 70% of hospitalized elderly patients reported wanting comfort measures rather than life-prolonging treatment, more than two-thirds were admitted to intensive care units.25 Most patients and caregivers report wanting to die at home26 and in-home palliative team care is a cost-effective intervention,27 but the value of this form of care is not reflected in many provincial policies. Instead, Canadian families frequently shoulder 25% of the total cost of palliative care because they must pay for home-based services,28 such as nursing and personal care services, that are not provided by governments. With the goal of improving the congruence between patient treatment preferences for end-of-life care and the services provided, Health Quality Ontario developed an evidentiary platform to inform public policy on strategies to optimize quality end-of-life care in in-patient and outpatient (community) settings. It identified four domains in which access to end-of-life care should be optimized to align with patient preferences: (1) location (determinants of place of death); (2) communication (patient care planning discussions and end-of-life educational interventions); (3) team-based models of care; and (4) services (cardiopulmonary resuscitation [CPR] and supportive interventions for informal caregivers).29 Education It is well recognized that education in palliative care is lacking in medical school and residency training. In response, the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians, conducted the Educating Future Physicians in Palliative and End-of-Life Care Project30 to develop consensus-based competencies for undergraduate medical trainees and a core curriculum that was implemented in all 17 Canadian medical schools. Despite these efforts, a survey conducted by the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians found that the competencies are not being consistently taught in medical schools, as evidenced by the fact that 10 medical schools offered less than 10 hours of teaching on palliative care and two offered none.31 Moreover, evidence suggests that Canadian physicians are not consistently or adequately trained in palliative care. There is a general lack of providers trained in palliative care for service provision, teaching, consultative support to other physicians and research. To fill the observed gap in education, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada is developing Palliative Medicine as a subspecialty, and the College of Family Physicians of Canada is developing a Certificate of Added Competence in Palliative Care. What is more, different levels of palliative care competencies are required for different physicians: * All physicians require basic skills in palliative care. * Palliative consultants and physicians who frequently care for patients with chronic illnesses and/or frail seniors require enhanced skills. * Palliative medicine specialists and palliative medicine educators require expert skills. More broadly, the undergraduate curricula of all health care disciplines should include instruction in the principles and practices of palliative care, including how to access specialized palliative care consultation and services. Role of governments Access to palliative care must be treated with the same consideration as access to all other medical care. Provincial/territorial and federal legislation, however, is vague in this regard and does not recognize access to palliative care as an entitlement. Government funding of community-based hospice palliative care has not increased proportionately to the number of institutionally based palliative care beds that have been cut, leaving a significant gap in the health care system.32 To address this issue, efforts to broaden the availability of and access to palliative care in Canada need to be intensified. It is imperative that governments develop a common palliative care strategy to ensure equitable access to and adequate standards for quality palliative care, including emergency funding for those who are uninsured. Glossary Integrated palliative approach to care: An approach that focuses on quality of life and reduction of suffering as a goal of care. This approach may coexist with other goals of care - prevention, cure, management of chronic illness - or be the sole focus of care. The palliative approach integrates palliative care services throughout the treatment of a person with serious life-limiting illness, not just at the very end of life. Palliative care services: Generally consists of palliative care provided by a multidisciplinary team. The team may include a primary care physician, a palliative care physician, nurses, allied health professionals (as needed), social workers, providers of pastoral care and counselling, bereavement specialists and volunteers. The team members work together in a shared care model. Shared care model: An approach to care that uses the skills and knowledge of a range of health professionals who share joint responsibility for an individual's care. This model involves monitoring and exchanging patient data and sharing skills and knowledge among disciplines.33 References 1 Policy Resolution GC99-87 - Access to end-of-life and palliative care services. Ottawa: Canadian Medical Association; 1999. Available: policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/CMAPolicy/PublicB.htm (accessed 2015 Nov 26). 2Policy Resolution GC14-20 - Palliative care services and expertise. Ottawa: Canadian Medical Association; 2014. Available: policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/CMAPolicy/PublicB.htm (accessed 2015 Nov 26). 3Policy Resolution GC13-67 - Palliative Care. Ottawa: Canadian Medical Association; 2013. Available: policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/CMAPolicy/PublicB.htm (accessed 2015 Nov 26). 4Policy Resolution GC13-66 - Palliative Care Services. Ottawa: Canadian Medical Association; 2013. Available: policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/CMAPolicy/PublicB.htm (accessed 2015 Nov 26). 5 Policy Resolution GC13-80 - Collaborative palliative care model. Ottawa: Canadian Medical Association; 2013. Available: policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/CMAPolicy/PublicB.htm (accessed 2015 Nov 26). 6Policy Document PD15-02 - Euthanasia And Assisted Death (Update 2014). Ottawa: Canadian Medical Association; 2015. Available: https://www.cma.ca/Assets/assetslibrary/document/en/advocacy/EOL/CMA_Policy_Euthanasia_Assisted%20Death_PD15-02-e.pdf#search=Euthanasia%20and (accessed 2015 Nov 26). 7 Policy Resolution GC06-12 - Access to pediatric palliative care. Ottawa: Canadian Medical Association; 2006. Available: policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/CMAPolicy/PublicB.htm (accessed 2015 Nov 26). 8Policy Resolution GC14-23 - Delivery of quality palliative end-of-life care throughout Canada. Ottawa: Canadian Medical Association; 2014. Available: policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/CMAPolicy/PublicB.htm (accessed 2015 Nov 26). 9Policy Resolution GC13-71 - Training in palliative care. Ottawa: Canadian Medical Association; 2013. Available: policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/CMAPolicy/PublicB.htm (accessed 2015 Nov 26). 10Policy Document PD10-02 - Funding the continuum of care.Ottawa: Canadian Medical Association; 2010. Available: policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/CMAPolicy/PublicB.htm (accessed 2015 Nov 26). 11Policy Resolution GC13-70 - Palliative Care. Ottawa: Canadian Medical Association; 2013. Available: policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/CMAPolicy/PublicB.htm (accessed 2015 Nov 26). 12Policy Resolution GC14-26 - Emergency funding for end-of-life care for uninsured people residing in Canada. Ottawa: Canadian Medical Association; 2014. Available: policybase.cma.ca/dbtw-wpd/CMAPolicy/PublicB.htm (accessed 2015 Nov 26). 13 OHTAC End-of-Life Collaborative. Health care for people approaching the end of life: an evidentiary framework. Toronto: Health Quality Ontario; 2014. Available: http://www.hqontario.ca/evidence/publications-and-ohtac-recommendations/ontario-health-technology-assessment-series/eol-evidentiary-framework. 14 Quality End-of-Life Care Coalition of Canada. Blueprint for action 2010 to 2012. Ottawa: Quality End-of-Life Care Coalition of Canada; 2010. Available: http://www.qelccc.ca/media/3743/blueprint_for_action_2010_to_2020_april_2010.pdf. 15 Fowler R, Hammer M. End-of-life care in Canada. Clin Invest Med. 2013;36(3):E127-E32. 16 Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians. Highlights from the National Palliative Medicine Survey. Surrey (BC): Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians, Human Resources Committee; May 2015. 17 Bacon J. The palliative approach: improving care for Canadians with life-limiting illnesses. Ottawa: Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association; 2012. Available: http://www.hpcintegration.ca/media/38753/TWF-palliative-approach-report-English-final2.pdf. 18 Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee OCDM Collaborative. Optimizing chronic disease management in the community (outpatient) setting (OCDM): an evidentiary framework. Toronto: Health Quality Ontario; 2013. Available: www.hqontario.ca/Portals/0/Documents/eds/ohtas/compendium-ocdm-130912-en.pdf. 19 Zimmermann C, Swami N, Krzyzanowska M, Hannon B, et al. Early palliative care for patients with advanced cancer: a cluster-randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2014;383(9930):1721-1730. 20 Klinger CA, Howell D, Marshall D, Zakus D, et al. Resource utilization and cost analyses of home-based palliative care service provision: the Niagara West end-of-life shared-care project. Palliat Med. 2013;27(2):115-122. 21 Temel JS, Greer JA, Muzikansky MA, Gallagher ER, et al. Early palliative care for patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer. NEJM. 2010;363:733-742. 22 Bakitas M, Lyons KD, Hegel MT, Balan S, et al. Effects of a palliative care intervention on clinical outcomes in patients with advanced cancer: the Project ENABLE II randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2009;302:741-749. 23 Quality End-of-Life Care Coalition of Canada, Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association. The Way Forward National Framework: a roadmap for an integrated palliative approach to care. Ottawa: Quality End-of-Life Care Coalition of Canada; 2014. Available: http://www.qelccc.ca/media/3743/blueprint_for_action_2010_to_2020_april_2010.pdf 24 Quality End-of-Life Coalition of Canada, Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association. The Way Forward National Framework: a roadmap for the integrated palliative approach to care. Quality End-of-Life Coaltion of Canada; 2014. Available: http://www.hpcintegration.ca/media/60044/TWF-framework-doc-Eng-2015-final-April1.pdf. 25 Cook D, Rocker G. End of life care in Canada: a report from the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences Forum. Clin Invest Med. 2013;36(3):E112-E113. 26 Brazil, K, Howell D, Bedard M, Krueger P, et al. Preferences for place of care and place of death among informal caregivers of the terminally ill. Palliat Med. 2005;19(6):492-499. 27 Pham B, Krahn M. End-of-life care interventions: an economic analysis. Ontario Health Quality Technology Assessment Series. 2014;14(18):1-70. Available: http://www.qelccc.ca/media/3743/blueprint_for_action_2010_to_2020_april_2010.pdf. 28 Dumont S, Jacobs P, Fassbender K, Anderson D, et al. Costs associated with resource utilization during the palliative phase of care: a Canadian perspective. Palliat Med. 2009;23(8)708-717. 29 OHTAC End-of-Life Collaborative. Health care for people approaching the end of life: an evidentiary framework. Toronto: Health Quality Ontario; 2014. Available: www.hqontario.ca/evidence/publications-and-ohtac-recommendations/ontario-health-technology-assessment-series/eol-evidentiary-framework 30 Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada. Educating future physicians in palliative and end-of-life care. Ottawa: Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada; 2004. Available: http://70.38.66.73/social-educating-physicians-e.php. 31 Daneault S. Undergraduate training in palliative care in Canada in 2011. Montreal: Soins palliatifs, Hôpital Notre-Dame, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal; 2012. 32 Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association. Fact sheet 2012: hospice palliative care in Canada. Available: http://www.chpca.net/media/330558/Fact_Sheet_HPC_in_Canada%20Spring%202014%20Final.pdf. 33 Moorehead, R. Sharing care between allied health professional and general practitioners. Aust Fam Physician. 1995;24(11).
Documents
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Supporting consultations while developing policies, regulations and guidelines on physician-assisted dying

https://policybase.cma.ca/en/permalink/policy11635
Last Reviewed
2018-03-03
Date
2015-08-26
Topics
Ethics and medical professionalism
Resolution
GC15-37
The Canadian Medical Association supports consultation with the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians and other relevant physician societies when policies, regulations and guidelines are developed on physician-assisted dying.
Policy Type
Policy resolution
Last Reviewed
2018-03-03
Date
2015-08-26
Topics
Ethics and medical professionalism
Resolution
GC15-37
The Canadian Medical Association supports consultation with the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians and other relevant physician societies when policies, regulations and guidelines are developed on physician-assisted dying.
Text
The Canadian Medical Association supports consultation with the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians and other relevant physician societies when policies, regulations and guidelines are developed on physician-assisted dying.
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