Canadian Government Appoints Panel to Examine Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia

International   |   Alex Schadenberg   |   Jul 20, 2015   |   12:01PM   |   Ottawa, Canada

Canada’s Minister of Justice, Hon Peter MacKay, and Minister of Health, Hon Rona Ambrose, appointed an external expert panel to examine the issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide.

EPC welcomes the external panel and we will urge them to make recommendations that will lead to the protection of every Canadian from euthanasia and assisted suicide.

On February 6, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s laws protecting people from euthanasia and assisted suicide. The Supreme Court gave parliament 12 months to establish new laws.

Today, Harvey Max Chochinov, the Canada research chair in palliative care at the University of Manitoba was appointed to head the panel while Catherine Frazee, a former co-director of the Ryerson-RBC Institute for Disability Studies Research and Education and the former chair of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and Benoît Pelletier, a University of Ottawa law professor and former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister.

Dr Catherine Frazee

The Justice Ministry press release stated:

The panel will conduct consultations with medical authorities and with interveners in the Carter case to assist the federal government in formulating a legislative response to the Supreme Court’s decision. The panel will also consult Canadians, including interested stakeholders, through a public online consultation. The panel will then provide a final report to the Ministers of Justice and Health that outlines its findings and options for a legislative response for consideration by the federal government.

EPC urged the government to appoint a “Commission” and to use the Notwithstanding clause to give us time to effectively legislate on these issues.

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EPC will work with its coalition partners to submit a comprehensive response to the external panel. The external panel will report back to the government later this fall. Note: Alex Schadenberg is the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and you can read his blog here.