Now Underway – Consultation on a Future Framework for Palliative Care in Canada

The federal government passed a private member’s bill (C-277), the Framework on Palliative Care in Canada Act, on December 12, 2017. As required by the Act, the federal government is consulting on the future of palliative care in Canada – specifically, in the context of the availability of physician-assisted death. The goal is to develop a framework for access to high quality palliative care in hospitals, home care, long-term care facilities and residential hospices.

According to is website, the federal government is now seeking input from health care professionals across Canada, health system experts, caregivers, people living with life-threatening illnesses, and interested Canadians about their long-term vision for palliative care in Canada, including access, education, support and training for caregivers. The consultation seeks ideas and experiences on the following topics:

  • Definition of palliative care
  • Advance care planning
  • Person and family-centred care
  • Challenges facing people living with life-threatening illness
  • Consistent access to palliative care
  • Special populations (i.e., Indigenous, infants, children and youth, homeless, rural and remote communities, LGBTQ2, people living with disabilities, immigrants and refugees, and others)
  • Health care provider education, training and supports
  • Caregiver training and supports
  • Community engagement
  • Bereavement

This is a great opportunity to have your organization’s voice heard and to give your administrators and health care staff a chance to contribute to the development of public policy.  The voices of health care providers, caregivers and their families are also an integral part of these consultations about the future of palliative care in Canada.

Submissions are due by July 13, 2018 and may be made in writing or on-line.  For help making a submission, please get in touch with me: spalter@ddohealthlaw.com. If you are interested in reading the Act, it is available here: http://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/bill/C-277/royal-assent

By December 11, 2018, the report of the federal Minister of Health that sets out the framework for palliative care must be presented to the House of Parliament and 10 days after that the report must be posted on Health Canada’s website.  Watch this blog to stay informed.

 

 

From AdvocateDaily.com

OTTAWA – The Harper government is finally set to announce its long-promised public consultation process on the contentious issue of doctor-assisted dying.

As part of the consultation process to be announced this afternoon, The Canadian Press has learned the government is creating a panel of experts to conduct roundtable discussions.

The government has been dragging its feet on the issue since last February when the Supreme Court struck down the prohibition on medically assisted death.

The top court gave the government 12 months to craft a new law that recognizes the right of clearly consenting adults who are enduring intolerable physical or mental suffering to seek medical help to end their lives.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay last month signalled that the Conservative government, if re-elected this fall, would ask the court to extend the deadline. He cited time constraints caused by the election.

However, some legal experts have doubted the court would grant an extension since the government has done little to advance the file since February.

The Conservatives voted against a Liberal motion in late February that called for the creation of a multi-party special committee to consult and report back to Parliament by mid-summer with a proposed framework for a new law. At that time, the government argued that a broader public consultation process was required and promised to launch one “very soon.”

MacKay has already said the government will not propose new legislation until after the Oct. 19 election.

The issue is particularly touchy for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose Conservative caucus and party support base include a strong pro-life contingent that is adamantly opposed to medically assisted dying.

A number of Tory backbenchers have urged the government to invoke the constitutional notwithstanding clause to override the Supreme Court and reinstate the ban on assisted suicide.

But opinion polls suggest an overwhelming majority of Canadians want the legal right to choose to die with dignity, with the help of a doctor.

In an interview with AdvocateDaily.com, Toronto health lawyer Mary Jane Dykeman says in order to have a legislative response in place by early February when the Criminal Code prohibitions fall away, paving the way for physician-assisted dying, a government consultation would need to be launched promptly.

“It would have to be, and be seen to be, both efficient and responsive to stakeholders,” Dykeman says. “Given the nature of summer holidays, some of the real work will inevitably be done after Labour Day and in the lead-up to the October federal election.”

Dykeman, partner with Dykeman Dewhirst O’Brien LLP, agrees that to wait until mid-October to request an extension to the February deadline carries a real risk of it not being granted and time running out.

“But the Catch-22 is that to request it now, without the backdrop of having completed a robust consultation, also decreases the likelihood of the timeframe being extended,” she says.

 

Supreme Court of Canada strikes down prohibition on assisted suicide

Mary Jane Dykeman interviewed about the new Supreme Court of Canada decision released today in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General)

See article: http://www.advocatedaily.com/supreme-court-reverses-ban-on-doctor-assisted-death-unconstitutional.html