B.C. adopts temporary assisted death protection

Doctors, pharmacists and nurses protected by prosecution guidelines while federal politicians argue over new suicide law

Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould

Crown prosecutors in B.C. have been instructed to follow the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark assisted suicide case when considering charges, until the federal government passes a new law to replace the one struck down June 7.

Provincial charge assessment guidelines apply to pharmacists and nurses as well as doctors involved in assisted death cases. The guidelines say if the conditions set out in the high court decision are met, no charges should be laid.

The federal government’s new legislation was changed by the Senate this week to remove the provision that medically assisted suicide is only allowed for patients who are terminally ill.

The court ruled in February that physician-assisted death is permitted for competent adults who clearly consent to the termination of their life and have “a grievous and irremediable medical condition” including illness or disability that causes “enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual.”

Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Health Minister Jane Philpott issued a statement urging that the Senate pass the new federal law quickly.

“There will be serious access problems for Canadian patients who want medical professionals to help them have a peaceful and dignified death, due to legal uncertainty for medical providers,” they said.

The proposed law allows doctors to opt out of assisting suicide, but requires them to refer patients to another doctor to provide what the court now considers a constitutional right.

The B.C. government has told doctors to be guided by the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons professional standards, which require two doctors to consent that the patient is competent to request assisted suicide.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Tree-pruning community gathers in Oak Bay after tragic death

Crews met in solidarity at site of Tuesday incident

A bear similar to this black bear was spotted on Elk Lake Drive again on Oct. 21 and is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Search continues for bear wandering through Saanich

Bear spotted eating garbage near Elk Lake Wednesday, B.C. Conservation says

Some 30 people including a dozen youth participated in North Saanich’s first ever Fridays for Future protest outside of municipal hall on Mills Road Friday, according to organizers. (Anne-Marie Daniel/Submitted)
Fridays for Future plans second event for North Saanich after inaugural protest

Some 30 people attended first protest on Oct. 9 with a second one scheduled for Oct. 23

A Saanich police officer in an unmarked vehicle stopped a driver going 70 km/h over the speed limit in front of the police department. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Driver caught going 70 km/h over the speed limit in front of the Saanich Police Department

Officer in unmarked car issues $483 ticket, week-long vehicle impound

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Most Read