Province passes assisted suicide regulation

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Province has passed a regulation which requires all deaths that result from medical assisted suicide be reported to the BC Coroners Service.

It follows parliamentary changes to federal legislation to permit, in specific circumstances, what is now called medical assistance in dying.

Chief BC Coroner, Lisa Lapointe, says the intent is to insure there’s transparency in the oversight of the medically assisted deaths.

She describes the new provincial regulation, passed by cabinet, as an interim measure, to be used until the required federal legislation is put in place.

Ottawa has indicated it will work with the provinces and territories to develop regulations ensuring consistent nation-wide reporting of these deaths under terms of the federal legislation passed last month.

Earlier this year, the province confirmed BC doctors must abide by the standards set out by the provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons in order to ensure strong safeguards to protect vulnerable patients.

It said the College had issued a specific set of standards doctors must follow when working with patients seeking assisted death, and added that each provincial health authority had been directed to appoint a co-ordinator for medical assistance in dying.

Meantime, the debate over the issue, appears to be far from over, as the BC Civil Liberties Association has already launched a constitutional challenge of Bill C-14 arguing the so-called “reasonably foreseeable clause”, initially opposed by the Senate, is discriminatory.

Under the terms of the legislation only those Canadians whose, “Natural death is reasonably foreseeable”, and who are in an “Advanced state of irreversible decline” will be eligible for physician-assisted deaths.

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