Medically Assisted Death in Canada – Unsettled (and Unsettling?) Law

Kim Clarke


law; physician-assisted suicide

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(1) An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying), SC 2016, c 3, available at (“Medical Assistance in Dying Act”). Medical assistance in dying has been legal in Quebec since December 2015, pursuant to An Act Respecting End-of- Life Care, RSQ c S-31.0001,

available at

(2) Carter v Canada (Attorney General), 2015 SCC 5, [2015] 1 SCR 331, available at [Carter].

(3) Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46, s 227(1), available at

(4) Peter W Hogg, Presentation to Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Bill C-14 (medical assistance in dying) (June 6, 2016), available at

(5) Canada (Attorney General) v EF, 2016 ABCA 155, 2016 CarswellAlta 895, available at (“EF”)

(6) Mike Laanela, “Assisted-dying legislation faces new legal challenge in B.C.: Julia Lamb, 25, says she is terrified Canadian law could mean decades of mental and physical suffering, CBCNews (27 June 2016), available at assisted-dying- legislation-1.3654220.

(7) Definition of “terminal illness” in Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, Or. Rev. Stat. 127.800 §1.01(12), available at

(8) House of Commons Debates, Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada) (April 22, 2016), available at

(9) Department of Justice, Medical Assistance in Dying: Glossary, available at

(10) Specifically, the Pension Act, RSC 1985, cP-6, Corrections and Conditional Release Act, 1992 SC, c20, and Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act, SC 2005, c21.

(11) Canada, External Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v Canada, Consultations on Physician-Assisted Dying – Summary of Results and Key Findings – Final Report (Ottawa: 15 December 2015), available at autre/pad-amm/pad.pdf.

(12) The Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying, Final Report (18 November 2015) at 34, available at

(13) Canada, Special Joint Committee on on Physician-Assisted Dying, Report of the Special Joint Committee on Physician Assisted Dying (Ottawa: Senate and House of Commons, 25 February 2016), available at

(14) House of Commons Debates, Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada) (May 31, 2016), available at



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