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.


Just Posted

Wenatchee wins Game 5

Vipers force overtime with 0.6 seconds left

District officials deem Vernon schools safe

Policies and procedures in place to protect against violent incidents

Needle clean-up planned

Vernon group heading out into community Saturday to pick up needles

Heavy rains result in early floods

Armstrong assisted living suites evacuated for second straight year following floods

Vernon group protests Kinder Morgan

Arnold’s office empty during protest

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

B.C. pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions from around B.C. for National Puppy Day 2018

What’s Up: April

Devil star will appear in April

Photos: Salmon Arm celebrates Paralympic champion Natalie Wilkie

Hometown hero welcomed home with parade, recognition ceremony at city hall

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

Most Read