Doctor-assisted suicide will go ahead — with or without legislation
Doctors have standards and court decisions to guide them, says Nova Scotia's Dr. Gus Grant
Guidance from the courts along provincial doctor standards mean there will be no vacuum for patients in need if the federal government does not pass assisted suicide legislation on Monday.
Dr. Gus Grant, registrar and CEO of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia, said doctors who wish to participate in the procedure will be ready next week to provide medically assisted deaths.
The Supreme Court of Canada has given the federal government until Monday to pass assisted-suicide legislation, but Bill C-14 is still being scrutinized in the Senate.
While in a perfect world there would be legislation in place, Grant said it's important to know provincial and territorial colleges of physicians have standards to follow — with or without legislation.
'We have the guidance of the Supreme Court of Canada'
"Most importantly, we have the guidance of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Carter decision and the various decisions — and there have been quite a few now — of various provincial superior court decisions since then," he said on Thursday.
"There is sufficient guidance out there that medical aid in dying will be able to be delivered to appropriate patients."
That means people wishing to receive medical help to die will be able to have their eligibility assessed by two doctors and, if both doctors agree the patient meets the necessary criteria, the service will be provided through the Nova Scotia Health Authority, said Grant.
The process to draft and pass federal legislation has been rife with challenges, including disputes about whether the federal government must adhere to the timeline set by the Supreme Court and whether the legislation drafted by the federal Liberals goes as far as called for by the court.