Friday, January 6, 2017

Ontario "assisted dying" legislation (Bill 84) lacks any effective oversight of the law.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition



On June 17 the Canadian government passed Bill C-14, a bill that legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide. Bill C-14 used imprecise language, double messages, and lacked a mechanism for effective oversight of the law.

I concluded my article on Bill C-14 by stating:

"I cannot understand why people are not concerned about the implications of the language of Bill C-14."
On Dec 7, the Ontario government introduced Bill 84 to reconcile the laws and procedures in Ontario with the new federal law.

We are very disappointed with Bill 84 with its lack of effective oversight of the law. Euthanasia and assisted suicide cause the death of a person, an act that cannot be reversed. Effective oversight of the law should be paramount. Bill 84 states:

Medical assistance in dying 10.1 (1) Where a person dies as a result of medical assistance in dying, the physician or nurse practitioner who provided the medical assistance in dying shall give notice of the death to a coroner and, if the coroner is of the opinion that the death ought to be investigated, the coroner shall investigate the circumstances of the death and if, as a result of the investigation, the coroner is of the opinion that an inquest ought to be held, the coroner shall hold an inquest upon the body. 
Requirements re giving of notice(2) The physician or nurse practitioner who provided the medical assistance in dying shall provide the coroner with any information about the facts and circumstances relating to the death that the coroner considers necessary to form an opinion about whether the death ought to be investigated, and any other person who has knowledge of the death shall provide such information on the request of the coroner.
Therefore the physician or nurse practitioner who "medically assist the death" of a person is required to self-report the act to the coroner. Systems of self-reporting do not provide effective oversight of the law.

Based on Bill 84, a physician or nurse practitioner who does not fulfill the requirements of the law will also self-report the act. People do not self report abuse of the law.


Further to that Bill 84 provides legal immunity to anyone who participates in "medical assistance in dying." Bill 84 states:
Immunity, MAID
13.8 (1) No action or other proceeding for damages shall be instituted against a physician or nurse practitioner or any other person assisting him or her for any act done or omitted in good faith in the performance or intended performance of medical assistance in dying. 
Exception
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to an action or proceeding that is based upon the alleged negligence of a physician, nurse practitioner or other person.
The exception to complete legal immunity lacks any significant legal oversight because all of the information concerning the act is self-reported by the person who does the act.

Society needs to wake up and become committed to caring for people, not killing them.

Ontario residents must contact their MPP and tell them to oppose Bill 84.

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