Friday, March 13, 2020

Canadian Psychiatric Association approves euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Canadian Psychiatric Association has moved from a position that was negative to euthanasia and assisted suicide to one that is supportive.  

The new position of the Canadian Psychiatric Association’s Professional Standards and Practice Committee, that was approved by the Board of Directors on February 10, 2020 states:
Canadian psychiatrists will ensure that: 
1. They have a working knowledge of legislation that will potentially impact their patients with respect to MAiD, and shall take it into consideration during clinical encounters where this issue may arise. 
2. Patients with a psychiatric illness should not be discriminated against solely on the basis of their disability, and should have available the same options regarding MAiD as available to all patients. 
3. Psychiatrists will be mindful of the medical ethical principles as they relate to MAiD. They should not allow personal opinion or bias to sway patients who wish to consider MAiD as an option for addressing irremediable conditions. 
4. While psychiatrists may choose not to be involved with the provision of MAiD, patients requesting MAiD must be provided with information regarding available MAiD resources and the referral process. 
5. Psychiatrists who assess eligibility for MAiD are expected to be rigorous in conducting capacity assessments and identifying symptoms of mental disorder that are likely to affect decision-making. The CPA will continue to protect the rights and interests of patients with psychiatric conditions at all times, and with particular attention to the issues of decisional capacity, informed consent and irremediable conditions in the legislation and evolving landscape of MAiD. The CPA will advocate for the inclusion of appropriate safeguards in processes, protocols, procedures and legislation pertaining to provision of MAiD.
1. Parliament of Canada. An act to amend the criminal code and to make related amendments to other acts (medical assistance in dying) [Internet]. Canada; 2016. [Cited 2020 Feb 03]. Available from:
2. Carter v. Canada 2015 SCC 5 [2015] 1. R.C.S. 331.
3. Truchon c. Procureur général du Canada, 2019, QCCS 3792.
Psychiatrists should not be involved with killing their patients. If you consider the nature and condition of many patients that psychiatrists are helping, killing should be viewed as antithetical to their care. 

I am concerned about the good psychiatrists who I have come to know who believe that killing is not a medical treatment for psychiatric treatment. Where are we going?

1 comment:

Ruth Oliver said...

As One psychiatrist who was never asked I hereby declare that I do not and will never approve of killing my patients.That is NOT what I took the Hippocratic Oath for but quite the opposite! Doctor Ruth Oliver.