Draft Federal Legislation to Amend the Criminal Code to Be Consistent with Carter v. Canada (Attorney General) 2015 SCC 5 and the Final Report of the Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying

13 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2015 Last revised: 15 Jan 2016

Jocelyn Downie

Schulich School of Law & Faculty of Medicine

Date Written: December 14, 2015

Abstract

Draft Federal Legislation to Amend the Criminal Code to Be Consistent with Carter v. Canada (Attorney General) 2015 SCC 5 and the Final Report of the Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying

On February 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously declared that the Criminal Code prohibitions on physician-assisted dying (both assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia) violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They immediately suspended the declaration for 12 months thus allowing the government time to craft new legislation. This paper is a contribution to the project of meeting that deadline -- it presents draft federal legislation. This draft legislation is based on: 1) a thorough review of existing legislation in all permissive regimes throughout the world (reviewed through a "lessons learned" lens); 2) the requirements for constitutional validity set out by the Supreme Court of Canada in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General); 3) the Final Report of the Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying; and 4) other relevant case law. Specifically, medically-assisted dying includes both assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia. Access is limited to assistance provided to individuals who have a grievous condition (including illness, disease or disability) that cannot be alleviated by means acceptable to the person and causes enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition. Assisted dying is only permitted with the free and informed consent of the individual. Procedural safeguards and a national oversight system are established.

Keywords: assisted dying, assisted suicide, voluntary euthanasia

Suggested Citation

Downie, Jocelyn, Draft Federal Legislation to Amend the Criminal Code to Be Consistent with Carter v. Canada (Attorney General) 2015 SCC 5 and the Final Report of the Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying (December 14, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2562724 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2562724

Jocelyn Downie (Contact Author)

Schulich School of Law & Faculty of Medicine ( email )

Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4H9
Canada

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