Intended for healthcare professionals


Failure to enact assisted suicide law leaves Canada’s doctors in limbo

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 13 June 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i3273
  1. Barbara Kermode-Scott
  1. Vancouver Island

Canada’s doctors, medical organisations, healthcare system, and patients have been left in legal limbo after the government missed the 6 June deadline to pass new laws legalising doctor assisted suicide.

The Supreme Court set the June deadline for the new proposed law, called Bill C-14, last February.1 2 The law has been passed in Canada’s House of Commons but remains under scrutiny and debate in the upper house, the Senate.

Since 7 June the criminal code prohibiting physician assisted dying has been lifted, but because federal legislation has not been enacted doctors, pharmacists, and nurses are unsure whether …

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