Registrar’s message – medical assistance in dying

The standard was developed using the eligibility criteria for medical assistance in dying (MAID) set out by the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling. The standard could change when the federal government's new law comes into effect. 

While physicians are legally authorized to provide MAID as of June 6, 2016, the Carter decision did not explicitly protect nurses and pharmacists, who also play a critical role in ensuring patient well-being throughout the procedure. Until a new federal law is in effect, nurses and pharmacists remain uncertain about whether or not they are able to assist in MAID. The College is concerned that this situation may pose a barrier to patients wishing to access MAID; however, it is hopeful that a new directive will be issued by the government in the interim to protect nurses and pharmacists from potential criminal prosecution.

Both the College of Registered Nurses of BC and the College of Pharmacists of BC have provided guidance to their registrants.

Provincial health partners continue to work collaboratively to ensure there is a standardized process in place to enable patient access to MAID, including identifying coordinators in each health authority who can assist patients by providing information and guidance, and connecting them with willing providers of MAID. 

Physicians involved in providing MAID will need to access standardized forms, which can be obtained from the health authorities and the College. The Ministry of Health is currently working to identify an official oversight agency to support provincial monitoring and reporting of MAID. In the meantime, physicians are required to submit all of their completed forms to the College. 

Completed forms must be sent by mail in confidence to:

Office of the Registrar and CEO
College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC
300–669 Howe Street
Vancouver BC  V6C 0B4

Standard on Medical Assistance in Dying
Frequently Asked Questions 

Heidi M. Oetter, MD
Registrar and CEO

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