CFPC responds to the development of Medical Aid in Dying legislation

April 14, 2016

(April 14, 2016- Mississauga, ON) The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) is pleased the federal government is taking steps to define Medical Aid in Dying in advance of the Supreme Court of Canada’s extension of June 6, 2016.

“Our family physician members are already having discussions with patients about end-of-life care including physician assisted death, so federal leadership is critical to providing a legal framework,” said CFPC President, Jennifer Hall, MD, CCFP, FCFP. “What we heard today represents a prudent first step for the government and we look forward to seeing how things unfold during debates.”

The CFPC continues to find ways to support family physicians with respect to questions on physician-assisted dying, issuing a Guide on Ethical Reflection. The CFPC also contributed the family medicine perspective to the work of several groups in preparation of this legislation, including the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying. Further, we asked a group of our members who volunteer to be part of our ePanel, for their opinion on physician-assisted dying. These survey results have helped to guide the CFPC through this complex policy and health care issue. We found that 65% would help competent, consenting dying patients end their life if requested. More than half of this group agreed only if appropriate checks and balances are in place.

“We look forward to continuing to offer our advice and perspective to the federal government as the legislation takes shape. Clarity of process and resource availability will be crucial for both physicians and their patients as well as an understanding of criteria when providing physician-assisted dying,” adds the CFPC’s Executive Director and CEO, Francine Lemire, MD CM, CCFP, FCFP, CAE. “We are looking for assurances that physician conscientious objection will be considered and balanced with both the rights of the provider and ensuring patients are not abandoned when most vulnerable.”

The CFPC is committed to supporting its members through education and guidance to ensure that there are well-defined universal standards that govern physician-assisted dying. The CFPC also places great importance on the value of palliative care and will continue its work in ensuring high quality palliative care, in addition to comprehensive, continuing family medicine, is available to all in Canada regardless of developments in legislation.

The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) represents 35,000 members across the country. It is the professional organization responsible for establishing standards for the training, certification and lifelong education of family physicians. The College provides quality services and programs, supports family medicine teaching and research, and advocates on behalf of family physicians and the specialty of family medicine. The CFPC accredits postgraduate family medicine training in Canada’s 17 medical schools.


Susan Monic
Manager, Communications Services
College of Family Physicians of Canada
905-629-0900 ext. 432


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