Canada Releases Model Practice Standard for Medical Assistance in Dying

Health Canada

Medical assistance in dying (MAID) remains a complex and deeply personal issue for many Canadians. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that the practice of MAID balances laws that give autonomy and freedom of choice for Canadians, a system that provides strong safeguards that protect those who may be vulnerable, and a process that guarantees compassionate and diligent consideration of every request for MAID.

Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, released the Model Practice Standard for MAID. The Model Practice Standard and accompanying documents will help clinicians align their practice with clear guidance and will assist regulators to ensure the protection of the public in the context of complex cases, including where the person’s sole underlying medical condition is a mental illness.

The Model Practice Standard is designed to ensure that MAID practice in Canada can operate in a consistent and safe manner across the country. The Model Practice Standard was developed by a task group of clinical, legal and regulatory experts in response to the first recommendation in the report of the Expert Panel on MAID and Mental Illness.

The Government of Canada is also supporting the development of an accredited Canadian MAID curriculum to support clinician education and training, which will address topics related to the assessment and provision of MAID including mental disorders and other complex chronic conditions. The Model Practice Standard, along with the MAID training curriculum, will provide valuable resources for regulators and practitioners in interpreting and applying the legislative framework safely in different clinical situations.

Today’s announcement marks yet another step in the work by all levels of government to ensure the health care system is ready for when MAID requests by people suffering solely from a mental illness will become eligible as of March 17, 2024.

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