Those who can provide medical assistance in dying services are:
- nurse practitioners (in provinces where this is allowed)
- family members or other people that you ask to help
- health care providers who help physicians or nurse practitioners
- the rules set out in the Criminal Code
- applicable provincial and territorial health-related laws, rules and policies
Not all health care providers will be comfortable with medical assistance in dying. The federal practice may not be consistent with a provider's beliefs and values. The federal legislation does not force any person to provide or help to provide medical assistance in dying.
Provincial and territorial governments have the responsibility for determining how and where health care services are provided. They may also make policies around where medical assistance in dying can take place as long as they do not conflict with the Criminal Code.
There are 2 types of medical assistance in dying available to Canadians. They each must include a physician or nurse practitioner who:
- directly administers a substance that causes death, such as an injection of a drug
- this is becoming known as clinician-administered medical assistance in dying
- it was previously known as voluntary euthanasia
- provides or prescribes a drug that the eligible person takes themselves, in order to bring about their own death
- this is becoming known as self-administered medical assistance in dying
- it was previously known as medically assisted suicide or assisted suicide
- So-called "mature minors" — people under age 18 considered by doctors to be capable of directing their own care.
- Cases involving "advance requests" — where a patient stipulates they would like their life to end at a later time when they are no longer competent to give consent.
- And people who wish to end their lives solely because of mental illness.
The legislation contains safeguards to make sure those who ask for medical assistance in dying:
- request the service of their own free will
- are able to make health care decisions for themselves
- are eligible (this means they meet all of the listed criteria)
- can and do give informed consent, which includes being informed of all care options available to them to help relieve suffering
Talk to your physician or nurse practitioner about end-of-life care options in relation to your medical condition or circumstances.
To participate in the online public consultation: www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cons/ad-am/index.html