Gateway Gazette

Province Seeks Public Input on Physician-Assisted Death Policies


The Government of Alberta is seeking the input of Albertans to help develop policies to protect the interests of patients, health-care workers and vulnerable individuals in response to the Supreme Court of Canada ruling that physician-assisted death will be a legal right in some cases as of June 6, 2016.

“As the government determines what changes are needed to align with the Supreme Court decision, we want to consult with Albertans. I am very pleased that Associate Minister of Health Brandy Payne, along with Dr. David Swann and Dr. Bob Turner, have agreed to hear from Albertans on this sensitive and deeply personal issue.”

Sarah Hoffman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health

The Advisory Committee on Physician-Assisted Death is tasked with seeking input from Albertans on topics such as age eligibility, location and type of services, advanced directives, reflection period, and whether publicly-funded institutions may opt out. The Committee will engage with stakeholder groups, health-care providers and advocates, and members of the public.

All Albertans are encouraged to share their views via an online survey by March 31, 2016.

“This consultation will consider important and sensitive issues around how we can provide access to physician-assisted death, while protecting vulnerable Albertans and respecting the rights of physicians and other health professionals. We need input not just from legal and medical experts, but also from patients, families and caregivers.”

Brandy Payne, Associate Minister of Health

Alberta Health continues to work with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta and Alberta Health Services. The federal government is responsible for making any changes to the Criminal Code needed in response to the Court’s decision. Each province and territory is responsible for deciding how, when and where physician-assisted death will be provided within this context.

For more information on the consultation, visit
Editor’s Note: Associate Minister of Health, Brandy Payne, will be available for media interviews at 3:45 p.m. at the Edmonton Federal Building, main floor (media will be met at the door and directed to the site).  For media outside of Edmonton, please contact Press Secretary Timothy Wilson to arrange an interview.

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