Federal Panel gains insight into assisted dying practices in European countries

OTTAWA, Sept. 21, 2015 /CNW/ - The External Panel that has been established to provide the federal government with options for responding to the Carter v Canada ruling has returned from its 11-day study of how physician-assisted dying has been implemented in the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland.

During the study, panel members met with a broad range of experts including physicians, lawyers, government officials, members of parliament and professors in the fields of biomedical ethics, palliative care and assisted dying.  

Panel members also met with two major groups offering assisted dying services: Dignitas, a Swiss group helping those, including foreigners, with terminal illness and severe physical and mental illnesses to die; and EXIT, an aid-in-dying organization that helps people plan for the end of their life with the best available information and support of family and friends.

"We learned a tremendous amount from experts who have a great deal of experience with end-of-life regimes in their countries," said Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov, Chair of the External Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v Canada. "The Panel will use the information to better focus discussions here and to come up with thoughtful options for the government on the best way forward for Canadians."

The European study is part of a larger dialogue on physician-assisted dying that includes a national online consultation with Canadians www.ep-ce.ca/consultation, meetings with expert groups and individuals, as well as in-person consultations set to resume following the federal election.

The Panel's online questionnaire, The Issue Book, is continuing to gather input from Canadians until October 11, 2015. It provides an opportunity for the greatest number of people, representing a broad range of views, to be heard on this important issue.  Individuals and organizations can also continue to send written submissions to the Panel, via its www.externalpanel.ca website, until that date.

"We are consulting as widely as possible within the time available, particularly through our online consultation that is open to all Canadians," said Dr. Max Chochinov. "We want to ensure a diverse range of views on this heartfelt issue, so we can develop workable and well thought-out legislative options for assisted dying in Canada."

For further information on the Panel and its work, please visit:


Link to:

News Release: Canadians have an opportunity to be heard on the issue of physician-assisted dying 

News Release: Federal Panel on Physician-Assisted Dying Begins European Study 

Statement by Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov: Reflections on my decision to Chair the Federal Panel on Physician-Assisted Dying 


SOURCE Secretariat to the External Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v. Canada

For further information: Contacts: Secretariat Communications, 613-952-9364, media@ep-ce.ca, www.externalpanel.ca

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