4.5 Physician-assisted death: Living and dying with dignity

End of life issues are increasingly raised by those suffering from terminal illness, seeking to choose the time and means of their own death. A movement for Dying with Dignity has gained substantial public support across Canada, and that support base includes the Green Party. Advances in medical care can keep human beings alive much longer when, in the past, the limits of technology allowed death to provide relief. Those in unbearable pain at the end of their lives have repeatedly sought a court ruling that the provisions of the Criminal Code, prohibiting physician-assisted death must be adjusted.

In a unanimous decision on‎ February 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has reversed historic support for the position that assisting a death was an offence under the Criminal Code. The Liberal response falls short of the SCC ruling.  We will continue to work for the reforms, as found in the rejected Green amendments in C-14, to ensure access to physician-assisted death in situations of irremediable suffering.

Green Party MPs will:

  • Support changes to the Criminal Code to allow for physicians to assist death in limited cases and circumstances involving adults with full mental capacity to consent, in situations of terminal illness and who find their situation unbearable.