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Expert panel appointed to review medical assistance in dying requests

Friday, April 28, 2017 @ 8:59 AM | By John Chunn


The Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) has announced the appointment of an expert panel on medical assistance in dying, chaired by Marie Deschamps, former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and adjunct professor at McGill University and Université de Sherbrooke.

In December 2016, the council was asked by Minister of Health Jane Philpott and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould to undertake independent reviews related to medical assistance in dying.

Specifically, the CCA is tasked with examining three particularly complex types of requests for medical assistance in dying that were identified for further review and study in the legislation passed by Parliament in 2016. These cases are: requests by mature minors, advance requests and requests where mental illness is the sole underlying medical condition.

The CCA panel on medical assistance in dying is comprised of 43 individuals, from Canada and abroad, who have expertise, knowledge and leadership experience in a range of disciplines including law, medicine, ethics, social sciences and health sciences, among others.

The panel will be organized into three working groups, each with a chair. Dr. Dawn Davies, associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the University of Alberta, will chair the working group on requests by mature minors. Davies is also associate professor at the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre at the University of Alberta.

Dr. Kwame McKenzie, director of health equity at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) will chair the working group on requests where mental illness is the sole underlying medical condition. McKenzie is also professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto and CEO of the Wellesley Institute.

Dr. Harvey Schipper, professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, will chair the working group on advance requests.