Legislative Background: Medical Assistance in Dying (Bill C-14)

Archived information

Bill C-14, legislation on medical assistance in dying, received royal assent on June 17, 2016. For more information, visit canada.ca/health

Annex A: Clause by Clause Guide to Bill C-14

An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts
(medical assistance in dying)

Preamble – describes legislative objectives of the Bill

Clause 1 of the Bill

Section 14 of the Criminal Code is re-enacted

Section 14 was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Carter

Section 14 specifies that no person may consent to death and any person who inflicts death on another is criminally responsible regardless of whether they consented to die.

In new subsection 227(4) of the Criminal Code (clause 2 of the Bill), it is made clear that the rule in section 14 does not apply where medical assistance in dying is provided in accordance with the proposed regime.

Clause 2 of the Bill

New section 227 of the Criminal Code is enacted

Exemptions for medical practitioners and nurse practitioners and others who assist them, from culpable homicide, where they provide or assist in the provision of medical assistance in dying in the form of administration of medication to a person, at their request, that causes their death.

Includes a cross-reference to definitions found in new section 241.1 (clause 3).

Clause 3 of the Bill

Paragraph 241(1)(b) of the Criminal Code is re-enacted

Paragraph 241(b) was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Carter

Paragraph 241(1)(b) makes it an offence for any person to “aid a person” to die by suicide.

New subsections 241(2) – (7) are enacted

Exemptions for medical practitioners and nurse practitioners and others who assist, from aiding a person to die by suicide, where such assistance is in the form of providing or prescribing medication to a person, at their request, that the person could self-administer to cause their own death.

Includes exemptions for pharmacists who fill prescriptions in relation to medical assistance in dying, and for any person who aids the person to self-administer the medication.

Cross-reference to definitions found in new section 241.1 (clause 3).

New section 241.1 is enacted

Provides definitions for the terms used in the lawful medical assistance in dying regime (medical assistance in dying; medical practitioner; nurse practitioner; pharmacist).

New section 241.2 is enacted

Requirements for lawful provision of medical assistance in dying:

  • eligibility criteria including definition of “grievous and irremediable medical condition”
  • mandatory procedural safeguards
  • meaning of “independence” in relation to witnesses and physicians and nurse practitioners
  • requirement for reasonable care and skill, compliance with applicable PT rules and duty to inform pharmacist that medication is prescribed or obtained for medical assistance in dying.

New section 241.3 is enacted

New hybrid offences for failing to comply with safeguards in providing medical assistance in dying.

New section 241.4 is enacted

New hybrid offences for forging medical assistance in dying documents or destroying such documents with criminal intent.

Definition of “document”

Clause 4 of the Bill

New section 241.31 is enacted

Would be brought into force at a later date when regulations are ready

Authorizes the Minister of Health to make regulations to create a monitoring regime.

Creates legal obligations on medical practitioners, nurse practitioners and pharmacists to provide information on medical assistance in dying requests, in accordance with the regulations.

Creates offences for failing to provide reports or for knowingly breaching regulations.

Clause 5 of the Bill

New offence (241.4(2)) of destroying documents is amended

Would be brought into force at a later date when regulations are ready

Adds an additional criminal intent (“to interfere with the provision of information” under the monitoring regime) to the offence of destroying documents, to address conduct that could only arise after the regulatory requirement to provide information (monitoring) is in place.

Clause 6 of the Bill

Section 245 of the Criminal Code is amended

Exemptions are added to the current offence of administering a noxious substance for lawful medical assistance in dying.

Clause 7 of the Bill

Section 3 of the Pension Act is amended

Provides that where a person dies by medical assistance in dying, this would not be considered improper conduct that would disqualify family members of Canadian Forces members or veterans from receiving pension benefits.

Clause 8 of the Bill

Section 19 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act is amended

Provides that where an inmate dies by medical assistance in dying, this would not trigger an investigation into their death.

Clause 9 of the Bill

Section 2 of the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act is amended

Provides that where a person dies by medical assistance in dying, this would not be considered improper conduct that would disqualify family members of Canadian Forces members or veterans from receiving pension benefits.

Clause 10 of the Bill

Parliamentary review

Parliamentary review of the provisions of the Act would be launched 5 years after its coming into force.

Clause 11 of the Bill

Coming into force of Clauses 4 and 5 by Order in Council

The monitoring regime and related provisions would come into force on a date fixed by Order in Council (other clauses come into force on Royal Assent).

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