Report recommends role for nurses in PAD

Publish date: Friday, February 26, 2016

Health care

A special parliamentary committee brought together to advise the federal government on the best way to implement physician-assisted death (PAD) in Canada has recommended that registered nurses and nurse practitioners, acting under the direction of a physician, should have a role in assisted death.

While these recommendations are non-binding, based on the role of nurses in jurisdictions where PAD is legal, it is likely that Canada’s legislation will include a role for nurses.

The Supreme Court of Canada has given the federal government until June 6, 2016 to introduce physician- assisted death legislation however, before the legislation can become law there are a number of steps that must be completed such as the initial drafting of the legislation. This must be done in collaboration with the provinces, since the delivery of health care falls under provincial jurisdiction.

Once the bill is introduced, it must go through the normal legislative process. It must be debated in the House of Commons and pass a second reading vote giving it approval.

The bill must then be referred to a Commons committee, which will hear from witnesses and examine the bill clause by clause. The committee can propose amendments.

Following this, the bill must then be debated at third reading in the Commons and pass a final vote.

Once approved, the bill must go through the same legislative process in the Senate. Should the Senate approve any amendments, the bill would have to go back to the Commons.

Read the full Report of the Special Joint Committee on Physician Assisted Dying

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