External Panel on the options for dealing with physician-assisted suicide

Posted on: September 1st, 2015

On July 17, 2015, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Peter MacKay, and Minister of Health, Rona Ambrose, announced the establishment of an External Panel of experts who will consult with stakeholders and with all Canadians on options for dealing with the Supreme Court of Canada’s lifting of the prohibition against physician-assisted suicide.


The External Panel has created a website by which it plans to coordinate its consultation efforts with Canadians. The website can be viewed at the following web address:


The website explains that two levels of consultation will occur: (1) Bilateral or multilateral discussions with interveners in the Carter v. Canada case and relevant medical authorities; (2) Online consultations open to all Canadians and other stakeholders. The online consultation will have an interactive questionnaire to be launched in the coming weeks. You can sign up on the website to be electronically notified once the questionnaire is available at the following link:


As you may be aware, the President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote to the Minister of Justice on May 20, 2015, requesting that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops be among those to be consulted by the Government of Canada on this question. The Conference has yet to receive a response to this request.

The Panel aims to complete the consultation process by the fall of 2015, after the election. It will then provide a final report to the Ministers of Justice and Health, giving its key findings and options for a legislative response for consideration by the Ministers.

Once the online consultation is open, parishioners are encouraged to share their concerns with the Canadian government.


Furthermore, you may wish to revisit the Catholic Organization for Life and the Family’s “Life-Giving Love” Campaign, launched in September 2014 with the support of the CCCB. The campaign’s website provides many resources and formative tools on end of life care which can be of assistance to give much needed formation to our faithful and to help them in responding to the online consultation. See

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