April 27th, 2018
Government Proposal for MAiD Monitoring:
"Minimal Red Tape, yet Multiple Red Flags"
Video of interview with Michael Bach

Two important contributions to the discussion of regulations for monitoring MAiD are featured this week as part of the ongoing VPS campaign, " Why Monitoring Matters".

In the above recent video interview, VPS Advisor Michael Bach reflects upon a growing expression of concern that the federal government's proposals for monitoring are inadequate to ensure that people who are accessing MAiD are fully informed of their alternatives, and are freely expressing their consent. 

"We simply don't know who's requesting access to MAiD, and whether there are factors associated with their income, their lack of support, the nature of their disability, their living in remote or rural locations where they can't access the support they need to live. We're not collecting information about that. ... Surely we owe that to Canadians who are at this point in their lives where they're considering this decision." 

As Managing Director of the Institutes for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society (IRIS), Bach emphasizes the importance of ensuring "that we have a monitoring system that is living up to its objectives". His message is further amplified in the latest VPS Blog contribution by Michael J. Prince, public policy scholar from the University of Victoria. Professor Prince's essay, titled " The proposed regulations for monitoring medical assistance in dying: Minimal red tape, yet multiple red flags ", reminds us that: 

"In determining eligibility for medical assistance in dying, a fundamental responsibility of policy makers and health practitioners is to understand the patient's full circumstances of life and living conditions." 

Professor Prince argues that the fundamental failing of the proposed medical assistance in dying regulations, published in December 2017, is not that they are unduly burdensome, but rather that they are "inadequate to managing the significant risks likely involved". Citing the commitments in the law's preamble to guard against individual and social harms, he observes that "the issue here is certainly not excessive red tape". 

"On monitoring, the draft regulations certainly require more red flags. The threats, harms and risks associated with this new regulatory regime need flagging and being brought to the attention of federal and provincial government decision-makers and to health care and social service practitioners for further action."


  • Dutch probe 'appalling' euthanasia of dementia patient, ABC News, April 20, 2018. A news report from the Netherlands, where Dutch authorities are investigating whether doctors may have committed crimes in five euthanasia cases, including the deaths of two women with advanced Alzheimer's disease.

Highlighting recent peer-reviewed research and scholarship of interest to VPS supporters.

The Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement issued by the Government of Canada to accompany its draft regulations, includes a calculation of the "administrative burden" associated with MAiD monitoring. The statement, which offers some insight into the priorities reflected in the regulatory proposal, concludes that the proposed regulations would result in an "annualized average increase in total administration costs per business" of $5.

The Vulnerable Persons Standard was developed by a group of more than forty advisors with expertise in medicine, ethics, law, public policy and needs of vulnerable persons. The Standard is a series of evidence-based safeguards intended to help ensure that Canadians requesting assistance from physicians to end their life can do so without jeopardizing the lives of vulnerable persons who may be subject to coercion and abuse. 

To learn more about the Standard and the many Canadians and organizations endorsing the Standard, please visit us at www.vps-npv.ca.
Vulnerable Persons Secretariat

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