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Conscientious objection

Part 5: Medical assistance in dying

Nothing in the Criminal Code compels nurses to aid in the provision of medical assistance in dying. A nurse may have moral or religious beliefs and values that differ from those of a client’s. Nurses who have a conscientious objection to MAiD may arrange with their employer to refrain from aiding in the provision of MAiD.

It is a requirement for nurses with a conscientious objection to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the quality and continuity of care for clients are not compromised.

To refrain from aiding in the provision of MAiD, nurses with a conscientious objection must notify their organization well before the client is to receive MAiD. If such procedures are unexpectedly proposed or requested and no arrangement is in place for alternative providers, nurses must inform those most directly involved of their conscientious objection. Nurses are required to ensure a safe transfer of care to an alternate provider that is continuous, respectful and addresses the unique needs of a client.

(See also the Duty to Provide Care practice standard)