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Safeguards

A number of safeguards are in place to ensure the protection of vulnerable people with respect to MAiD

​Federal safeguards

  • A physician or NP must inform the person that they have a medical condition that fits the "grievous and irremediable" criteria before the person signs and dates their request.
  • The request for MAiD must be made in writing. Requests must be signed and dated by the person making the request in front of two "independent witnesses" (see below), who must also sign and date the request.
  • Two independent1 physicians or NPs must assess the person to confirm eligibility.
  • The person must be told they can withdraw their MAiD request at any time and in any manner, including immediately before the medically assisted death.
  • A person must be given at least 10 days from the date they signed their request to reflect on their decision, unless both practitioners agree that a shorter period is appropriate in the circumstances.
  • MAiD can only be provided to someone who can give consent. A substitute decision maker cannot give consent for MAiD. Consent via an advance directive ("living will") is also not valid. If a person is capable of providing informed consent but physically can't sign a request, another person, called a 'proxy', may sign the request under the person's express direction and in their presence.

 B.C.-specific safeguards

There are a few additional safeguards specific to BC:

  • The pharmacist must dispense the drugs directly to the prescribing physician or NP and the prescribing physician or NP must return any unused drugs to the pharmacy.
  • The physician or NP must be present with the person during the self-administration or administration of MAiD and remain with the person until death is confirmed. This may not be delegated to another person or professional.
  • A regulated health professional must witness an eligibility assessment conducted via telehealth; only one of the eligibility assessments can be conducted by telehealth
  • If one or both physicians or NPs are concerned about a person's capability to provide informed consent, they will request a capability assessment from a third physician or specialist.

Footnote

1 The physician or NP providing MAiD and/or providing the opinion that the person meets the MAiD criteria are independent if they:

(a)

are not a mentor to the other practitioner or responsible for supervising their work;

(b)

do not know or believe that they are a beneficiary under the will of the person making the request, or a recipient, in any other way, of a financial or other material benefit resulting from that person's death, other than standard compensation for their services relating to the request; or

(c)

do not know or believe that they are connected to the other practitioner or to the person making the request in any other way that would affect their objectivity.

 Need help or advice?

​For further information on the Standards of Practice or professional practice matters, contact us:

  • Email practice@bccnp.ca
  • 604.742.6200 x8803 (Metro Vancouver)
  • Toll-free 1.866.880.7101 x8803 (within Canada only)