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Archived - Government of Canada Establishes External Panel on options for a legislative response to Carter v. Canada

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Panel to consult with stakeholders and all Canadians

July 17, 2015 – Ottawa, ON – Department of Justice.

Today, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Peter MacKay and Minister of Health Rona Ambrose announced the establishment of an external panel that will consult with Canadians on options to respond to the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Carter v. Canada.

The panel will conduct consultations with medical authorities and with interveners in the Carter case to assist the federal government in formulating a legislative response to the Supreme Court's decision. The panel will also consult Canadians, including interested stakeholders, through a public online consultation. The panel will then provide a final report to the Ministers of Justice and Health that outlines its findings and options for a legislative response for consideration by the federal government.

The panel includes three members:

  • Chairman, Harvey Max Chochinov, MD, PhD, FRCPC, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care at the University of Manitoba, and Director of the Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit, CancerCare Manitoba;
  • Catherine Frazee, D.Litt., LL.D., Professor Emerita at Ryerson University, where, prior to her retirement in 2010, she served as Professor of Distinction and Co-Director of the Ryerson-RBC Institute for Disability Studies Research and Education; and
  • Benoît Pelletier, LL.B., LL.M., LL.D., LL.D., Professor of Law, University of Ottawa, constitutional expert and former member of the National Assembly of Quebec from 1998 to 2008, and Quebec Cabinet minister from 2003 to 2008.

Quick Facts

  • On February 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Carter v. Canada held that sections 241(b) and 14 of the Criminal Code violate the constitutional rights of certain grievously and irremediably ill adult individuals. These sections of the Criminal Code currently make it illegal for anyone, including a doctor, to assist in or cause the death of another person.
  • The Court ordered that the Criminal Code provisions remain in force for 12 months to give Parliament time to respond.
  • The panel's mandate is to consult with Canadians and key stakeholders - with a focus on the interveners in the Supreme Court case, who represent a spectrum of diverse perspectives - on considerations relevant to a federal legislative response to the Carter decision. The Panel will provide a final report to the Ministers of Justice and Health that outlines its findings and options for a legislative response for consideration by the Government.
  • The panel will provide its report to the Government by late Fall 2015.

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Contacts

  • Clarissa Lamb
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Justice 
    613-992-4621

  • Media Relations
    Department of Justice
    613-957-4207
  • Michael Bolkenius
    Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
    Federal Minister of Health 
    613-957-0200

  • Media Relations
    Health Canada
    613-957-2983

External Panel on options for a legislative response to Carter v. Canada: media@ep-ce.ca

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