Health Sciences Building, 155 College Street, Room 106
  • February 3, 2016 from 4:10pm to 5:30pm

University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics 2015-16 Seminar Series

Speaker: Trudo Lemmens, LicJur, LLM (Bioethics), DCL, Professor and Scholl Chair in Health Law and Policy Faculty of Law, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and Joint Centre for Bioethics

Title: Why Physician-Assisted Dying Can and Should Remain Restricted in Canada after Carter: Lessons from the Belgian Experience

Abstract: Following the Carter decision, Federal and Provincial legislators have no choice but to provide access to Physician-Assisted Dying (PAD), but they only have to do so in the context of restricted and rigorously monitored cases and with strict safeguards. Yet, if they follow the Provincial-Territorial Advisory Group recommendations, Canada risks ending up with the most lenient and open-ended PAD regime. This presentation will discuss some key evidence and case reports from the current most liberal regime, Belgium. I will show how and why a PAD regime with very open-ended criteria that relies on assessments by individual physicians, and only post-hoc independent review of reported cases, is problematic and puts vulnerable people at risk of premature death.