Manitoba moves to get in line with Supreme Court ruling on assisted dying

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The Pallister government has introduced legislation to make provincial laws compliant with the Supreme Court ruling on assisted dying.

Bill 17 (The Fatal Inquiries Amendment and Vital Statistics Amendment Act) specifies that an inquiry by the province”s chief medical examiner is not required in cases of medically assisted dying.

As well, the death would not be recorded on a death certificate as a homicide or suicide, but would reflect the person”s underlying medical condition — such as cancer.

“We’re not in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling as it stands right now until these changes are made,” Justice Minister Heather Stefanson said Tuesday.

Bill 17 would also allow the provincial cabinet to develop regulations on the collection and sharing of information or statistics on assisted dying in Manitoba.

The Supreme Court ruled in early 2015 that Canadian law must permit some form of physician-assisted dying. A new federal law governing assisted death was passed In June.

A dozen Manitobans have ended their lives with the help of medical professionals since the law changed. Another four dozen Manitobans have applied for medical assistance in dying, among whom 14 were turned down.