A report commissioned by the Royal Society of Canada, and published today in the journal Bioethics, claims that assisted suicide should be legally permitted for competent individuals who make a free and informed decision, while on both a personal and a national level insufficient plans and policies are made for the end of life.
End-of-life decision-making is an issue wrapped in controversy and contradictions for Canadians. The report found that most people want to die at home, but few do; most believe planning for dying is important and should be started while people are healthy, but almost no one does it. And while most Canadians support the decriminalisation of voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide, both remain illegal under the Criminal Code of Canada.
The Royal Society of Canada (RSC), a national organisation of distinguished scholars, artists and scientists, believes the time has come for a national debate on end-of-life decision making as assisted dying is a critically important public policy issue, where opinion, practice and the law seem out of alignment.
"The society commissioned us, a panel of six Canadian and international experts on bioethics, clinical medicine, health law and policy, and philosophy, to prepare this report both to trigger a national conversation on end of life issues and contribute material for those discussions," said Professor Udo Schuklenk, Co-Editor of Bioethics, Professor of Philosophy and Ontario Research Chair in Bioethics at Queen's University, Canada.
"It is clear that Canadians are not preparing adequately for the death we and all those we love will inevitably face," said Schuklenk. "Although most people think it is wise to make wishes for care at the end known (in case they are not competent to do so when the time comes) less than a third have some sort of formal advance directive, fewer than half have designated a substitute decision maker or even discussed their wish
|Contact: Ben Norman|