Communication is Key

By Barbara Collier, Anne Abbott and Hazel Self

The government's minimal regulatory proposal for monitoring Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) recognizes the importance of having practitioners report upon patient consent procedures and related assessments. Yet without spelling out specific practices to ensure reliable and authentic communication, and without requiring practitioners to report on specific measures that they have taken to support effective communication, we can have little confidence that MAiD-related decisions are being appropriately grounded in effective communication especially for patients who have disabilities that affect their communication. Regardless of one’s personal and moral views of MAiD, we propose that, in order to safeguard patients, family members, and practitioners, it is essential to identify, provide, monitor and report what communication accommodations and supports are required and used, who provides these supports, and how these communication supports are provided in order to ensure authenticity, accuracy and equity when communicating in MAiD situations.

Data Can Help Create a Powerful Picture

By Adele Furrie, VPS Advisor

I have spent my 62-year career dealing with data—designing, collecting, analyzing and disseminating it. My first 40 years were at Statistics Canada, where I was mentored by some of the world’s leading survey methodologists and statisticians. During the last 13 years of my tenure with Statistics Canada, I had the privilege of leading the design, implementation and dissemination of the findings from the first and second national disability surveys.

Who Counts?

By Rhonda Wiebe, VPS Advisor

No one counts the times
you cannot go out for a walk
because your eyes don’t see the ripples in treacherous ice
And you cannot move more than twenty steps
before your body collapses in breathless fatigue
But you have to keep walking or you won’t walk at all
there is no funding for someone to put on your socks
or tie your boots
And take you for a walk   
no counting for that

The proposed regulations for monitoring medical assistance in dying: Minimal red tape, yet multiple red flags

By Michael J. Prince, VPS Advisor

As an academic specializing in Canadian social policy, disability studies and public administration, the legislation and proposed regulations for the monitoring of medical assistance in dying are of great interest and concern to me. Over my career, I have studied and written on many aspects of regulation and regulatory governance and democratic politics, from assisted human reproduction and biotechnology, to public morality, and law and order. Few have caught my attention as this law and draft regulations on medical assistance in dying.

Reporting on and Monitoring of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD)

By Eric Wasylenko, VPS Advisor

I am writing this blog article from my perspective as a palliative care physician and applied Clinical Ethicist, and as an advisor to the Vulnerable Persons Standard. I have been very active in the design and implementation of the program for medical assistance in dying in one Canadian province, and have participated in teaching about implications of this new practice and in informal review initiatives for medical assistance in dying provincially and nationally. 

Lives Too Easily ‘Written Off’: A Family Advocate Argues for Robust MAiD Monitoring

By Donna Thomson, VPS Advisor

In 2005, our son Nicholas was admitted to the palliative care team at our local Children’s Hospital. Nick’s severe cerebral palsy was complicated by uncontrolled pain, epilepsy and respiratory complications. Everyone in our family, especially Nick, was desperate for comfort, rest and end to the nightmare of constant suffering.

MAiD Monitoring and the Carter Compromise

By Jonas Beaudry, VPS Advisor

As an academic, my research has centered around human rights and disability studies. I analyze public policies on health and disability through a philosophical lens. Medical aid in dying (MAiD) is a fecund topic because it involves debates around very controversial concepts, such as life, autonomy, vulnerability, dignity and caring. Those concepts are susceptible to very different and contradictory interpretations. Achieving clarity about what people mean when they use these concepts is important in order to move forward.

Vulnerability, Monitoring and the Moral Core of Medicine

By Sister Nuala Kenny O.C., M.D., F.R.C.P. (C)

I am a Roman Catholic Religious, a pediatrician, medical educator and physician ethicist opposed to medically assisted death (MAiD).  Since its legalization in Canada I have worked to minimize the harms of this practice especially for the most vulnerable among us, for persons who object in conscience to involvement for faith-based and other reasons and for the medical profession itself. In my experience each of these three concerns powerfully influences the others.

How to Listen: Monitoring 101

By Catherine Frazee, VPS Advisor

I’m a retired professor in Disability Studies, a disability activist and a lifelong advocate for social justice and human rights. I have spent much of my professional life trying to understand how atrocities are permitted to happen in human society, to decipher the warning signals and to unravel the threads of aggression and benign neglect that precede moral calamity. I am haunted by the darkness of our eugenic past.