Health Canada standard seeks conformity, collaboration in euthanasia practice

Submission to Canadian health ministers and regulators urges protection of practitioner freedom of conscience

News release

For immediate release

Protection of Conscience Project

Canada is becoming a world leader in euthanasia and assisted suicide (Medical Assistance in Dying: MaiD).1

Practitioners are expected to conform, comply, condone and actively collaborate in the procedure, even if they cannot conscientiously do so and/or believe it is clinically inappropriate.

Health Canada’s Model Practice Standard for “MaiD” is likely to increase the pressure, forcing those unwilling to collaborate in euthanasia and assisted suicide to leave health care or emigrate.

The Protection of Conscience Project has sent a critique of the Model Practice Standard to Canadian health care regulators and ministers of health, since Health Canada’s Standard has no legal effect unless they formally adopt it.

The submission does not challenge the acceptability or practice of MaiD. It argues that the service can be provided while accommodating those unwilling to collaborate in euthanasia or assisted suicide. The Canadian Medical Association has made this point: “It is in fact in a patient’s best interests and in the public interest for physicians to act as moral agents, and not as technicians or service providers devoid of moral judgement. . . . [M]edical regulators ought to be articulating obligations that encourage moral agency, instead of imposing a duty that is essentially punitive to those for whom it is intended and renders an impoverished understanding of conscience.”

The submission is available on the Project website.

Sean Murphy, Administrator,
Protection of Conscience Project
Email: protection


  1. Owen Dyer, “Assisted deaths: Quebec passes Netherlands to lead world in number per capita” (2022) Brit Med J 379:o3023; Canadian Association of MAID Assessors and Providers, “Written Brief to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights House of Commons Canada” (5 November, 2020), Parliament of Canada (website) at 3.