Medical Assistance in Dying

The Council of Canadian Academies’ (CCA) Board of Governors has approved a request by Minister of Health Jane Philpott and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould, to undertake independent reviews related to medical assistance in dying. 

Progress Report

On January 17-18, 2017, the CCA held a planning meeting to discuss the scope of the project, the study questions, the types of expertise needed to complete the project, and study design issues.

The planning meeting was attended by CCA project staff; individuals from both Justice Canada and Health Canada; a selection of Canadian experts in the fields of medicine, nursing, law, and bioethics; and fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. The full list of attendees can be found here.

The input and suggestions given during the meeting will assist the CCA in the next stage of the project. The recruitment of the expert panel members to conduct the reviews will commence in the coming weeks and it is expected that the first in-person panel meeting will be held in the spring.


The CCA will examine three types of requests for medical assistance in dying that were identified as particularly complex and worthy of further study during the introduction of the Government of Canada’s legislation in early 2016: requests by mature minors, advance requests, and requests where mental illness is the sole underlying medical condition. In undertaking these reviews, the CCA will compile and assess information and evidence to inform the ongoing policy discussion on the issues related to assistance in dying in these three circumstances.

The review process will begin with planning meetings to discuss the scope of the work resulting in a detailed study plan. This will be followed by the recruitment of panel members to conduct the reviews. As part of its independent expert panel process, the CCA will consider evidence from peer reviewed literature, international and national organizations, health care providers, stakeholders, and other groups.

The CCA’s Member Academies ― the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences ― will partner to provide key guidance and input throughout the assessment process, including study design, expert panel nominations, and dissemination processes. As with all CCA assessments, the final reports will undergo rigorous peer review and will be released to the public in both official languages. CCA reports provide evidence to inform decision-making processes rather than explicit recommendations.

It is expected the reports will be finalized and released in late 2018.

For questions about these reviews:

All media requests may be directed to:

Samantha Rae Ayoub, Communications and Publishing Director at 613-567-5000 ext. 256 or

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