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President’s Message

End-of-life care and the issues that surround it has been a priority for the Canadian Medical Association this year.

Prompted by discussions at General Council last August, your Board of Directors directed that the CMA lead an extensive national dialogue with both members and the public on physician-assisted dying, advance care directives and the availability of palliative care services.

Earlier this summer, the CMA released the results of its national dialogue with the public conducted through five town hall meetings across Canada and an online forum. I am proud of the leadership role we were able to take in helping moderate discussions about important issues that will ultimately be decided by Canadian society.

The CMA is now releasing the results of its consultation with members that involved six meetings across Canada and an extensive online consultation for which more than 1200 members registered. These member discussions featured thoughtful, respectful and informed dialogue on the whole range of end-of-life care issues.

It was clear you wanted to focus on those issues that impact the medical profession directly such as the role of physicians in medical aid in dying should the laws in Canada change to permit such practices.

Our consultations have not been taking place in a vacuum. In Quebec, legislation has now been passed legalizing medical aid in dying in certain circumstances. The Supreme Court of Canada will be hearing the Carter case later this fall which will also deal with medical aid in dying and we as an association have been granted intervenor status in that case.

As General Council prepares to further discuss these issues next month in Ottawa I would urge you to review the results of the member consultation to see the broad range of views expressed and the insights provided by your colleagues.