Ontario is setting up a new service for people seeking medically assisted death that will allow them to reach out for help directly, bypassing health-care providers who object to assisted suicide on conscience grounds.


The service will allow patients to contact central staff who will connect them with health-care providers prepared to handle requests for a medically assisted death.

They would then, through that phone call or email, be linked into all of what’s required. If they chose medical assistance in dying, they would be able to follow that through to completion.

Records show that 365 Ontarians chose to end their lives with medical help since it became legal in June of 2016.

In June, the Ministry of Health had set up a line for doctors to call to refer patients to physicians willing to work on assisted death cases. Doctors are required by the province’s College of Physicians and Surgeons to make a referral if they are unwilling to handle a patient’s request personally.

However, physicians with moral and religious objections to assisted dying have told the provincial government they don’t want to make that call, because they see it as helping their patients end their lives.

The new provisions to the service are expected to take effect as early as May.

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