Law & Governance
[This article was originally published in Healthcare Quarterly, 17(2)]
Canadians have craved certainty as to the process to be followed when intervention is demanded that physicians are not prepared to offer or to continue to offer, even if it prolongs life, because it is considered to be otherwise non-beneficial. The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC), in its October 2013 judgment in Cuthbertson v. Rasouli, provided a narrow answer based on only Ontario's statutory regime and a specific set of facts. Or did it? The SCC's rationale, as well as decisions emanating from Ontario's unique Consent and Capacity Board, can arguably be relied on anywhere in Canada to defeat efforts to mandate the provision of interventions considered to be of no medical benefit and that cause harm.
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