Where is MAID working? Hard to say
April 13, 201713 April 2017
As of mid-December 2016, reports say about 745 terminally ill people had taken advantage of medical assistance in dying, which became the law when Bill C-14 received royal assent six months earlier.
That this figure is based on information volunteered by – and not required of – the provinces, and not on hard, readily available data is an issue behind the CBA End of Life Working Group’s letter to Health Minister Jane Philpott in March asking that the government get moving on the “monitoring system to collect and analyze data on the provision of medical assistance in dying” which it has itself identified as a “critical component” of the new regime and as “essential to foster transparency and public trust in the system.”
The better part of a year after the bill’s passage, there are still no clear figures, not only of the number of people who received medical assistance, but also of the number who did not, or the reasons why that assistance was denied.
Bill C-14 requires the Health Minister to set up a monitoring system and gives her a year to do so, the Working Group acknowledges, but adds that it is “concerned about the lack of coordinated collection of information.”
“The longer it takes to establish a monitoring system, the higher the risk of irreparable gaps in the data necessary for balanced, evidence-based decision making,” the Working Group writes. It urges the Minister to “prioritize an accelerated plan to establish a comprehensive information collection system for MAID to ensure that reliable data is available to support the next steps for MAID.”