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Medical Assistance in Dying: clarification on the “10 clear days” requirement

Posted Dec. 6, 2016

It has come to our attention that some registrants are seeking clarification on the “10 clear days” requirement specified in section 241.2(3)(g) of the Criminal Code of Canada and the Medical Assistance in Dying Scope of Practice Standards for Nurse Practitioners.

Clear days: definition

The term “clear days” is defined in section 27 of the Interpretation Act, which applies to all federal legislation. Essentially, a “clear day” excludes the days on which the events on either end happen.

Given that there needs to be 10 clear days between the day on which the request was signed and the day on which Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) is provided, the day of the request and the day of MAiD do not count towards the 10 days. See relevant extract from the Interpretation Act below.

Computation of Time: Clear days

27 (1) Where there is a reference to a number of clear days or “at least” a number of days between two events, in calculating that number of days the days on which the events happen are excluded.

This means that if the day of the signed request is considered to be Day 1, the earliest that MAiD would be provided is on Day 12.

Additional considerations

Section 241.2(3)(g) of the Criminal Code of Canada and the Medical Assistance in Dying Scope of Practice Standards for Nurse Practitioners also specify that if the assessor and prescriber are both of the opinion that death or loss of capacity to provide informed consent is imminent, the “10 clear days” timeframe can be shortened to a period that the prescriber considers appropriate in the circumstances. That decision must be clearly documented in the patient’s health record and on the prescriber’s assessment record for MAiD.

Questions?

Please contact practice@crnbc.ca, or for legal advice contact the Canadian Nurses Protective Society info@cnps.ca.

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