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Ontario creates doctor referral service for assisted dying, provides free drugs

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks at a media availability at the Alberta Legislature Building in Edmonton on Thursday, May 26, 2016.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks at a media availability at the Alberta Legislature Building in Edmonton on Thursday, May 26, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Codie McLachlan

TORONTO — Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says critically ill people in the province can seek a doctor’s help to end their life even before the federal government comes up with new legislation on assisted dying.

Wynne says the province worked with the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons so protocols would be in place, and will wait for the federal legislation to see if those protocols need to be updated.

She says people will still need to go through their family doctor, but will not have to go to court “to get medically assisted death service.”

READ MORE: All senators to get chance to propose amendments on Canada’s assisted-dying law

Ontario is also setting up a referral service so physicians unwilling or unable to provide medically assisted dying can connect patients with those who are willing.

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Health Minister Eric Hoskins says Ontario will also ensure that drugs for medically-assisted dying will be available at no cost.

Monday marked the Supreme Court of Canada deadline for the federal government to come up with a new law on medically assisted dying, but the legislation from the Liberal government remained before the Senate.

READ MORE: Health Minister Jane Philpott says Canada’s assisted-dying guidelines ‘insufficient’

The Supreme Court last year struck down the ban on assisted dying as a violation of the Charter right to life, liberty and security of the person.

Hoskins also urged the federal government to pass legislation on assisted dying as quickly as possible so a national framework could be established on the practice.

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