Protection of Conscience Project
Protection of Conscience Project
www.consciencelaws.org
Service, not Servitude

Service, not Servitude

Canada

Yukon Medical Council

Freedom of conscience and religion

Annotated Extracts and Links

Moral or Religious Beliefs Affecting Medical Care
[Full Text]

(1) A physician must communicate clearly and promptly about any treatments or procedures the physician chooses not to provide because of his or her moral or religious beliefs.

(2) A physician must not withhold information about the existence of a procedure or treatment because providing that procedure or giving advice about it conflicts with their moral or religious beliefs.

(3) A physician must not promote their own moral or religious beliefs when interacting with patients.

(4) When moral or religious beliefs prevent a physician from providing or offering access to information about a legally available medical or surgical treatment or service,Project Annotation [i] that physician must ensure that the patient who seeks such advice or medical care is offered timely access to another physician or resource that will provide accurate information about all available medical options.Project Annotation [ii]

  • Terms used in the Standards of Practice:
    •  "Physician" means any person who is registered or who is required to be registered under the Medical Profession Act.
    •  "Must" refers to a mandatory requirement.
    •  "May" means that the physician may exercise reasonable discretion.
    •  "Patient" includes, where applicable, the patient’s legal guardian or substitute decision maker.
Project Annotations

i.    The policy recognizes an important distinction between providing information and providing or facilitating a morally contested service or procedure.

ii.    Physicians are expected to provide information necessary to satisfy the requirements of informed medical decision making, such as prognosis, the treatments or procedures available, benefits and burdens of treatment, risks, etc.  Only if a physician is unwilling to provide this information is an offer of "timely access" to another physician or resource required.  Offering timely access may be achieved in various ways.


Medical Assistance in Dying: Advice to the Profession (16 November, 2018)
[Full Text]

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STEP 1 - Patient makes initial inquiry for medical assistance in dying to a physician or a nurse practitioner.

Physicians who have a conscientious objection to medical assistance in dying are not obliged to proceed further through the process map and evaluate a patient’s inquiry for medical assistance in dying. As described above,Project Annotation [i] objecting physicians must provide the patient with timely access to another non-objecting physician or resource with accurate information about all available medical options.Project Annotation [ii] The objecting physician must document, in the medical record, the date on which the referral was made, and the physician, nurse practitioner and/or agency to which the referral was directed.

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Project Annotations

i.    In fact, there is nothing in the preceding sections of the policy about this.

ii.    The  provision presumes  that  an objecting practitioner cannot provide accurate information about all available medical options in response to a  patient inquiry.  That is not necessarily true.  However, the policy does not require an objecting physician to connect the patient with a colleague who  provides euthanasia and assisted suicide, but only with an information resource. In the Project's experience, this would not be problematic for objecting physicians.