Yukon Medical Council
Policies relevant to freedom of conscience
Links and annotations
CMA Code of Ethics (2004)
Moral or Religious Beliefs Affecting Medical Care
The policy recognizes an important distinction between providing information and providing or
facilitating a morally contested service or
procedure. The former is required; the latter is not.
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. Objecting physicians are normally willing to provide this information.
Only if a physician is unwilling to provide this information is an offer of "timely access" to another physician or resource required. In that case, the physician is required to provide timely access to someone who can provide the necessary information, which may or may not be someone able and willing to provide the procedure itself.
Medical Assistance in Dying
Standard of Practice
The policy requires all objecting physicians responding to an initial patient enquiry about euthanasia or assisted suicide to "provide timely access to a "non-objecting physician or resource" (i.e., "physician, nurse practitioner and/or agency") for "accurate information about all available medical options."
The policy describes this as a "referral" and requires that it be documented in the patient medical record, including the date and name of the person/agency to whom/which the patient is directed.
This differs from Moral or Relgious Beliefs Affecting Medical Care because it appears to assume that only physicians who provide or support euthanasia and assisted suicide can respond to patient requests with "accurate information about all available medical options."
The assumption is unjustified and demonstrates bias against those opposed to the procedures and favouritism towards those supporting or providing them.
Objecting physicians could comply with the policy by providing accurate information about all available medical options, documenting their discussion with the patient in the medical record, and providing information about an alternative source of accurate information, which need not be a euthanasia/assisted suicide provider or agency.