A new summary released by the provincial government Thursday is shining light on what Albertans think of doctor-assisted dying.
The study, called What we heard: Medical Assistance in Dying, asked Albertans to respond to a series of questions about the difficult subject. There were more than 15,000 responses to the online survey.
Provincial medical regulators set detailed guidelines for doctor-assisted dying
One doctor’s perspective on physician-assisted dying
Woman’s death rekindles arguments surrounding doctor-assisted dying
READ MORE: Assisted-dying in Canada: What you need to know about the new law
“Thousands of Albertans responded to this difficult topic with the compassion and the pragmatism this province is known for,” said Associate Minister of Health Brandy Payne. “I want to thank each person who took the time to share heartfelt and deeply held beliefs about medical assistance in dying.”
The Government of Alberta set up an MLA consultation panel to gather input from Albertans on how to protect society’s most vulnerable.
WATCH BELOW: Debate over doctor-assisted dying continues
Payne was on the consultation board, along with NDP MLA Dr. Bob Turner and Liberal leader Dr. David Swann. The input that they received came from the online survey, written submissions and through meetings with stakeholders.
There were six areas that people were asked about. These included eligibility, protection of the vulnerable, administration of medical assistance in dying, conscientious objection, monitoring and reporting and Palliative care.
READ MORE: Will ‘exemption opportunity’ for assisted dying really end on June 6?
“Albertans clearly want the government to have the right safeguards in place,” said Dr. Bob Turner, MLA for Edmonton-Whitemud. “As a physician, it was very encouraging to me to see such a strong emphasis on protecting the vulnerable as well as the rights of health care professionals.”
In February 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada decided that it will no longer be a criminal offence in Canada for physicians to help someone end their life in certain circumstances.
WATCH BELOW: Doctors worry assisted death will become legal in Canada without a law
The court has given provinces and territories until June 6, 2016, before its decision takes effect. This was to allow time for Parliament, the provinces, territories and the health care community to develop legislation, policies and procedures to protect patients and health care professionals in delivery of medical assistance in dying.