Ministers Wilson-Raybould and Philpott provide a new mandate to the External Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v. Canada

News Release

Mandate terms modified and extended to December 15th

November 14, 2015 – Ottawa, ON – Justice Canada and Health Canada

Today, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Honourable Dr. Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, released a letter that was sent to the External Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v. Canada. The Government of Canada expresses its sincere gratitude to the Panel for its dedication in advancing a national dialogue on physician-assisted dying.

The External Panel consists of:

  • Chairman, Harvey Max Chochinov, MD, PhD, FRCPC, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Manitoba and Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care
  • Catherine Frazee, D.Litt., LL.D., Professor Emerita at Ryerson University
  • Benoît Pelletier, LL.B., LL.M., LL.D., LL.D., Professor of Law, University of Ottawa

Thousands of individuals, experts and organizations, both within Canada and abroad, have provided their views on this complex and sensitive issue since the Panel was established in July.

The Panel has consulted with Canadians, medical authorities, experts, and organizations, accomplishing a great deal in a short time. The government recognizes the challenges of this tight timeline and is extending the Panel's mandate by one month to December 15, 2015, to allow the Panel to complete its report.

The Panel's mandate has also been modified to focus on the results of the consultations, rather than on the development of legislative options.

The new mandate letter is available on the Justice Canada and Health Canada websites.

Quick Facts

  • On February 6, 2015, in Carter v. Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada held that sections 241(b) and 14 of the Criminal Code violate the constitutional rights of certain grievously and irremediably ill adult individuals. These sections of the Criminal Code currently make it illegal for anyone, including a doctor, to assist in or cause the death of another person.
  • The Court ordered that the Criminal Code provisions remain in force for 12 months to give Parliament time to respond.
  • The Panel consulted directly with 66 experts through 51 meetings in five countries, and 95 representatives from 48 Canadian organizations. The Panel received over 300 document submissions from stakeholders and over 11,000 responses to its online consultation.


"Our government is profoundly grateful for the hard work and personal commitment of all three Panel members. Physician assisted-dying is a deeply personal and complex matter and they have conducted their work with utmost professionalism. Recognizing that this is of interest to all Canadians, we are committed to ensuring a thoughtful, well-informed legislative response."

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould,
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

"The Panel has heard from an impressive number of Canadians and experts. We look forward to receiving their final report and will use it as we continue to develop the Government's response to the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Carter v Canada."

The Honourable Dr. Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

Associated Links


  • Media Relations
    Department of Justice
  • Media Relations
    Health Canada

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