Government of New Brunswick

Medical assistance in dying occurs when a physician or nurse practitioner provides or administers medication that intentionally brings about the patient's death, at the request of the patient.

For example, a physician or a nurse practitioner directly administers a lethal dose of medication in accordance with the wishes of the patient.

In accordance with Bill C-14, this procedure will only be available in limited circumstances.

 Bill C-14 establishes the right to medical assistance in dying for competent adult patients who:

  • clearly consent to the termination of their life; and
  • have a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual.

A person may receive medical assistance in dying only if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • they are eligible — or, but for any applicable minimum period of residence or waiting period, would be eligible — for health services funded by a government in Canada;
  • they are at least 18 years of age and capable of making decisions with respect to their health;
  • they have a grievous and irremediable medical condition;
  • they have made a voluntary request for medical assistance in dying that, in particular, was not made as a result of external pressure; and
  • they give informed consent to receive medical assistance in dying after having been informed of the means that are available to relieve their suffering, including palliative care.

This legislation means that a physician or a nurse practitioner who performs it in the circumstances set out by the legislation will not be charged with or prosecuted for a criminal offence as it is no longer a criminal act.


Bill C-14 allows physicians and nurse practitioners to assess for and perform medical assistance in dying. The federal government has extended protection from prosecution to other healthcare providers who aid a physician or nurse practitioner.

The Government of New Brunswick respects the rights of health care providers to decline to participate in medical assistance in dying for moral or religious reasons.


In 2015, 11 provinces and territories convened a Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group to ensure that we would all have the best advice available regarding the implementation of medical assistance in dying in preparation for when the Supreme Court decision came into effect.

The Expert Advisory Group invited over 250 stakeholder groups to complete written submissions on a wide range of issues related to the implementation of medical assistance in dying in Canada.

The Expert Advisory Group also held consultations (in-person or by phone) with experts and national stakeholders to clarify specific implementation issues. The group publicly released its report in December 2015.

Provincial/territorial governments continue to communicate regularly with the federal government on this issue and will continue to work together to share information as we move forward.

The Department of Health has been engaging with multiple stakeholders, including regulatory colleges, regional health authorities and others as it prepares for the safe delivery of medical assistance in dying.