As of June 6, 2016, medical practitioners and nurse practitioners in the NWT are allowed to provide medical assistance in dying.
Our priority is to protect both patients and health care providers involved in medical assistance in dying. Medical Assistance in Dying Interim Guidelines have been developed to ensure this service is provided in a safe, fair and consistent manner in the Northwest Territories.
To access this service, a person must meet all of the following criteria:
- Be eligible for NWT health services;
- Be at least 18 years of age and capable of making decisions with respect to their health;
- Have a serious and incurable illness, disease, or disability;
- Be in an advanced state of decline that cannot be reversed;
- Be experiencing constant and unbearable suffering that cannot be relieved in any way that they consider acceptable;
- Make a voluntary request for medical assistance in dying, without pressure or influence from anyone else; and
- Give informed consent to receive medical assistance in dying after being informed of other options to help their suffering.
Safeguards have been created to protect patients and health care providers. Some of these safeguards include:
- Assessments by two independent practitioners to ensure the patient meets the eligibility criteria;
- Informing the patient of the alternatives to medical assistance in dying;
- Ensuring the patient expressly consents to medical assistance in dying; and
- Where the patient’s natural death is not near, requiring a mandatory reflection period before medical assistance in dying is provided.
The NWT’s Interim Guidelines are available here:
How do I access medical assistance in dying?
- Talk to your practitioner about your options for treatment and care. If there is no practitioner in your community, you can discuss your options with a practitioner by distance, such as through Telehealth.
- While some practitioners may choose not to be involved with medical assistance in dying, they are required to provide you with contact information for the Central Coordinating Service so that you can be connected with a willing practitioner.
- If you need access to a practitioner who is willing and able to provide you with more information, or who is willing to participate in the medical assistance in dying process, call the Central Coordinating Service:
NWT Central Coordinating Services
Toll Free at 1-855-846-9601
Or direct at 1-867-767-9050 Ext. 49008
Monday - Friday: 8:30am - 5:00pm
More information on medical assistance in dying can be found here: