What's New

May 10, 2017

On Thursday April 28, the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) announced the composition of its 43-member Expert Panel on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) including its three Working Groups: Mature Minors, Advance Requests, and Mental Illness as the Sole Underlying Medical Condition. In the days that followed, the CCA received some criticism about the appointment of Dr. Harvey Schipper as Chair of the Advance Requests Working Group. Critics of the appointment expressed concern that, as Chair, Dr. Schipper’s public views on MAID, prior to the Carter decision, might compromise the objectivity of the process or the final report.

On Friday May 5, Dr. Schipper informed the CCA of his decision to step down as Chair of the Working Group but remain as an active member. The CCA respects Dr. Schipper’s decision and fully supports him remaining a member of the Working Group, as do the members of the Working Group.

The CCA will be identifying the new Chair of this Working Group as soon as possible. In the interim, the Expert Panel Chair, the Honourable Marie Deschamps, C.C., Ad. E., will also serve as Chair of the Advance Requests Working Group to ensure the continuity of the work already underway.


“All of our Expert Panels are committed to looking objectively at the evidence to complete their work. We apply the same commitment to objectivity to our selection process for panel members and chairs. I believe that Dr. Schipper would have brought impartiality to the Working Group Chair’s role, but respect his decision to step down in an effort to avoid unnecessary distraction from the Expert Panel’s work. I am fully confident that Dr. Schipper will continue to bring objectivity and rigour to his role as a member of the Working Group.” 

-        Dr. Eric M. Meslin, FCAHS, President and CEO, Council of Canadian Academies

“While I do believe I would have served in the role of Chair impartially, the work of this Expert Panel is far too important to be burdened with unnecessary distractions. I look forward to continuing as an active member of the Panel and the Working Group.”

-        Dr. Harvey Schipper, Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, and Member of the Expert Panel on Medical Assistance in Dying

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