Report Update

Council of Canadian Academies Appoints Expert Panel to Complete Reviews on Medical Assistance in Dying

The Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) is pleased to announce the appointment of the Expert Panel on Medical Assistance in Dying, chaired by the Honourable Marie Deschamps, C.C., Ad. E., former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and Adjunct Professor at McGill University and Université de Sherbrooke.

In December 2016, the CCA was asked by Minister of Health Jane Philpott and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould to undertake independent reviews related to medical assistance in dying. Specifically, the CCA is tasked with examining three particularly complex types of requests for medical assistance in dying that were identified for further review and study in the legislation passed by Parliament in 2016. These cases are: requests by mature minors, advance requests, and requests where mental illness is the sole underlying medical condition.

The CCA Expert Panel on Medical Assistance in Dying is comprised of 43 individuals, from Canada and abroad, who have expertise, knowledge, and leadership experience in a range of disciplines including law, medicine, ethics, social sciences, and health sciences, among others. The Expert Panel will be chaired by Madame Deschamps, but in order to effectively address the three topics, the Expert Panel will be organized into three Working Groups, each with a Chair.

The Expert Panel is tasked with compiling and assessing available evidence to inform the ongoing policy discussions on the issues related to medical assistance in dying by responding to the following question:

What is the available evidence on, and how does it inform our understanding of, medical assistance in dying (MAID) in the case of mature minors, advance requests, and where mental illness is the sole underlying medical condition, given the clinical, legal, cultural, ethical, and historical context in Canada?

Additional sub-questions can be found on the CCA’s website.

The first in-person meeting of the Expert Panel will take place May 1 to 3, 2017. Panellists will meet both as a full panel and in their respective working groups. Five additional in-person meetings will be scheduled in 2017 and 2018. As part of the review process, the Expert Panel will review the available evidence on the three topics and seek input on evidence from organizations, health care providers, regulatory experts, stakeholders, and other groups.

It is expected that three separate reports will be finalized and released publicly in English and French in late 2018.

For continued updates on this project, visit the CCA website at


“I am honoured to be chairing this Expert Panel, on what is a crucially important topic for all Canadians. I look forward to working with my esteemed colleagues on this panel to produce a report that will provide an evidence-based starting point for decision-makers, researchers, stakeholders, and the public to engage on this topic.”

Marie Deschamps, Chair of the CCA Expert Panel on Medical Assistance in Dying

“For an issue as complex and sensitive as MAID, it was important to convene a panel with diverse expertise, knowledge and experience that can assess the range of available evidence on the topics under study. It was equally important for the Panel to be led by persons of integrity and skill. The Expert Panel and Chairs that have been appointed meet these criteria admirably. I look forward to their deliberations and the reports to come.”

Eric M. Meslin, PhD, FCAHS – President and CEO, Council of Canadian Academies


The CCA is a not-for-profit organization that undertakes independent, evidence-based expert panel assessments and workshops to inform public policy development in Canada. CCA projects are conducted by multidisciplinary, multi-sectoral panels of experts from across Canada and abroad. CCA reports provide evidence to inform decision-making processes rather than explicit recommendations. Established in 2005 with an initial grant from the Government of Canada, the CCA has become well known for its rigorous process and its comprehensive analyses of complex issues. The CCA was founded by three independent organizations that represent some of the finest minds in Canada – the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Their Fellows and senior decision-makers sit on CCA’s Board of Governors and Scientific Advisory Committee, and they are a key source of membership for expert panels. The CCA’s Member Academies also provide key guidance and input throughout the assessment process, including expert panel nominations and dissemination processes.


For questions about these reviews: 

For more information, please contact:  

Samantha Rae Ayoub
Communications and Publishing Director, Council of Canadian Academies
613.567.5000 x 256