Back to All News & Events

Consultation 028: Conscientious Objection, Informed Consent and MAID

Back to Messenger
Consultation, December Messenger 2023, Standards of Practice | Posted December 14, 2023
Read time: 2 minutes

CPSA is accepting feedback on proposed amendments to the Conscientious Objection, Informed Consent and Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) standards of practice until Jan. 15, 2024

About Consultation 028:

To align with pending changes under Bill C-39, which will allow mental disorders to be a sole underlying medical condition eligible for MAID, CPSA has partnered with the College of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CRNA) to develop the joint “Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) Alberta Guidelines.” This document, based on the “Model Practice for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)” standard developed by the MAID Practice Standards Task group on behalf of Health Canada, will ensure consistent practice between physicians and registered nurses in Alberta.

Since CPSA and CRNA are working collaboratively on the updated MAID Guidelines, you may also receive a request for feedback from CRNA regarding this guideline.

Since the guideline is referenced in CPSA’s MAID standard of practice, you can share your thoughts on the guideline in the same survey used to provide comments on the proposed amendments to the standard.

Feel free to provide your thoughts on the guideline to CPSA, CRNA, or both organizations as feedback will be shared to ensure all input is considered.

The MAID standard was last updated earlier this year; however, mental disorders as the sole underlying medical condition and the MAID Guideline need to be included to ensure alignment with federal legislation, should it be approved in the spring of 2024. The Conscientious Objection and Informed Consent standards of practice are also under review to ensure alignment with the MAID standard, as they have not been reviewed since 2016.

What changes are being proposed?

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)

  • Includes references and updated glossary based on the “Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) in Alberta Guidelines” developed by CPSA and CRNA to ensure alignment across disciplines;
  • Requirement to follow “Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) in Alberta Guidelines” added
  • Removal of “mental illness as sole underlying medical condition” from list of conditions that are not eligible for MAID
  • Addition of “Capacity” to Glossary for better alignment with Informed Consent

Conscientious Objection

  • Addition of a preamble and glossary to provide context for the standard and more detailed definitions;
  • Inclusion of clarifying language to better communicate the balance between a regulated members’ right to limit health service based on reasons of conscience, cultural belief or religion and patients’ rights to timely access to high-quality care and safety;
  • Section added to clearly breakdown permitted and prohibited actions with a focus on reducing risk of harm and maintenance of respect for patient;
  • Expansion of the related standards of practice and addition of companion resources to better support regulated members.

Informed Consent

  • Proposed name change to “Informed Consent & Determining Capacity to Consent” to acknowledge content relating to defining the patient’s capacity to consent;
  • Addition of a preamble and glossary to provide context for the standard and more detailed definitions;
  • Added and amended language to emphasize the importance of the consent documentation process, patient autonomy, the physician-patient relationship, patient safety and shared decision-making;
  • Directions included to better guide regulated members through different circumstances where proceeding without consent or delegating responsibility is permitted.

Visit CPSA’s website to fully review the current standards and proposed amendments. Use the button below to review the proposed changes in full and provide your comments by January 15, 2024.

Questions? Email

Comments for this post are now closed. If you would like to share your feedback on this topic, please email