The Law Reform Commission reviews Saskatchewan vaccination programs and makes three recommendations: create a compensation fund for vaccine-related injuries, expand vaccination education programs to increase informed consent, and add a statutory requirement to report adverse vaccine effects. The Commission considers but recommends against mandating vaccinations for public school children.
Legislation allowing for enduring powers of attorney exists in all four Western provinces. The Western Canadian Law Reform Agencies’ report reviews Western legislation, notes differences between provinces, and reviews duties of attorneys and steps to prevent misuse. The Agencies recommend increased harmonization of Western Canadian law to support cross-boundary rules and recognition.
Childhood vaccination programs have been described as “a cornerstone of
improving the health of people worldwide, ” Most people in Saskatchewan
take the benefits of vaccination for granted, and the province has a
successful, publicly funded and delivered childhood vaccination
program. However, the Commission has identified emerging issues that
could threaten public confidence in vaccination programs. Some of these
concerns raise legal s well as medical issues:
1. Compensation for vaccine-related injury
2. Mandatory vaccination
3. Informed consent and refusal
4. Reporting adverse effects
The Commission’s consultation paper is intended to provide background
for public discussion and debate of the issues it identifies.
Advance directives, or living wills, may be used to promote death with dignity by allowing the termination of treatment when death is imminent. The proposed Advance Health Care Directives Act would recognize advance directives that meet minimal formal requirements, and would afford liability protection to physicians following directives in good faith.
Using semen from a donor other than the recipient’s husband gives rise to a multitude of legal and medical issues. There is little background guidance on these issues. The Commission offers proposals on the legal treatment of artificial insemination, including confidentiality, civil liability, the selection of recipients and donors, and consent of the husband.
The Commission believes that it is possible to strike a balance between protecting civil liberties and facilitating mental health care for those unable to recognize their own need for treatment. This report includes recommendations on commitment procedures, treatment, and review, and a proposed Act Respecting the Compulsory Commitment of Mentally Disordered Persons.
The traditional role of a coroner is to participate in criminal investigation. This role has expanded to include a duty to ensure examination of all violent and unexplained deaths in the province. The Commission proposes a new Coroners Act that will both accurately reflect and better facilitate the current role of coroners.
The Lieutenant Governor’s Warrant allows indeterminate detention of mentally ill offenders and those found unfit to stand trial or not responsible by reason of insanity. The Commission undertakes a study of the provincial advisory board that reviews the cases of those detained under the warrant. It proposes The Lieutenant Governor’s Advisory Review Board Act to provide direction on the review process.
The Saskatchewan Mentally Disordered Persons Act fails to meet the needs of mentally ill persons requiring personal guardians. The Commission proposes a Personal Guardianship Act to provide a clear and efficient legal framework for legal guardianship. The Commission also recommends the creation of an Office of the Public Guardian, as well as an ombudsman to regulate the system.
The Law Reform Commission considers issues surrounding the decision to commit a mentally ill person, appropriate criteria to be used in making this decision, and the required level of review or oversight. The Saskatchewan Mental Health Act is reviewed, along with a draft Compulsory Mental Health Care Act, the Commission’s recommended replacement legislation.
Artificial insemination is an area of law with little regulation and many important social, legal and medical consequences. The Law Reform Commission recommends that legislation be adopted that protects the basic rights of all those involved. The Commission proposes a draft Human Artificial Insemination Act.
Medical technology can artificially extend some life functions, making it unclear when death occurs. The definition of “death” ought not to be left to the courts. Nor should the medical profession bear the responsibility of reaching a philosophical conclusion. The Commission proposes legislation defining “death” as the total and irreversible cessation of brain function.
Significant advances in medical technology, which now allows heart and lung function to be maintained artificially, create a need for a legal definition of “death.” This definition will have important implications for the permissibility of removing donated organs after brain death. The Commission proposes legislation defining “death” as the total and irreversible cessation of brain function.
In response to public reaction to its earlier proposal fixing the age of capacity to consent to medical treatment at 16, the Commission now recommends judicial determination of the capacity of a minor. It also recommends an extension of the present law to allow ex parte orders permitting a mature minor to consent to medical treatment without parental notification.
The Law Reform Commission reviews the steps taken in other jurisdictions to deal with issues of obtaining valid consent for medical procedures from minors. It recommends that a Consent of Minors to Health Care Act be passed, setting an age of consent at 16 years. Procedures to obtain consent for those under 16 years of age are included.