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PsychEd: educational psychiatry podcast

Jun 28, 2023

Welcome to PsychEd, the psychiatry podcast for medical learners, by medical learners. This episode covers Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) and mental illness as a sequel to our previous episode on MAiD with our guest experts, Dr. Sonu Gaind and Dr. Jeffrey Kirby. This episode was originated by Dr. Urvashi Prasad for her Grand Rounds.


The learning objectives for this episode are as follows:

By the end of this episode, the listener will be able to…

  1. Gain an understanding of the current state of Medical Assistance in Dying for primarily mental illness in Canada

  2. Evaluate the arguments in support of and against implementation of Medical Assistance in Dying for primarily Mental Illness 

  3. Understand next steps and future directions of Medical Assistance in Dying for primarily mental illness in Canada

  4. Discuss the possible impact that Medical Assistance in Dying might have on the profession of psychiatry 


Guest Experts:

Dr. Sonu Gaind who is a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto (U of T) and Chief of Psychiatry at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and clinically works as a psycho-oncology consultant. As Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) policies have been evolving in Canada, Dr. Gaind has testified in front of numerous expert, parliamentary and senate committees on issues relevant to mental health and mental illness that need to be considered in the MAiD framework. Dr. Gaind chaired the time-limited Canadian Psychiatric Association Task Force on Assisted Dying, was selected to sit on the Council of Canadian Academies Expert Panel on Mental Disorders and Assisted Dying, was retained by the former Attorney General of Canada as an expert in the Truchon and Lamb cases, and chaired his former hospitals MAiD team.  He has spoken across the country and internationally on the subject. 


Dr. Jeffrey Kirby is a (retired) Professor in the Department of Bioethics, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University. He has an educational background and professional experience in medicine, philosophy and health care ethics. Dr. Kirby has published a set of academic papers in high-impact, international, bioethics journals on a variety of MAID-related topics including: assisted dying for suffering arising from mental health conditions, morally-relevant distinctions between paradigm and non-paradigm MAID circumstances, meso- and macro-level (MAID-related) health policy development, and organ donation after MAID and institutional conscientious objection to MAID. He made several, virtual and written, Bill C-7 related submissions to the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs regarding matters/issues of relevance to the potential consideration of mental health disorders as sole-qualifying conditions for MAID in Canada. He is a former member of the Expert Panel on MAiD and Mental Illness. 


Grand Rounds Presenter: Dr. Urvashi Prasad (PGY4)

Produced by: Dr. Urvashi Prasad (PGY4) and Dr. Alex Raben  (staff psychiatrist)

Hosts: Dr. Urvashi Prasad (PGY4) and Dr. Alex Raben (Staff Psychiatrist)

Peer Reviewer: David Eapen-John (MS4)

Audio editing by: Dr. Urvashi Prasad  (PGY4) 

Show notes by: Dr. Urvashi Prasad (PGY4)



  •  Canada, Health. “Government of Canada.”, / Gouvernement Du Canada, 27 Mar. 2023,


  • Government of Ontario, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. “Medical Assistance in Dying.” Health Care Professionals - MOH, Government of Ontario, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 13 May 2021, 

  • Tabitha Marshall. “Assisted Suicide in Canada.” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 3 Dec. 2021, 

  •  Canada, Health. “Government of Canada.”, / Gouvernement Du Canada, 27 Mar. 2023, 

  • Canada, Health. “Final Report of the Expert Panel on MAiD and Mental Illness”, / Gouvernement Du Canada, 13 May 2022, 

  • “Medical Assistance in Dying: An Update -” Position Statement, 

  •  APA Official Actions Position Statement on Medical Euthanasia. 2016, 

  • The Fifth Estate. “Is It Too Easy to Die in Canada? Surprising Approvals for Medically Assisted Death -the Fifth Estate.” YouTube, 19 Jan. 2023, 

  • Wiebe K, Mullin A. “Choosing death in unjust conditions: hope, autonomy and harm reduction.” J Med Ethics. 2023 Apr 26:jme-2022-108871. doi: 10.1136/jme-2022-108871. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37100589.

  • Gaind, KS. “What does “irremediability” in mental illness mean?” Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Online first May 22, 2020. pp 1‐3. doi: 10.1177/0706743720928656

  • Kirby, J. (2022) Interpreting Irremediability When a Mental Health Disorder is the sole-Qualifying Medical Condition for MAiD. Peer-reviewed critical commentary. Canadian Journal of Bioethics 5(4): 83-88.

  •  Kirby, J. (2021) Reconceptualizing ‘Psychiatric Futility’: Could Harm Reduction, Palliative Psychiatry, and Assisted Death Constitute a Three-Component Spectrum of Appropriate Practices? American Journal of Bioethics 21(7): 65-67.

  •  Kirby, J. (2018) Balancing Competing Interests and Obligations in Mental Health-Care Practice and Policy. Bioethics 33(6): 699-707.

  • Kirby, J. (2017) Medical Assistance in Dying for Suffering Arising from Mental Health Disorders: Could augmented safeguards enhance its ethical acceptability? Journal of Ethics in Mental Health 10: 1-17.


CPA Note: The views expressed in this podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the Canadian Psychiatric Association.


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