The Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that supports independent, authoritative, and evidence-based expert assessments that inform public policy development in Canada. In December 2016, the federal government requested the CCA to undertake independent reviews related to three particularly complex types of requests for medical assistance in dying. These three types were identified for further review and study in the legislation passed by Parliament in 2016 and include: requests by mature minors, advance requests, and requests where mental illness is the sole underlying medical condition.
On April 27, 2017 the CCA announced the appointment 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 to an expert panel on medical assistance in dying. The panel will be organized into three Working Groups, each with a Chair. Asper Centre director Cheryl Milne was appointed to the medical assistance in dying panel for requests by mature minors.
Cheryl Milne was called to the Ontario Bar in 1987 and completed an MSW at the University of Toronto in 1991. Prior to the Asper Centre, Ms. Milne was a legal advocate for children with the legal clinic Justice for Children and Youth. There she led the clinic’s Charter litigations including the challenge to the corporal punishment defence in the Criminal Code [Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law v. Canada (2004)] and an intervention involving the right of a capable adolescent to consent to her own medical treatment (A.C. v. Manitoba Child and Family Services (2009)]. Ms. Milne currently teaches a clinical course in constitutional advocacy at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law and has represented the Asper Centre in numerous interventions at the Supreme Court of Canada and Federal Court of Appeal. She is a past Chair of the Ontario Bar Association’s Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights section and of the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children and is currently the chair of Justice for Children and Youth.
Ms. Milne is honoured to be appointed for this important role, adding that the “…the CCA has assembled an impressive interdisciplinary group under the stewardship of 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. Our first meeting of the full panel revealed the depth and independence of the review process. I am proud to be working with such distinguished and knowledgeable colleagues.”