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Northwest Territories Health Care Card Renewal

HEALTH-CARD-1 new-hcc

             Old Health Care Card                                         New Health Care Card


Most residents of the NWT will need to renew their health care cards in 2016. Residents can check the expiry dates found on the bottom right hand of the card to see if their health care card will be expiring soon. You can renew your cards up to four months before it expires.

This year, the health care card will have a new look. The new health care cards will not affect residents’ health care coverage. Residents will continue to receive the same coverage for basic hospital and medical treatment. This means that anyone with a valid NWT health care card can go to a hospital or health centre for treatment and not have to pay for medically necessary health services. Residents need to renew their cards before their cards expiry date so that their coverage is not interrupted. For a list of frequently asked questions about the Health Care Card Renewal Process and their answers please click here.

To get the renewal application forms go to www.hss.gov.nt.ca. If you do not have internet or require assistance in filling out the form, our IRS Coordinator Linda Celotti would be happy to help. You can reach Linda at 867-873-8230, or via email at info@nwtdc.net.

The CNIB Spring 2016 Newsletter is Here!

The Canadian National Institute for the Blind continues to ensure all people in the Northwest Territories with vision loss or changing vision have the necessary devices to maintain independence, continue reading, cooking, doing crafts or hobbies, and living just as they had prior to vision loss.

CNIB is happy to provide information on eye conditions, eye care, eye health, and living with vision loss and changing vision.

Please feel free to distribute the newsletter to your staff, clients, or make available in common areas or waiting rooms.

Rhonda Hoffos
Regional Manager
PO Box 872
Yellowknife, NT  X1A 2N6
Phone: 867-873-2647
Fax: 867-873-2657
E-Mail: rhonda.hoffos@cnib.ca
Located in the Lower Level of the Scotia Centre

You can read the complete newsletter here.

Recommendations Contained in Report of Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying Pose Significant Risk to Vulnerable Canadians

The Council for Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) and the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) are extremely dismayed that the recommendations contained in the report released today by Parliament’s Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying will jeopardize the lives of vulnerable Canadians.  They do not follow the Supreme Court’s call for “stringent limits that are scrupulously monitored and enforced.”

“We are concerned that the Committee’s permissive approach would put vulnerable people at risk. Their recommendations exceed guidance from the Supreme Court, as well as UN Conventions to which Canada is a signatory” states Tony Dolan, CCD Chair.

“We appreciate that members of the Joint Committee were alert to concerns about vulnerable persons,” says Michael Bach, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Association of Community Living. “Nevertheless, we are alarmed by the committee’s conclusions. We believe the recommendations contained in the Committee Report fall well short of the minimum safeguards we believe are essential to protecting vulnerable Canadians. Clearly there is a lot of work still to be done.”

Together CACL and CCD represent the concerns of Canadians with disabilities. Both organizations believe that their members will be harmed if the government adopts the committee’s recommendations. They have four principle concerns.

First, both organizations believe the committee has erred by not accepting the trial judge’s definition of “grievous and irremediable medical conditions” to exclude psychosocial suffering as an eligible condition, and meaning an advanced state of weakening capacities with no chance of improvement.

Second, the Committee suggests that concerns about vulnerability can be addressed within the context of physician assessments of decision making capacity.  The evidence does not support this claim. Physicians are not generally trained or have expertise in the kinds of vulnerabilities that are known to motivate requests for assisted death. For example, a survey of U.S. physicians found that only 2% had training, experience or expertise in identifying signs of elder abuse in their patients, despite this growing demographic. “The Committee’s recommendation, which instructs decision makers to pay attention to vulnerability does nothing to assuage our concerns,” states Rhonda Wiebe, Co-Chairperson of CCD’s Ending of Life Ethics Committee.

Third, the Committee recommends allowing for advance directives. This is not consistent with the Supreme Court decision which clearly stated that a person has to be capable in the actual circumstances of taking the intervention intended to cause death. Advance directives would empower substitute decision makers to determine when someone should die. This should be explicitly prohibited in federal legislation.  The risks to the most vulnerable in society are obvious.

Fourth, the Committee rejected proposals that requests be authorized through an independent prior review, instead relying on two physicians to make the assessment and authorize the intervention to terminate a person’s life. These are fundamentally irreconcilable roles, and combining them exposes physicians and patients to conflicts of interest and increases risk of abuse. A check and balance of prior review is essential.

CCD and CACL will be urging the government to adopt a stronger system of safeguards, and to adopt a clear standard for protecting vulnerable persons.  Canadians requesting assistance from physicians to end their life should be able to do so without jeopardizing the lives of vulnerable persons who may be subject to coercion, inducement and abuse.


Media Contacts:

Michael Bach, CACL Executive Vice President, Tel: 416-209-7942
Tony Dolan, CCD Chairperson, Tel: 902-569-2817
Dean Richert, Co-chair CCD Ending of Life Ethics Committee, Tel: 204-951-6273.
Rhonda Wiebe, Co-chair CCD Ending of Life Ethics Committee, Tel: 204-779-4493

Physician Assisted Death

Here are some documents on Physician Assisted Death in Canada:

Fundamental Principals/Guidelines for Legislative and Policy Response

From the Council of Canadians with Disabilities: An Act to amend the Criminal Code as it relates to Physician-Assisted Suicide

A Draft Federal Legislation to Amend the Criminal Code

Emergency Planning

GAATES (Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments) has developed a handbook for emergency planning for persons with disabilities.

The Handbook

The Poster