On June 24, 2016, the Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) and partners hosted a unique opportunity for the legal profession. As part of the LCO’s project, Improving the Last Stages of Life, we co-hosted the Roundtable on Legal Ethics and Practice for the Last Stages of Life. Our partners for the roundtable were three lawyers specialized in trusts and estates, and mental health law: D’Arcy Hiltz, Alexander Procope and Ryan Fritsch.

The purpose of the roundtable was to bring together practicing lawyers, academics, government counsel, policymakers and others from the legal community to share the professional and ethical practice challenges they face or foresee in this area of the law.

The roundtable was a workshop-style event involving intensive discussion in small groups. Activities throughout the day centered around the following themes:

Themes for The Roundtable Activities
1. Advising clients on the last stages of life
2. Resolving common disputes nearing the end of life
3. Expectations for medical assistance in dying


In each case, participants were asked to answer questions on their experiences with related practice issues and, later, to link their answers to concerns about professional ethics.

Experiences at the Roundtable were overwhelmingly positive. Comments included statements like « An excellent event evidently enjoyed by everyone, » « great, » « what a stimulating day! » Results of the roundtable will be incorporated into the discussion paper for the Law Commission’s project and will be taken into account when we consider possible recommendations for reform. They will also be summarized in a brief report that will publicly disseminated.