Treatment against the Wishes of a Child

A Children's Aid Society recently apprehended a child from his parents because they honoured his wish not receive further chemotherapy. Oncologists are of the view that the boy is not capable to make the treatment decisions and that the treatment offers the boy the only chance of survival. These are complicated decisions and are currently being played out before a Family Court Judge. But why?

The Province of Ontario has a comprehensive code for capacity to consent to treatment in the Health Care Consent Act, 1996 and the principles of substitute decision making. The child could apply to the Consent and Capacity Board for a review that he is incapable of making treatment decisions. A doctor could apply to the Board for a determination that the parents are not acting in accordance with the principles of substitute decision making. Under Ontario law, there is no need to apprehend a child in order to examine the decision making. It is time for Children's Aid Societies and lawyers acting for children to start thinking outside of the apprehension box!