The seeds of CAMAP grew from a small email group of eight colleagues in British Columbia who found their grassroots, collegial support for one another to be invaluable as they began their work in assisted dying in June 2016 when federal legislation first came into effect and allowed for the legalized provision of MAiD.
By reaching out to a few others across the country who were also taking their first steps into this new field, a group of 20-25 clinicians quickly connected and filled out the initial ranks. Talk of the need for a national professional association began early. Recognizing MAiD clinicians come from a variety of backgrounds – family medicine, anesthesiology, palliative care, internal medicine and many more- it was clear no previously existing professional body could adequately represent us, or advocate for our unique needs.
In October of 2016, six of the original eight clinicians committed to establishing a national non-profit association, CAMAP, and took on the various roles of directors. There was a need to establish training resources, to create medical standards, and to encourage the standardization of care across the country. Essentially, it was felt Canada needed a national body of MAiD experts, mentors, and educators and these pioneers stepped forward to take on the challenge.
A website was developed, membership fees were established, and work began immediately. Within the first year, membership grew steadily. Newsletters were produced, case-sharing webinars were hosted, academic research was begun, our first clinical guidance document was published, and CAMAP proudly hosted the first national conference on medical assistance in dying in Canada – MAiD2017- in Victoria BC, with 110 attendees from all across the nation and more tuning in on-line, with two full days of presentations and several pre-conference workshops. Attendees, like our membership, included clinicians, administrators, lawyers, pharmacists, social workers, policy-wonks, and care coordinators.
Since that time, CAMAP has grown quickly and steadily into an organization respected and recognized as the leading subject matter experts on assisted dying in Canada. We have partnered locally, provincially, and nationally with a variety of organizations and MAiD stakeholders. We currently host three active online communities of practice, have produced 12 guidance documents, host MAiD training workshops, regular case-sharing webinars, and educational symposia. We are currently developing the Canadian MAiD Curriculum Project – a fully accredited, nationally recognized, bilingual, seven-module MAiD education curriculum for clinicians entering the field which we anticipate will be available starting in 2023.
We currently have a board of 12 directors and three part time employees but expect significant transformation in the coming years as we continue to grow and expand.