Canadian Physicians for Life (CPL) is celebrating a win in Alberta as practice standards will not require physicians to refer a patient for euthanasia.Last year, Health Canada issued Model Practice Standards that adopted the Ontario model of effective referral for euthanasia. With the proposed expansion of euthanasia to persons whose sole condition is mental illness, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) proposed new practice standards and introduced "effective referrals" into the draft policy.CPL successfully rallied doctors to oppose the change, prompting this acknowledgement on the CPSA consultation site."Based on initial feedback received, the term ‘effective referral’ will be removed from the Conscientious Objection standard. Those that provide feedback during the consultation period will be consulted again during the re-consultation phase and see additional edits before final approval."In an email blast January 9, CPL executive director Nicole Sheidl said the organization was “delighted” with the “important win.”“We expect that there will be a push in other provinces to integrate the requirement for ‘effective referral’ into other provincial practice standards. It will be important to work together to push back on this affront to conscientious objection and we are grateful to our Alberta physicians who took the lead on this,” Sheildl said.“It is important that physicians and all healthcare professionals are able to use their best medical judgment and practice conscientiously. This is essential for life-affirming healthcare in Canada and we will continue to follow this closely.”CPL insists Alberta already has a solid framework for patients to access services they are looking for without mandating that doctors violate their professional judgment.In an email to the Western Standard, Sheidl said a mandated effective referral is an issue of conscience that should not come at the expense of a doctor’s career.“Requiring effective referrals forces physicians to be complicit in acts they believe will harm their patients. It forces them to betray their moral code. Physicians who value their moral integrity will not comply and will leave jurisdictions or family practice in order to not put themselves in these compromised situations,” Sheidl said.Sheidl suggested Alberta might have seen an exodus of doctors had the proposed changes gone ahead.“I know of several physicians that left Ontario because of the 'effective referral' requirement from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario,” she said.“Family physicians who have not left Ontario have not opened family practices, choosing instead to practice in hospitals and specialty clinics where they will not be forced to act against their best medical judgement. A lack of conscience protection in Ontario has continued to undermine efforts to increase the number of family practitioners.”Sheidl believes fewer doctors wouldn’t help the health of Albertans.“Since healthcare in Alberta suffers from a lack of family physicians, it seems unwise to push forward on ‘effective referral’ creating more problems than it solves,” she said.