NEWS
03/03/2016 09:38 EST | Updated 03/04/2017 00:12 EST

Terminally ill Toronto man applies for doctor-assisted death

A terminally ill Toronto man is asking a judge to grant him a physician assisted death.

The man — who can only be identified by his initials A.B. because of a court-order that protects his identity — will have his application heard by a Superior Court judge later this month.

In a court affidavit, the 80-year-old man says he is in the advanced stages of aggressive lymphoma diagnosed in 2012. 

"I am suffering intolerable pain and distress that cannot be eliminated," he says in the affidavit.

The case is believed to be the first of its kind in Ontario.

Earlier this week, a Calgary woman suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease ended her life in Vancouver with the help of two doctors after she was granted the kind of legal exemption that A.B. is seeking. 

She is believed to be the first person in Canada outside of Quebec to be allowed legally to end her life with help from a doctor. Her identity was also protected by a court-ordered publication ban.

Applicant wants identity protected

In his affidavit, A.B. said wants his identity protected so that "neither myself or my family is subjected to public attention that might follow if my name is released to the public.

"Such attention would be detrimental to my wish to die with dignity, privately, in the company of my family."

A.B. says he wants protection from members of the media who might try to contact him. He also wants to avoid harassment from groups opposed to laws that permit physician-assisted deaths.

Under Canada's current law, it is still a crime to help another person end their life, but two recent decisions at the Supreme Court allow exemptions if certain criteria are met.

In January, the country's highest court granted the constitutional exemption to those who make an application in Superior Court and are found to have met the criteria until new legislation is crafted in June.