Panych was born in Calgary and grew up in Edmonton, Alberta. He studied at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, and the University of British Columbia. His plays include Girl in the Goldfish Bowl (2003); Vigil (adapted for the British stage as Auntie and Me); Lawrence & Holloman; The Ends of the Earth; Earshot; 7 Stories; Dishwashers;Still Laughing: Three Adaptations by Morris Panych (2009), Panych's adaptations of The Government Inspector by Nikolai Gogol, Hotel Peccadillo by Georges Feydeau and Mauric Desvallières, and The Amorous Adventures of Anatol by Arthur Schnitzler; The Trespassers (2010) Gordon (2011) and In Absentia (2012).
He won the 2004 Governor General's Award for Drama for Girl in the Goldfish Bowl, and the 1994 Governor General's Award for Drama for The Ends of the Earth.
His directing includes some of his own works, including the Prix Italia nominated The Overcoat, plus several music videos and Da Vinci's Inquest.
Openlygay, Panych married his longtime partner, Ken MacDonald, in 2004.