Government of Canada proposes changes to medical assistance in dying legislation
Feb. 29, 2020
Global Korean Post
Medical assistance in dying (MAID) is a complex and deeply personal issue.
On Feb. 24, David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, and Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced the introduction of a bill, which proposes changes to Canada’s Criminal Code provisions on MAID.
The Bill would:
- remove the requirement for a person’s natural death to be reasonably foreseeable in order to be eligible for MAID
- introduce a two-track approach to procedural safeguards based on whether or not a person’s natural death is reasonably foreseeable
- existing safeguards will be maintained and certain ones will be eased for eligible persons whose death is reasonably foreseeable
- new and modified safeguards will be introduced for eligible persons whose death is not reasonably foreseeable
- exclude eligibility for individuals suffering solely from mental illness
- allow waiver of final consent for eligible persons whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable and who may lose capacity to consent before MAID can be provided
- expand data collection through the federal monitoring regime to provide a more complete picture of MAID in Canada
The introduction of this Bill would respond to the Superior Court of Québec’s September 2019 Truchon decision by allowing individuals who are not nearing the end of their lives to be eligible to receive MAID. The amended procedural safeguards would require practitioners to take appropriate steps to ensure that, in non-end-of-life cases, the request for MAID is fully informed and considered, and that individuals making the request have given serious consideration to reasonable and available treatment options.
The Bill also reflects emerging societal consensus and was informed by views and concerns raised by Canadians, experts, practitioners, stakeholders, Indigenous groups, as well as provinces and territories during the January and February 2020 consultations. It is also informed by the past four years of experience with MAID in Canada.
MAID became legal in Canada in June 2016. The current legislation sets out eligibility criteria for those who wish to apply for MAID, as well as safeguards physicians and nurse practitioners must follow.