Medical Assistance in Dying Legislation Tabled

Feb 26, 2020

This is shared from CALTC (Canadian Association for Long Term Care, of which ACCA is a Member).

At the end of January, the Government of Canada wrapped up consultations with patients, practitioners, disability advocates, and stakeholders relating to the law on medical assistance in dying (MAID), specifically the requirement that a patient's death be reasonably foreseeable.

These consultations were launched in response to Quebec Superior Court decision that would allow individuals who are not nearing the end of their lives to be eligible to receive MAID. More than 300,000 Canadians participated in the online public consultations between January 13, and January 27, 2020.

On Monday, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced the introduction of Bill C-7, which proposes changes to Canada’s Criminal Code provisions on MAID.

The Bill would:
1. Remove the requirement for a person’s natural death to be reasonably foreseeable in order to be eligible for MAID
2. Introduce a two-track approach to procedural safeguards based on whether or not a person’s natural death is reasonably foreseeable
o Existing safeguards will be maintained and certain ones will be eased for eligible persons whose death is reasonably foreseeable
o New and modified safeguards will be introduced for eligible persons whose death is not reasonably foreseeable
3. Exclude eligibility for individuals suffering solely from mental illness
4. 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
5. Expand data collection through the federal monitoring regime to provide a more complete picture of MAID in Canada
The Bill is in its first reading and the proposed amendments would become law once they have gone through the legislative process in Parliament and received Royal Assent.

Source: News Release - Government of Canada proposes changes to medical assistance in dying legislation

“I want to sincerely thank all Canadians who participated in the consultations. We heard many personal stories from individuals, experts, advocacy groups, health professionals and other key stakeholders. Their feedback helped us shape the changes we are proposing today. Protecting vulnerable people, while respecting the autonomy of Canadians, remains our central objective. We will continue to work with provincial and territorial governments and stakeholders at all levels as we move forward on the implementation of the proposed changes.”
Honourable Patty Hajdu