Federal government asks Canadians to weigh in on medically assisted death law

By Dilshad Burman

The federal government is asking Canadians to weigh in on who should be eligible for medical assistance in dying (MAID) and other aspects of the law.

In the public consultations section of its website, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has posted a questionnaire offering “Canadians the opportunity to share their views with the Government of Canada on this deeply personal and very important issue.”

The consultation was prompted by a Quebec Superior Court ruling in Sept. 2019 on eligibility for MAID based on a person nearing the end of life.

The case was brought forward by Mr. Truchon, who has lived with cerebral palsy since birth, and Ms. Gladu, who has lived with paralysis and severe scoliosis as a result of poliomyelitis.

Those who assessed the pair felt they met all the eligibility criteria for MAID except nearing the end of life.

The Court declared the “reasonable foreseeability of natural death” criterion in the federal Criminal Code, as well as the “end-of-life” criterion in Quebec’s provincial law on medical assistance in dying, to be unconstitutional.

The ruling will come into effect in March of this year and while it only applies to Quebec, the DOJ says the Canadian government has accepted the ruling and is planning to change the MAID law for the entire country.

Updating this law will expand eligibility for MAID beyond those who are nearing end of life.

MAID was legalized in 2016, with a full review set to be conducted five years later. The review is set to launch this summer and the public consultation has been launched in the lead up to the review.

Questions included in the online questionnaire surround things like the age at which one can request MAID and mental capacity at the time of the procedure. The survey closes Jan. 27.

Since assisted death was made legal in Canada, 6,700 Canadians who were suffering chose to die peacefully with the help of a medical professional.

Click here for more information about eligibility criteria, process for obtaining MAID and more.

Click here to participate in the questionnaire.

Source: Department of Justice

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