SCRAP New Bill would change regulations regarding medical assistance in dying

 

The federal government could be making some changes to the laws related to medical assistance in dying (MAID). 

A new bill has been put forward by David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General; Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health; and Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, that would change Canada’s Criminal Code provisions on MAID. 

If passed, 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. 
    • 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. 
  1. exclude eligibility for individuals suffering solely from mental illness
  2. 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. 
  3. expand data collection through the federal monitoring regime to provide a more complete picture of MAID in Canada. 

“Medical assistance in dying is a deeply personal issue that touches real people and real families. Canadians have shown us during the consultations just how important this issue is to them,” Lametti said in a news release. 

“We are proud to announce proposed changes that have been informed by their views as well as by Canada’s experiences to date in implementing the 2016 medical assistance in dying regime. The proposed amendments aim to reduce suffering, while also supporting individual autonomy and freedom of choice,” he continued. 

“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,” Hadju said in the same release. 

“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,” she continued. 

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