Assisted Dying Law to be Challenged

In our last blog about medical assistance in dying we explained that legislation was forthcoming. On June 17, 2016, Bill C-14 passed and thus Canada now has legislation to govern physician-assisted deaths.

On June 27, 2016, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association launched a legal challenge to the new legislation. They reported the following:

The lawsuit challenges the new assisted dying law which restricts medical assistance in dying to Canadians with terminal illness. The law does not permit assistance in dying for those who are suffering with no immediate end in sight.

Canadians with diseases like spinal muscular atrophy, multiple sclerosis, spinal stenosis, locked-in syndrome, traumatic spinal injury, Parkinson’s disease and Huntingon’s disease are not eligible for medical assistance in dying under the new law.

The Supreme Court of Canada directed that medical assistance in dying should be available to clearly consenting, competent adults with “grievous and irremediable” medical conditions which cause enduring, intolerable suffering.

They are effectively arguing that the law drafted by Parliament is illegal because it does not conform to what the Supreme Court of Canada previously decided. If their challenge is successful, it will impact all Canadians.

We will continue to monitor the ongoing developments and provide updates via this blog and our newsletter. For more information about recent developments see our June newsletter here.

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