How Canada's Medically Assisted Death Laws Have Changed (Hint: Eligibility Has Expanded)

The laws around medical assistance in dying (MAID) continue to evolve.

With the passing of Bill C7, MAID is no longer available exclusively for individuals who are dying. Provided the other eligibility criteria are satisfied, it is now possible for someone to access MAID even if their death is not reasonably foreseeable. Such persons will have to go through additional safeguards, such as a 90 day waiting period. A new addition to the law is that individuals will have to be informed about ways other than MAID to relieve their suffering.

MAID is not currently available for people whose sole underlying condition is a mental illness. However, Bill C7 makes it look like that's the plan in 2 years. The 2 years are intended to be used to develop appropriate safeguards.

Finally, Bill C7 introduced advance consent for people who are dying. Individuals whose "natural death is reasonably foreseeable", and who are capable, will be able to enter into an agreement with a medical or nurse practitioner that establishes the specific date on which MAID will be provided. If the person later demonstrates that they no longer consent, MAID would not proceed.

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