What's the latest on medical assistance dying in Canada?

Medical assistance in dying (MAID) became legal a few years ago when the Supreme Court of Canada said that a complete ban on assisted suicide was unconstitutional. The government drafted a new law to iron out the details, but they made the law more strict than what the Court had said. The Supreme Court of Canada didn't say anything about a terminal diagnosis but the new law said a person's death must be "reasonably foreseeable" in order to quality for MAID. And therein lies the problem.

Still with me?

There was a lawsuit in Quebec and a judge agreed that the new law was too strict. Specifically, that bit about reasonable foreseeability of death.

Since that lawsuit, the federal government has been tasked with revising the Criminal Code of Canada (which tells us who is or is not eligible for MAID).

As of the day of this blog post, the law has not yet changed. But you may have noticed it being discussed in the media because it is making its way through the legislative process. It's called Bill C7 and you can read it for yourself right here. This bill would make MAID an option for people whose death is not reasonably foreseeable (but who meet the other criteria). It would also create two different sets of safeguards; the one for folks who are dying would be less onerous.

Although MAID would no longer be limited to persons who are dying, people would still need to have a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability (mental illness excluded).

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