On March 17, 2021, the Government of Canada announced that changes to Canada’s medical assistance in dying (MAID) law are officially in force. The new law includes changes to eligibility, procedural safeguards, and the framework for the federal government’s data collection and reporting regime.
The new law responds to feedback from over 300,000 Canadians, experts, practitioners, stakeholders, provinces and territories and is also informed by the testimony of over 120 expert witnesses.
Specifically, the new law:
- Removes the requirement for a person’s natural death to be reasonably foreseeable in order to be eligible for MAID, in response to the 2019 Superior Court of Québec’s Truchon ruling
- Introduces a two-track approach to procedural safeguards based on whether or not a person’s natural death is reasonably foreseeable
- Existing safeguards are maintained and, in some cases, eased for eligible persons whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable
- New and strengthened safeguards are introduced for eligible persons whose natural death is not reasonably foreseeable
- Temporarily excludes eligibility for individuals suffering solely from mental illness for 24 months, and requires the Ministers of Justice and Health to initiate an expert review tasked with making recommendations within the next year on protocols, guidance and safeguards for MAID for persons suffering from mental illness
- Allows eligible persons whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable, and who have a set date to receive MAID, to waive final consent if they are at risk of losing capacity in the interim
- Allows for expanded data collection and analysis through the federal monitoring regime to provide a more complete and inclusive picture of MAID in Canada
Please refer to the Government of Canada website for further details on what this change in MAID legislation means for Canadians.