Proposed Modifications to Medical Help in Dying Laws : Canadian Authorities

Author: Ministry of Justice Canada (i): Contact:

Published: 2020-10-07

Table of contents and important points:

Medical Assistance in the Die (MAID) is a complex and deeply personal problem. In the article outlines, the proposed changes to the provisions of the Canadian Criminal Code on MAID have been reintroduced.

MAID was legalized in Canada in June 2016. Current legislation sets eligibility criteria for those wishing to apply for MAID and ensures that doctors and nurses must comply with the regulations.

Cancer is the most common underlying disease, followed by respiratory, neurological, and cardiovascular diseases.

Main digestion

The Honorable David Lametti, Attorney General and Attorney General of Canada, the Honorable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, and Minister for Employment, Human Resources Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, reintroduced proposed changes to Canada’s Criminal Code provisions on MAID. These changes are in line with those proposed by Bill C-7 in the previous parliamentary session.

The re-introduced bill proposes:

1. Remove the requirement that an individual’s natural death must be reasonably foreseeable to qualify for MAID

2. Adopt a two-pronged approach to procedural guarantees based on whether or not natural death of a person is reasonably foreseeable

  • a. Existing safety precautions will be retained and certain will be made easier for authorized persons whose death is reasonably foreseeable
  • b. New and modified protective measures are being introduced for authorized persons whose death cannot be reasonably foreseen

3. Exclude the authorization for people who only suffer from a mental illness

4. Allow final consent to be waived for authorized persons whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable and who may lose the capacity to give consent before MAID can be granted

5. The federal surveillance regime has expanded data collection to provide a more complete picture of MAID in Canada

The proposed changes would respond to the September 2019 Truchon Supreme Court decision of Québec by extending MAID eligibility to those whose deaths are not reasonably foreseeable. In cases where the death of a person is not reasonably foreseeable, the changed procedural guarantees would require practitioners to take appropriate measures to ensure that the application for MAID is fully informed and examined and that those making the application are seriously aware of a Have considered appropriate and available treatment options.

The bill reflects emerging societal consensus and was underpinned by views and concerns from Canadians, experts, practitioners, stakeholders, indigenous groups, and provinces and territories during the public consultations in January and February 2020. It is also informed by the past four years of experience with MAID in Canada.

If passed by parliament, the Canadian government would continue to work closely with provinces and territories, health system partners and health practice regulators to support implementation of the proposed legislative changes. This includes developing monitoring, reporting, best practices, and guidelines for the MAID regime. In addition, the federal government will work with provincial and territorial partners to improve support for people with disabilities.

Other important issues related to MAID in Canada – such as pre-requisites for newly diagnosed people with a medical condition that may affect their decision-making ability in the future, eligibility for those suffering solely from mental illness, and eligibility for mature minors – could be during A broader parliamentary review of MAID legislation, as required by the original legislation adopted in 2016, will be taken into account during the reporting period.


“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented all Canadians with unprecedented challenges, including disrupting the legislative process to review proposed changes to Canada’s MAID legislation. We understand that MAID is a deeply personal issue that affects individuals and families. The Canadian government remains committed to making the necessary changes to federal MAID legislation, which is why we have reintroduced these important proposed amendments aimed at reducing suffering while promoting individual autonomy and freedom of choice. “
The Honorable David Lametti, PC, QC, MP – Attorney General and Attorney General of Canada.

“While COVID-19 has disrupted our lives, it was important for the government to reintroduce this legislation. The feedback we have received from individuals, experts, stakeholders, health professionals, and other key stakeholders has helped us make laws Shaping that respect the autonomy of Canadians and Canadians protects vulnerable people. “
The Honorable Patty Hajdu, PC, MP – Minister of Health.

“Medical assistance in dying is a human rights issue. The proposed legislation recognizes the equality of personal autonomy and the inherent and equal value of all life. This legislation also recognizes the important role that social, mental health, disability and community support services play in In fully realizing these rights, it remains true to the principles of the Accessible Canada Act that everyone must be treated with dignity, everyone must have meaningful options and be free to make their own choices, and everyone must have the same opportunity to make their own lives that they can and want to have regardless of their disability. If we meet the deadline set by the court, we will continue to work with the disabled community and will not shy away from the long overdue discussions that we have in our country regarding inclusion of the behind and systemic discrimination on the basis of a disability. We will also take action from b promoting the first national plan for the inclusion of people with disabilities. “
The Honorable Carla Qualtrough, PC, MP – Minister for Employment, Human Resources Development and Disability Inclusion.

Fast facts

  • MAID was legalized in Canada in June 2016. Current legislation sets eligibility criteria for those wishing to apply for MAID and ensures that doctors and nurses must comply with the regulations.
  • On July 24, 2020, Health Canada published the first annual medical aid for dying Canada report (2019). This is the first report to use data collected in accordance with the MAID monitoring regulations.
  • As of June 2016, more than 13,000 medically assisted deaths have been reported in Canada. This figure is based on voluntarily reported data from the provinces and territories prior to November 1, 2018 and data collected after that date under the new surveillance system (1).
  • MAID deaths as a percentage of all deaths in Canada are consistent with other international euthanasia regimes.
  • Cancer is the most common underlying disease, followed by respiratory, neurological and cardiovascular diseases.
  • The majority of people who received MAID (82.1%) are said to have received palliative care.
  • In January and February 2020, the Government of Canada partnered with provinces, territories, Canadians, indigenous groups, key stakeholders, experts, and practitioners for their feedback on expanding Canada’s MAID framework.

– Over 300,000 Canadians participated in the online public consultations between January 13-27, 2020.

– Ministers Lametti, Hajdu and Qualtrough and their parliamentary secretaries also met with stakeholders, experts, practitioners and indigenous groups to consult them directly on the revision of Canada’s MAID legislation.

– The federal government will continue to work with the provinces and territories through federal, provincial and territorial ministers as well as through an intergovernmental working group at civil servant level on medical assistance in the dying.

  • The proposed changes would become law once they went through the legislative process in Parliament and received royal approval.
  • The Council of Canadian Academies has completed reviews (2) in three areas where MAID was not allowed under 2016 legislation: Mature Minor Applications, Advance Applications, and Applications where mental disorder is the only underlying illness.
  • Canada’s current MAID legislation requires a parliamentary review of the law and the state of palliative care in Canada by one or more committees beginning at the beginning of the fifth year after the law comes into effect. This review would allow further public engagement and parliamentary scrutiny on all aspects of MAID in Canada.

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(i) Source / Reference: Department of Justice Canada. Disabled World makes no guarantees or warranties in connection therewith. Content may have been edited for style, clarity, or length.

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Page quote:

Journal: Disabled World. Language: English. Author: Department of Justice Canada. Electronic publication date: 2020-10-07. Last revised date: 2020-10-07. Reference Title: “Proposed Changes To Medical Assistance In The Dying: Government Of Canada” Source: Proposed Changes To Medical Assistance In The Dying: Canadian Government. Abstract: Medical Assistance in the Dying (MAID) is a complex and deeply personal topic. In the article outlines, the proposed changes to the provisions of the Canadian Criminal Code on MAID have been reintroduced. Retrieved on December 12, 2020 from – reference category number: DW # 473-13889.

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