The Government of Canada has invited all Canadians to share their thoughts on medical assistance in dying (“MAID”) by completing a brief Questionnaire. You have until January 27, 2020 11:59 PM (PST) to complete the questionnaire and offer your opinion on this important, and often very personal, issue.
In June of 2016, MAID became legal in Canada. Since that time, more than 6,700 Canadians have chosen to die peacefully with the assistance of a physician or nurse practitioner.
At the time of its introduction, many Canadians supported the idea that MAID should be available in a broader set of medical circumstances that is contemplated by the current legislation. The Government committed itself to studying the issue and undertaking a review of the law five years after it was passed. This review is set to begin this summer.
As you may know, expanding access to MAID needs to be carefully weighed in light of the potential harm to particularly vulnerable patients within the category of those “who are not at a point when their death has become reasonably foreseeable”. Such patients include “mature minors” (people under age 18 considered by doctors to be capable of directing their own care), those making advance requests as well as people who wish to end their lives solely because of mental illness.
Government Contemplating Additional Safeguards
The issues at consultation include those relating to extending access to MAID for the above mentioned vulnerable group of patients. In particular, the Government is contemplating various safeguards, including:
– the need for psychiatric evaluations;
– the need for an expanded reflection period between the time a patient submits an application for MAID and receives MAID;
– the need for a mandatory consultation with another expert on the person’s condition (in addition to already mandatory 2 medical assessments by either a physician and/or nurse);
– the need for an obligation for a physician or a nurse practitioner to consult with the family members or loved ones with the person’s consent.
Complete the Questionnaire Today
If you would like to express your views on the extent to which every Canadian should be entitled to access MAID, please make sure you complete the Questionnaire.