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Canada to expand medically assisted suicide to people without imminently-terminal illnesses

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OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is launching public consultations today on how best to respond to a court ruling that concluded it’s unconstitutional to allow only Canadians who are already near death to seek medical assistance to end their suffering.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the government accepts the Sept. 11 ruling of the Superior Court of Quebec and will amend the federal law accordingly.


But while the government has agreed to eliminate the near-death requirement, its consultation questionnaire suggests other hurdles could be imposed to ensure what it considers to be a balance between a person’s right to choose to end their life and protecting vulnerable individuals who could be pressured into an early death.


Canadians will have until Jan. 27 to offer their views on how the law should be amended through the online questionnaire being launched today.


At the same time, Justice Minister David Lametti, Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough will be holding roundtables and meetings with stakeholders and other key actors.



The online questionnaire asks people to consider what safeguards should be put in place to prevent abuse if the foreseeable death requirement is removed from the law.
Among other things, it asks people to consider whether:



  • The current 10-day period of reflection between requesting and receiving a medically assisted death should be increased.
  • The law should require that both the medical practitioner and patient agree that other reasonable treatments and options to relieve suffering have been tried without success.
  • Mandatory psychological or psychiatric assessments should be required to determined capacity to consent.
  • Mandatory consultation with an expert in a person’s medical condition should be required, in addition to the current mandatory two medical assessments.


While the public consultations are aimed primarily at how to respond to the Quebec court ruling, they will also dip into broader issues that were excluded in the new law and which must be considered as part of a parliamentary review of the law that is to begin this summer.


Those issues include whether mature minors and those suffering strictly from mental illnesses should be eligible and whether people who fear losing mental capacity should be able to make advance requests for medical assistance in dying.


This is great news. I agree with the poster on Resetera who said It's honestly refreshing to see a government concerned with improving the human condition.

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Just took the survey. I like that it asks questions about situations where a person may not be able to give consent immediately before receiving euthanasia, such as dementia, and if advanced consent forms should be allowed. It also states that mental suffering will now be included as a valid form of suffering eligible.



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People who struggle with mental health issues aren’t usually in a state of mind to rationalize taking their own lives. Hopefully whatever law is made adequately deals with that.


But I’m totally in favor of advanced directives for dementia patients. My uncle who lives next to me has lewey body dementia and he got really sick and nearly died...all I could think is that would have been a mercy. He’s only slipped further away since then and soon will have to be put in an assisted care facility. Since dementia has affected several on my moms side of the family, I’ve made it clear to my wife that I'm pulling the plug on myself if I get it.

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