New law on medical assistance in dying comes into force


OTTAWA (ON), March 17, 2021 /CNW/ – Medical assistance in dying (MAID) is a complex and deeply personal issue. The government of Canada is committed to ensuring that our laws reflect the changing needs of Canadians, support their autonomy and freedom of choice, and protect the vulnerable.

Today, the Honorable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Honorable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced that changes to from Canada criminal code MAID provisions received Royal Assent and came into force immediately.

The new MAID law marks an important step. The changes are the result of more than five years of experience with the AMM in Canada. The new law responds to feedback from more than 300,000 Canadians, experts, practitioners, stakeholders, provinces and territories, provided during the months of January and February 2020 consultations. It is also based on the testimony of more than 120 expert witnesses heard throughout the study of Bill C-7 by the House of Commons and the Senate.

Specifically, the new law:

  • removes the requirement that a person’s natural death must be reasonably foreseeable to be eligible for MAID, in response to the 2019 Superior Court of Quebec decision Truchon decision
  • introduces a two-pronged approach to procedural safeguards based on whether or not a person’s natural death is reasonably foreseeable
    • existing guarantees are maintained and, in some cases, relaxed 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 those suffering solely from mental illness for 24 months and requires Ministers of Justice and Health to launch an expert review to make recommendations over the next year on protocols, guidance and safeguards for MAID for people with mental illness
  • allows eligible individuals 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 meantime
  • enables expanded data collection and analysis through the federal oversight regime to provide a more complete and inclusive picture of MAID in Canada

The government of Canada acknowledges that there are other important outstanding issues related to MAID that still need to be explored. Areas such as the eligibility of mature minors, advance requests, mental illness, palliative care and the protection of Canadians living with disabilities will be examined in a parliamentary review of MAID legislation that will begin within the next 30 days. The committee responsible for the parliamentary review process must submit its report to Parliament no later than one year after the start of the review.


“Significant changes to from Canada law on medical assistance in dying are officially in force. Many Canadians, especially those suffering intolerably, were eager to see these changes come to fruition. It’s been a long process and I’m glad the wait is over. The revised law respects the autonomy and freedom of choice of all Canadians to decide for themselves when their suffering has become intolerable, while protecting the vulnerable. »

The Honorable David Lametti, PC, QC, MP
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

“As Minister of Health, the health and well-being of Canadians is my primary concern. The new law is the result of a comprehensive effort informed by thoughtful contributions from many sources, including health care providers, academics and the public. , but a measured step to address access to MAID in Canada. I believe this new law offers an approach to medical assistance in dying that will best serve the interests of all Canadians. »

The Honorable Patty Hajdu, PC, MP
health Minister

Fast facts

  • MAID became legal in Canada in June 2016. Federal legislation establishes eligibility criteria for those who wish to seek MAID, as well as safeguards that physicians and nurse practitioners must follow.
  • At July 24, 2020, Health Canada released the first annual report on medical assistance in dying in Canada (2019) which is the first report using data collected as part of the Regulation respecting monitoring of medical assistance in dying.
    • Because June 2016, there have been more than 13,000 medically assisted deaths reported in Canada. This figure is based on data reported voluntarily by provinces and territories before November 1, 2018, and the data collected under the new monitoring regime after this date.
    • MAID deaths as a percentage of all deaths in Canada remains consistent with other international regimes for assisted dying.
    • Cancer is the most frequently cited underlying medical condition, followed by respiratory, neurological and cardiovascular conditions.
    • The majority of people receiving MAID (82.1%) would have received palliative care services.
  • The Council of Canadian Academies has completed Comments in three areas where MAID was not permitted under the 2016 legislation: mature minor requests, advance requests, and requests where a mental disorder is the only underlying medical condition.

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SOURCE Department of Justice Canada

For further information: media may contact: Rachel Rappaport, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, 613-992-6568; Media Relations, Department of Justice Canada, 613-957-4207, [email protected]; Cole Davidson, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Health, 613-957-0200; Media Relations, Health Canada, 613-957-2983, [email protected]

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