HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Normalizing Death as 'Treatment' in Canada: Whose Suicides Do We Prevent, and Whose Do We Abet?

Ramona Coelho (Adelaide Southdale Center), K. Sonu Gaind (University of Toronto), Trudo Lemmens(University of Toronto), John Maher (Independent), Normalizing Death as 'Treatment' in Canada: Whose Suicides Do We Prevent, and Whose Do We Abet?, 70 World Medical J. 3 (2022):

In 2021, within five years of the adoption of a first “Medical Assistance in Dying” law that partially legalized the practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada, the Canadian parliament removed several key safeguards in a new MAiD legislation, Bill C-7. It did so after the federal government failed to appeal a provincial (Quebec) lower court decision, which had ruled that the restriction of MAiD to natural death being ‘reasonably foreseeable’ was unconstitutional. The government then expanded de facto eligibility to include those not approaching their natural death but living with disabilities; and as of March 2023, this will also include those suffering solely from mental disorders. This article, which is the first of two World Medical Journal articles on the developments of MAiD law in Canada, reviews the Canadian experience to date and raises issues to consider as assisted dying policies or expansion are considered in the rest of the world. It documents the rapid increase of MAID in Canada in the context of serious failings in Canada's health care and social support systems. It discusses various problematic components of the practice of MAID in Canada. And it explores how the expansion outside the end-of-life context puts Canadians with disabilities at risk of premature death.

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