Dementia Dialogue

MAID & Bill C-7 – Medical Assistance in Dying

November 30, 2020

   Bill C-7 proposes certain changes to the legislation on medical assistance in dying. In this episode, Dr. Mariette Brennan, a professor in Constitutional Law and Health Policy at the Bora Laskin Law School, Lakehead University, outlines the origins of this legislation in Canada, the current legislation and the proposed changes in Bill C-7.

     When the current law (Bill C-14) was passed in 2016, 3 outstanding issues that remained to be addressed by Parliament, namely mental illness, mature minors and advance directives, were referred to the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) for further study and advice. One of these matters, mental illness, is addressed in BillC-7 but mature minors and advance directives will be further examined by Parliament.

   While Bill C-7 excludes mental illness as an eligible disease, it expands eligibility for persons experiencing intolerable suffering but whose death is not foreseeable.  Safeguards are modified by simplifying access in one instance where there is reasonable foreseeable natural death and by adding safeguards with respect to intolerable suffering.

     Our resource page contains material on MAID from sources such as the Department of Justice https://canada.justice.gc.ca/eng/csj-sjc/pl/ad-am/c7/p1.html .Dementia Advocacy Canada’s Statement on MAID https://dementiacanada.com/resources and that of the Alzheimer Society of Canada  https://alzheimer.ca/en/help-support/im-caring-person-living-dementia/end-life-care/medical-assistance-dying and a CBC video of a "town hall' meeting on MAIDhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_2EDiuzr58

   You can become involved by contacting your MP and expressing your thoughts and also by contacting one of many non-governmental groups participating in the debate.

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