Government of Canada Seeking Input Into Proposed Changes Surrounding Medically Assisted Suicide

– By Deacon Eric Gurash

 On Monday, January 13 the Government of Canada issued a survey seeking the input of Canadians into proposed changes to Canada's current legislation regarding medically assisted suicide - which operates under the name MAID (Medical Assistance In Dying). The deadline to complete this brief survey is January 27, 2020.

 As a Church, we are fundamentally opposed to any legislation that allows for medically assisted suicide and euthanasia. Our desire to restrict, as far as possible, the eligibility for these services does not constitute an endorsement of the current legislation. The survey presumes the desirability of assisted suicide and may seem skewed from our Catholic perspective. There are several opportunities within the survey itself to make these fundamental oppositions known.

 The proposed changes to Canada’s assisted-death laws are a direct response to a 2019 Quebec court decision that found that the requirement that natural death be "reasonably foreseeable" in patients seeking assisted suicide under the new federal law and the “end-of-life” criteria in Quebec’s provincial law on medically-assisted suicide and euthanasia as unconstitutional and too restrictive.

 It is important to note that this "reasonably foreseeable" clause was added in the 2016 legislation to specifically protect people with disabilities, including those with mental health concerns. The removal of this clause and the proposed expansions of the criteria for eligibility for medically assisted suicide puts those with mental health challenges, the elderly, and the disabled at even greater risk.

 The survey can be filled out in English / En Francais 

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