May 13, 2022 | Ottawa Ontario | Health Canada
Medical assistance in dying (MAID) remains an important and deeply personal issue for many Canadians. The Government of Canada is committed to a legal framework for MAID that ensures autonomy and freedom of choice for Canadians, has strong safeguards, and ensures the compassionate and rights-based consideration of every request for MAID.
Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, and the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, with the support of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, tabled the Final Report of the Expert Panel on MAID and Mental Illness in Parliament. This was a requirement of the MAID legislation that came into force on March 17, 2021.
Access to MAID in the case of individuals with a mental illness was delayed for 24 months in the March 2021 legislation to allow the Expert Panel to provide advice to the federal government on the safeguards, protocols and guidance that should apply in these cases.
The report sets out 19 recommendations for establishing a MAID regime that addresses situations regarding incurability, irreversibility, individual capacity, suicidality and the impact of structural vulnerabilities (structural vulnerabilities being the effects of interactions between a person’s sex, gender, socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, sexuality, or institutional location, with one’s position in society).
The Expert Panel also concluded that many of these concerns are neither unique to requests for MAID from persons with a mental disorder, nor applicable to every requestor who has a mental disorder. In the view of the Expert Panel, their recommendations should apply to any case where similar concerns may arise, irrespective of the requester’s diagnosis. In keeping with their mandate, the Expert Panel has paid particular attention to these concerns in the context of mental disorders.
The Government of Canada values the time and expertise the Expert Panel members have dedicated to this process. The final report and recommendations are the product of careful consideration of all of the available evidence and the experience of the Expert Panel members and the government will review and consider the report carefully. This work will assist Parliament’s Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying as it continues its hearings and deliberations in the lead up to its own interim report on MAID and mental illness.