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Senator Stanley Kutcher is calling on the federal government to allow supplemental health insurance for people whose only medical problem is mental illness. (File photo)
Federal Health Minister Mark Holland acknowledged that questions were raised by the two experts who testified before the committee, as well as provincial and territorial governments, and he did not rule out another postponement.< /p>
The government of Quebec, which has already looked into this issue in the past, is not considering extending the #x27;medical assistance in dying for people with mental illness. The province has stated that mental illness is not considered a disease for the purposes of MAID.
Helen Long, CEO of Dying With Dignity Canada, believes the government is ready to move forward. She points out that it met three main prerequisites to expand eligibility for medical assistance in dying to mental illnesses:
Only a small number of people whose only health problem is mental illness would be eligible for MAID, that is, people who have endured many years of suffering and who have tried several treatments.
A quote from Helen Long , CEO of Dying With Dignity Canada
Dr. Jitender Sareen is part of a group of eight university chairs in psychiatry who wrote to federal ministers and who urged the committee not to expand medical assistance in dying to people with mental illnesses.
He says the standards of conduct that guide psychiatrists and clinicians are inadequate and that Canada lags behind other countries in funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment.
Offering death to a person who has not had the opportunity to get better, with or without treatment, is, in our opinion, unacceptable.
A quote from Dr. Jitender Sareen, professor and head of the department of psychiatry at the University of Manitoba
Dr. Sonu Gand, professor at the University of Toronto and head of the department of psychiatry at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, believes that there were not enough safeguards to protect the most vulnerable.
If the bill goes ahead, it would be completely irresponsible, laments Dr. Ghent.
The leader of the Green Party, Elizabeth May, supports expanding MAID, but not before having better social and economic programs, including a guaranteed minimum income.
At this time, we cannot be certain that a Canadian is not requesting medical assistance in dying because they do not have housing or are not #x27;can't afford to pay her rent.
A quote from Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party
Since the adoption of federal law, in 2016, 44,958 Canadians obtained medical assistance in dying.
The most recent annual report (New window ) from Health Canada indicates that 13,241 people received medical assistance in dying in 2022, an increase of 31.2% compared to 2021.
In addition, in 2022, 9% of MAID recipients suffered from dementia – also called major neurocognitive disorder – characterized by a loss of mental faculties
With information from Olivia Stefanovitch of CBC News