Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

Ottawa postpones until 2027 the expansion of access to medical assistance in dying

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A Commons committee found that Canada was not ready to expand eligibility for medical assistance in dying to people whose only medical problem is mental illness.

The Canadian Press

Liberal government postpones until 2027 its plan to expand eligibility for medical assistance in dying to include people whose only medical problem is a mental illness.

Federal Health Minister Mark Holland presented a bill Thursday morning that would postpone this change until well after the next federal election, scheduled for 2025.

Mr. Holland and his Justice colleague, Arif Virani, say they agree with the conclusion of a Commons committee that Canada simply wasn't ready for the change. /p>

The committee says questions remain about how health professionals could differentiate between a person who harbors suicidal thoughts and another who requests medical assistance in dying to escape mental illness. /p>

Almost all provinces and territories have asked the federal government for an “indefinite pause” in this expansion. Quebec had stressed that Ottawa's decision would not change anything since the province has not included people suffering from mental illness in its own law on medical assistance in dying.

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The conservative opposition had called on the government to abandon the idea completely, but said it would be in favor of postponing the project.

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