The federal government has announced it is seeking a further suspension of the Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) provision, which covers people suffering solely from mental illness.
The government’s efforts to delay the expansion of MAID came after the Quebec Superior Court ruled that the government’s original MAID bill in 2016 was invalid because it was limited to deaths that were “reasonably foreseeable.” This is the second time since then.
Health Minister Mark Holland and Justice Minister Arif Virani made the announcement in front of the House of Commons on Monday. Holland said Canada’s health-care system is “not yet ready” to expand MAID.
“We need to get our systems ready and we need to do it right,” he said. “It is clear from our conversations so far that the system is not ready and we need more time.”
The Netherlands did not say how long the government intended to delay the expansion. He said a schedule would be outlined once the government introduced new legislation.
A new law passed in 2021 delayed the extension of MAID, which includes people suffering from mental illness, by two years. That deadline was later extended to March 17 of this year.
The government would need to pass new legislation to delay the deadline again. Holland said the bill would be introduced “soon” and Virani said he aimed to pass the bill by the deadline.
“Given the dates currently set in the law, we understand the need to act quickly,” Virani said. “We intend to meet that deadline.”
More to come…