MAID and mental disorders

Medical assistance in dying for those with a mental disorder as the sole underlying condition.

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Medical assistance in dying (MAID) for those with a mental disorder as the sole underlying condition – known as MAID MD-SUMC – is not currently available under the law in Canada. Following the passage of Bill C-7 in March 2021, a sunset clause was put in place to give the provinces and territories time to prepare for MAID MD-SUMC. In 2022, the sunset clause was extended until March 2023 to enhance readiness. This date was further delayed to March 2024. The Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying released a final report in January 2024 recommending yet another delay, and on February 29, 2024, Bill C-62 received Royal Assent, delaying MAID MD-SUMC until March 17, 2027. 

If you are struggling and need to speak with someone, you can connect with a crisis responder 24/7 for judgement-free support by calling 9-8-8. You are not alone. 

Psychiatric vs neurocognitive conditions

Medical assistance in dying (MAID) for those whose sole underlying condition is a mental disorder (MD-SUMC) includes conditions that are primarily within the domain of psychiatry, such as depression and personality disorders. It does not include neurocognitive disorders, nor other conditions that may affect cognitive abilities. To be clear, neurocognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s are not considered mental disorders and are not included in the temporary restriction as directed in Bill C-7 in March 2021. Some people with neurocognitive disorders, such as dementia, can currently qualify for MAID, if they meet all the criteria.

An Ipsos poll, commissioned by Dying With Dignity Canada in 2023, showed that a strong majority (80%) of people across Canada support the notion that with the appropriate safeguards in place, an adult with the capacity to provide informed consent should be able to seek an assessment for medical assistance in dying for a severe, treatment-resistant mental disorder for which they experience intolerable suffering.

Advocacy Toolkit and Action Guide

This toolkit has been designed to provide you with the messaging and resources to effectively communicate DWDC’s position on MAID and mental disorders as the sole underlying condition to your Members of Parliament (MPs).

Tell your Parliamentarians to respect our end-of-life rights

Excluding individuals with mental disorders from end-of-life choice is stigmatizing, discriminatory and unconstitutional.

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Empower. Inform. Protect your rights.