On February 15, 2023, the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying tabled its Final Report. This Report, mandated as part of the Parliamentary Review of medical assistance in dying (MAID), studied five key issues: advance requests, MAID for those with a mental disorder as the sole underlying condition, the protection of people living with disabilities, the state of palliative care in Canada, and MAID for mature minors.
In total, the Special Joint Committee presented 23 recommendations, including these 8 which are of particular interest:
- Recommendation 1: That the Government of Canada, in partnership with provinces and territories, continue to facilitate the collaboration of regulatory authorities, medical practitioners, and nurse practitioners to establish standards for medical practitioners and nurse practitioners for the purpose of assessing MAID requests, with a view to harmonizing access to MAID across Canada.
- Recommendation 3: That, every six months, Health Canada provide updates to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs and the Standing Senate Committee on Indigenous Peoples on its engagement with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis on the subject of MAID.
- Recommendation 4: That the Government of Canada work with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis partners, relevant organizations, such as the Canadian Association of MAID Assessors and Providers, regulatory authorities, and health professional associations to increase awareness of the importance of engaging with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis on the subject of MAID.
- Recommendation 6: That the Government of Canada, through relevant federal departments and respecting the jurisdiction of provinces and territories, consider increasing funding for the implementation of the Action Plan on Palliative Care: Building on the Framework on Palliative Care in Canada, and make targeted and sustained investments in innovative approaches and early-stage research aimed at improving health system performance and quality of care for people living with life-limiting illness and their caregivers
- Recommendation 8: That the Government of Canada, in collaboration with the provinces and territories, work to develop data systems to collect disaggregated data for Black, Indigenous, racialized, disabled, and 2SLGBTQ+ communities beyond the regulations that went into force January 1, 2023.
- Recommendation 10: That the Government of Canada continue to support persons with disabilities by implementing measures to reduce poverty and ensure economic security.
- Recommendation 16: That the Government of Canada amend the eligibility criteria for MAID set out in the Criminal Code to include minors deemed to have the requisite decision-making capacity upon assessment.
- Recommendation 21: That the Government of Canada amend the Criminal Code to allow for advance requests following a diagnosis of a serious and incurable medical condition disease, or disorder leading to incapacity.
To review all 23 recommendations, download the Final Report. Dying With Dignity Canada thanks the Special Joint Committee, the Senators and Members of Parliament who participated, and the ~150 witnesses who provided testimony.