End–of-life rights are human rights
Eligibility and access issues put MAID out of reach for too many
More than six years ago, the Supreme Court passed Canada’s first legislation on medical assistance in dying (MAID) — where it recognized the autonomy of suffering people who wish to seek MAID.
Though the number of people able to access MAID has steadily increased since then, too many people are still denied their right to a death of their choosing for reasons of either eligibility or access:
- People are still not able to make an advance request for MAID — including for those who are likely to lose the ability to consent due to neurocognitive conditions that erode their decision-making capacity, such as dementia.
- Access to MAID continues to be out of reach for too many people — including in cases in which publicly funded health care facilities refuse to allow clinicians to provide MAID, denying critically ill patients access to their end-of-life choices.
These barriers to MAID in Canada are inhumane and cruel. They also violate Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms: it is unconstitutional to prohibit or interfere with an eligible person’s access to medical assistance in dying.
Now is the time to demand change
The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed progress on the outcome of Canada’s Parliamentary Review of our assisted dying laws for too long — we need to strengthen our broad movement to break down barriers to access for those that choose an assisted death.
Thanks to sustained advocacy from Canadians who support end-of-life rights, we have already achieved considerable progress.
When Bill C-7 was passed into law in 2021, it expanded MAID access for many people by removing barriers such as the “reasonably foreseeable” requirement as a condition of eligibility and introduced a waiver of final consent for those who risk losing capacity to consent prior to the MAID procedure. These changes were made possible after Dying With Dignity Canada (DWDC) helped tens of thousands of people across Canada made their wishes known to federal decision-makers.
More recently, the Expert Panel on MAID and Mental Illness tabled their final report with recommendations to provide safeguards and protect access to end-of-life choice for people in Canada whose only medical condition is a mental illness.
While the release of this report is welcome news, we need to keep the momentum going for other people in Canada experiencing eligibility or access barriers — we must push for the Parliamentary Review to be completed without any further delays.
Simply put: we cannot allow progress on assisted dying to stall — we must come together to demand that everyone’s end-of-life rights and choices be respected.
Protect end-of-life rights now
The time for fairer access and eligibility is now.
That is why we are calling on people across Canada to join us in the fight for end-of-life rights. By coming together under one movement, we can ensure that Canadians have greater eligibility for and access to medical assistance in dying.
Together, we will demand that the individual end-of-life choices of people across Canada be respected. Join us today.