Canada must allow advance requests for assisted dying

Unwanted suffering is wrong

This past March, Bill C-7 — which includes key amendments to Canada’s medical assistance in dying (MAID) legislation — became the law of the land.

Many more suffering Canadians, including some of those with neurocognitive conditions like dementia, Parkinson’s, or Huntington’s disease, can access their right to an assisted death if they meet all the requirements. However, many still don’t qualify — and for those not yet diagnosed, the option to make an advance request is not allowed under the law.

Without the option of making an advance request for an assisted death, people who don’t currently qualify for MAID are barred from formalizing a plan that describes a future state of suffering, which, when reached, would give their doctor the go-ahead to provide MAID.

But we all know that life is full of uncertainty. In Canada, everyone should have the right to make informed choices about their end-of-life care — and to have those wishes respected.

Denied the option of making an advance request, countless Canadians continue to live in fear of a possible future catastrophic diagnosis, accident, or injury. This is cruel and inhumane — and wholly unnecessary.

Your end-of-life rights must be respected

The lack of access to advance requests is a critical flaw in our country’s assisted dying legislation — and must be corrected.

In practice, an advance request would allow someone to make a formal request for assisted dying before a diagnosis of a grievous and irremediable condition. If, at some point, this person loses the capacity to make medical decisions for themselves, this formal request would still be honoured.

An advance request could save a person from having to endure years — perhaps even decades — of unwanted and intolerable suffering. For example, an advance request made while a person is of sound mind would ensure the future provision of MAID if that person were to suffer a capacity-threatening event, such as a stroke, aneurysm or catastrophic accident.

For countless Canadians across the country, access to advance requests would mean comfort and peace of mind for whatever the future holds.

With your help, we’re calling on decision-makers to respect all Canadians’ end-of-life rights by supporting advance requests for assisted dying.

Take action today

An overwhelming majority of Canadians (83%) support advance requests for assisted dying. After years of advocating for this option, we are closer than ever to having advance requests permitted under the law.

Right now, a joint committee of Canada’s Members of Parliament and Senators are conducting the long-awaited parliamentary review that will study advance requests, among other complex issues. Now is the time to let our decision-makers know that Canadians want advance requests for assisted dying.

Tell your Member of Parliament that advance requests are critical to giving all Canadians peace of mind — and ensuring compassion, equality and choice at end of life.