Canadian Medical Association

As the federal government kicks off consultations on renewing its assisted dying law, the CMA has launched a member survey, to ensure the voice of the medical profession is represented.        

A recent court ruling in Quebec and a mandatory review are both factors triggering potential updates to Canada’s medical assistance in dying (MAiD) legislation in 2020.

In September 2019, the Quebec Superior Court struck down a portion of the federal assisted-dying law (Bill C-14) that requires patients’ deaths to be “reasonably foreseeable,” deeming it unconstitutional.  Two patients with degenerative diseases started the legal challenge, arguing the criteria for MAiD eligibility was too narrow.  

The Quebec court has given the federal government until March 11, 2020 to deal with the legal implications.

Bill C-14 also requires the federal government to conduct a legislative review of MAiD. It has been studying three areas of MAiD identified in the original legislation as needing further review: requests by mature minors, advance requests and requests where a mental disorder is the sole underlying medical condition.

The federal government commissioned an independent review by the Council of Canadian Academies. The group released three reports in December 2018 — one on each type of request — that could inform future policy decisions.

In order to respond to these latest developments and any future legislative changes, the CMA is actively participating in the federal review process. The CMA is asking members to complete a survey, opening on January 13, on several of these issues:

  • The reasonably foreseeable death eligibility criterion for MAiD;
  • Conscientious objection to and conscientious participation in MAiD;
  • MAiD eligibility through advance requests;
  • MAiD eligibility for mature minors; and
  • MAiD eligibility where a mental disorder is the sole underlying medical condition.

CMA member engagement and input on MAiD policy were critical to the CMA’s advocacy during the enactment of Bill C-14. The results of this 2020 survey will be vital in ensuring the CMA continues to represent the wide range of physician experiences and perspectives on MAiD.

The CMA urges members to check their email for the survey links, and to complete it before Feb. 10. If you have not received the survey, please contact the Member Service Centre at 1-888-855-2555.

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