As the House of Commons debates the government’s response to the Senate amendments to Bill C-7, responding to the Quebec Superior Court’s Truchon-Gladu decision, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) continues to call for a cautious, phased-in approach to broadening access for medical assistance in dying. Such caution is needed to ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place and a consistent pan-Canadian framework is established.
Certain issues captured in the Senate’s amendments, such as broadening criteria to include individuals whose sole underlying condition is mental illness or advance requests from those suffering from neurological conditions are very complex. And while there is a need for clarity on these issues and other outstanding questions, the CMA advances that these questions should be addressed as part of the mandated parliamentary review, including the review of safeguard protocols, rather than through the current legislative process.
Moving forward, the CMA is committed to working closely with Parliament during the mandated review to continue consideration of three key issues: access is not impeded, and that the protection of vulnerable patients and the respect of personal convictions of health care providers are upheld.
Dr. Ann Collins