OTTAWA — The federal government has reintroduced legislation to amend Canada’s law on medical assistance in dying, just two months before a court-imposed deadline.
The government has until Dec. 18 to amend the law to comply with a Quebec court ruling last fall, which found it was unconstitutional to allow only those whose natural death is “reasonably foreseeable” to be able to get medical help to end their suffering.
Justice Minister David Lametti introduced a bill in response to that ruling last February but it didn’t get beyond the initial stage of the legislative process before the House of Commons adjourned in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That bill died when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prorogued Parliament last month.
The government now has just two months to get the new bill, which is identical to the one introduced last winter, through both the Commons and the Senate.
The bill scraps reasonably foreseeable death as a requirement for an assisted death but retains the concept to set out easier eligibility rules for those who are near death and more stringent rules for those who aren’t.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 5, 2020.
The Canadian Press