The Liberal government is delaying the expansion of medical assistance in dying (MAiD) for people solely suffering from a mental illness until 2027.
Health Minister Mark Holland and Justice Minister Arif Virani made the announcement on Thursday morning, while discussing new legislation to formalize the delay. This legislation includes a provision for a parliamentary review of readiness for the expansion in 2026.
On Monday, Holland announced a pause on the planned expansion of MAiD that had been set to happen this spring for people with a mental health condition being the sole reason for seeking assisted dying. This is in agreement with a report published by a joint-parliamentary committee that was released the same day.
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That comes after then-justice minister David Lametti had already paused the expansion last year until March 2024. Any further delay needs to have accompanying legislation.
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Following Monday’s announcement, most provinces and all the territories health ministers sent a joint letter to Holland calling for an indefinite pause to the expansion.
Holland maintains that the expansion of MAiD to people suffering solely from mental health issues will only go ahead once provincial and territorial health systems are ready. In his conversations with them, the minister says no one was saying they were ready for the expansion.
Conservative MPs and senators on the parliamentary committee that urged the delay on Monday said in a dissenting report that it would be “reckless and dangerous” for the Liberal government to allow the scheduled change to take place in March.
They are asking the Liberals to abandon the expansion altogether.
More to come…
With files from The Canadian Press and Global News’ Sean Boynton.
© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.