Year: 2022 Source: Ottawa, ON: Government of Canada. (2022). 128 p. SIEC No: 20220931
On March 17, 2021, Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying) received Royal Assent and came into force. This Bill amended Canada’s original 2016 MAiD legislation, Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying). The effect of Bill C-7 was to extend eligibility for medical assistance in dying (MAiD) to individuals with a grievous and irremediable medical condition whose natural death is not reasonably foreseeable and to add certain legislative safeguards for this group of requesters. Bill C-7 temporarily excludes, until March 17, 2023, eligibility for individuals with a mental illness as their sole underlying medical condition. To support an objective and informed approach to the issue, Bill C-7 required the Minister of Health and the Minister of Justice to initiate an independent expert review “respecting recommended protocols, guidance and safeguards to apply to requests for medical assistance in dying by persons who have a mental illness.” The Expert Panel on MAiD and Mental Illness (the Panel) was formed in August 2021 to undertake this review. The Panel’s Terms of Reference (Appendix A), indicated that its role was not to debate whether or not persons with a mental illness as their sole underlying medical condition should be eligible for MAiD.  Nonetheless, the Panel considered very carefully the concerns of researchers, clinicians and stakeholders who question the advisability of allowing access to MAiD by individuals with mental illness.