OTTAWA – More than a year after the Supreme Court struck down Canada’s ban on assisted suicide, the federal government will introduce today a new law spelling out the conditions in which seriously ill or dying Canadians may seek medical help to end their lives.
The proposed law will not be as permissive as recommended by a special joint parliamentary committee, which urged that few obstacles be put in front of Canadians who want a doctor’s help to end their suffering.
It is expected to say only competent adults should be eligible to receive medical aid in dying.
It will not allow people diagnosed with degenerative, competence-eroding conditions like dementia to make advance requests for medical help to die. Nor is it expected to extend the right to an assisted death to so-called mature minors under the age of 18.
It is also expected to tread warily around the right of people with mental illnesses to seek doctor-assisted death.
The government is likely to promise to consider those controversial issues in a review of the legislation in a few years.