Two years in, critics say medically assisted dying laws still need work

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It’s been nearly two years since the Federal Government passed Bill C-14 allowing for medical assistance in dying (MAiD), and one non-profit group argues the legislation still needs work.

CEO of Dying with Dignity Canada Shanaaz Gokool says many people are still excluded from the law.

READ MORE: Fighting to die: is medically assisted death criteria too vague?

“People who would like to make an advanced request, should they have a diagnosis like dementia, they are completely excluded from this legislation,” she said.

Also excluded are minors under 18, and anyone suffering from long term mental illness. Gokool said her group believes those exclusions are unconstitutional, and that they aren’t ready to give up on changing them.

READ MORE: Delta hospices say they want no part in medically assisted deaths

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“We will continue to have these exclusions unless the government surprises us all and legislates with courage and compassion. Otherwise we will might be looking at different types of court challenges.”

She said a report outlining possible changes to the legislation is due to be tabled in the House of Commons by the end of the year.

READ MORE: B. C. plaintiff in legal challenge to Canada’s assisted dying laws dies

Gokool says between 3,500 and 4,000 people have exercised their right to medically assisted dying since the legislation was approved.

Between Jan. 1, 2016 and Aug. 31, 2017, 631 medically assisted deaths took place in B.C.

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