Getting closer to an assisted-death law
In its famous 2015 Carter decision, the Supreme Court of Canada decriminalized physician-assisted death but kept the existing ban in place for a year, ordering the Federal Government to enact a new law.
In January (as summarized in a thorough article in Lawyers Weekly), the Supreme Court heard a Federal Government application for an extension and granted it, somewhat reluctantly.
In the result, which lasts until June, any person who meets certain criteria may apply for an exemption from the Criminal Code’s blanket prohibition of assisted death (temporarily in force until the new law is enacted).
It might be called an interim application, for permission to be helped by a doctor to die.
The “criteria” to meet to qualify for the exemption include that the applicant must be competent, and must be suffering from a grievous, irremediable medical condition that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the applicant in the circumstances of their condition.
Though some people have apparently contacted Lawyers in various parts of Canada to make an application, it will be difficult to bring. The issues will be complex and numerous in most, if not all, cases.
Nonetheless, fairly soon, we will see in Canada a legal framework set for a person to take steps, by their choosing, to end their life.
This ad ran in the Richmond News on February 5, 2016.