March 1st, 2024

Quebec wants Criminal Code exemption so people can request MAID in advance

By The Canadian Press on February 7, 2024.

Quebec Minister for Seniors Sonia Belanger announces a program to help seniors homes in Quebec City on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024. Quebec is asking the federal government to change the Criminal Code so it can begin allowing people to request medical assistance in dying before their condition renders them incapable of giving consent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

Quebec is asking the federal government to change the Criminal Code so the province can begin allowing people to request medical assistance in dying before their condition renders them incapable of giving consent.

The province’s minister for seniors, Sonia Bélanger, who is responsible for the file, says she wants Ottawa make an exemption in the law specifically for Quebec.

She told reporters in Quebec City that people are waiting to request a medically assisted death and are growing concerned.

Quebec passed legislation last year allowing people who have serious and incurable illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s, to ask for MAID while they have the capacity to provide consent, with the procedure being carried out after their condition has worsened.

But Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette says a change is still needed in the federal Criminal Code so health professionals aren’t committing a crime if they end the life of someone who can no longer give their consent.

Quebec says a federal law related to medical assistance in dying that was introduced last week could be amended to allow advanced requests in the province.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2024.

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