April 25th, 2024

Bill delaying expansion of assisted dying eligibility until 2027 poised to become law

By The Canadian Press on February 29, 2024.

Minister of Health Mark Holland rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. The Senate has passed a Liberal government bill delaying the expansion of medical assistance in dying until 2027. Holland says all territories and nearly all provinces told him they weren't ready for the expansion and has asked for more time.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA – A Liberal government bill delaying the expansion of medical assistance in dying eligibility until 2027 is poised to become law after passing in the Senate.

Access to the procedure was set to widen within weeks to include those seeking it solely on the basis of a mental disorder.

The government moved to delay that expansion after a parliamentary committee recommended it, saying the country was not ready to move ahead.

Health Minister Mark Holland also says most provinces and territories told him they weren’t ready for the expansion and asked for more time.

Critics say there is no clear way of telling whether someone’s mental suffering will improve or how to distinguish between the desire for an assisted death and suicidal ideation.

Those who want eligibility to be widened say people with mental illness deserve the same access to an assisted death as those who have intolerable physical pain.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 29, 2024.

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