On June 17, 2016, Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Criminal
Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical
assistance in dying), received Royal Assent. Those interested
in or affected by medical assistance in dying ("MAID")
should take note that the Bill sets out a number of eligibility
requirements which must be met in order for an individual to
qualify for and receive MAID.
Eligible for Health
Services: The individual must be eligible for health
services funded by a Canadian government agency. This requirement
generally disqualifies visitors to Canada, though those who would
be eligible for Canadian health services but have yet to meet a
minimum waiting period or minimum period of residence are eligible
for MAID, provided they meet all other requirements.
individual must be competent, in that they are able to make their
own health care decisions.
individual must be at least 18 years old.
Grievous and Irremediable
Medical Condition: The individual must have a
"grievous and irremediable" medical condition, which
the condition is serious and
the individual is in an advanced
state of irreversible decline in capability;
the condition or state of decline
causes the individual enduring and intolerable physical or
the individual's suffering cannot
be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable;
the individual's natural death
has become reasonably foreseeable, taking into account all medical
request for MAID must be voluntary, and must not be a result of any
The individual must provide their informed consent after having
been informed of other means of relief, including palliative
Constitutional Challenge to Bill C-14
A constitutional challenge launched on June 27, 2016 by the
British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and an individual
named Julia Lamb seeks to challenge the eligibility requirements.
Ms. Lamb, a Chilliwack resident, suffers from spinal muscular
atrophy. While the neurodegenerative disease is progressive and
causes her enduring and intolerable suffering, Ms. Lamb's
condition is not "grievous and irremediable" since her
natural death is not reasonably foreseeable. The outcome of this
challenge has yet to be determined.
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