Advance Requests – Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)

Some of you may be following Audrey Parker’s heartbreaking story in the media. My heart goes out to Audrey and her family. And I commend Audrey for her advocacy.

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) was an arduous piece of legislation to pass. As you can imagine, it was extremely complicated to study and move forward, for many reasons.

The legislation was passed without including advance requests at this time. Something specifically that Audrey was advocating for.

When the Committee studied MAID, the testimony of witnesses offered diverging opinions. The testimony for advanced requests had many suggestions on both sides. And some testimony suggested ways of moving forward with its inclusion.

Some organizations like the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, specifically wanted to see advanced consent not permitted for anyone suffering from dementia. And there are other groups with similar views for other conditions which lead to further concern, and the importance of getting it right.

Where we’re at right now-

The Council of Canadian Academies, a federally funded, independent, not-for-profit organization is doing a review on advance requests, as per the legislation.

The final reports on these reviews will be tabled in Parliament and available to the public by December 2018.

The reports will not provide recommendations. Instead, they will:
•summarize the relevant evidence on the diverse perspectives and issues surrounding medical assistance in dying in 3 circumstances
•facilitate an informed, evidence-based dialogue among Canadians and decision makers.

This report will be considered as the government looks to future amendments to this law.

I’d like you to know that I’ll be following up with the Minister of Health and the Minister of Justice on this once the report is tabled.

I’m hopeful that with further information, we can find a safe way forward for its inclusion.

I have no doubt that there are many folks like Audrey out there, who could benefit from advanced requests.