Adrian Wyld The Canadian Press Senator Stan Kutcher, Nova Scotia psychiatrist
The Canadian Press in Ottawa
A senator who pushed for people with mental health disorders to be able to request medical assistance in dying (MAID) says the federal government must decide whether it will “allow all Canadians” to choose their care end of life.
Medical assistance in dying has been legal in Canada since 2016 and five years later, an expansion of eligibility criteria was approved to include people whose only medical problem is mental illness.
Senator Stan Kutcher, a psychiatrist from Nova Scotia, spoke in favor of this expansion, which was to come into force in March 2023 before being delayed for a year due to concerns as to the consequences it could have.
A special joint committee of parliamentarians was charged last fall with assessing whether the health care system was ready for this change, and the Liberals must now choose whether or not to move forward with expanding the criteria.
Justice Minister Arif Virani told The Canadian Press last month that he would carefully review the committee's recommendations, opening the door to another delay in the plan to expand the criteria .
Stan Kutcher, who served on the committee, says the courts have ruled that Canadians' requests for medical assistance in dying must be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and that it expects the Attorney General of Canada to “adhere to the Charter”.