Medical Assistance In Dying

Very often when I am helping clients prepare their estate planning documents, the discussion turns to end-of-life planning as well. I am always surprised by the number of people who believe that if they appoint a representative for health care, they can make an advance request for medical assistance in dying (MAID). The fact is, only those people who are mentally competent at the time, and whose death is reasonably foreseeable are eligible. If you end up with dementia, you will not be eligible, even though most people I talk to think that is the most important aspect of MAID.

In September 2019 a Quebec court struck down a provision in the medical assistance in dying law that limits who qualifies for that assistance. The judge said the limitation, requiring the person’s death to be reasonably foreseeable, was unconstitutional. The applicants were two people with painful degenerative diseases, which though incurable, would not kill them imminently. The judge gave the government 6 months to fix the law.

As a result of that Quebec ruling, the federal government is currently doing a survey of what Canadians want in the MAID laws. The survey is available at They have given Canadians until January 27th, 2020 to respond.

Please let the government know your thoughts on this very important matter.

About Maria Holman

I am a lawyer with over 28 years of experience in drawing up wills, trusts and estate plans, helping clients with probate and estate administrations and advising business owners and families about planning for the future. You can find me at Webster Hudson & Coombe LLP in Vancouver, BC
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