Healthcare Policy

Healthcare Policy 15(2) November 2019 : 28-38.doi:10.12927/hcpol.2019.26073
Research Paper

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) in Canada: A Critical Analysis of the Exclusion of Vulnerable Populations

Ricarda M. Konder and Timothy Christie

Abstract

Canadian medical assistance in dying (MAiD) legislation was introduced in 2016. Although Bill C-14 attempted to balance patient autonomy and the protection of the vulnerable, recent court challenges suggest that an ideal balance has not been achieved. Numerous advocacy initiatives as well as a parliamentary review currently focus on three specific populations: mature minors, patients requesting MAiD via an advance directive and patients with a mental illness as the sole underlying condition.

This article approaches these issues from an ethical and legal lens. We first outline a policy review on existing MAiD legislation in 11 jurisdictions. We then use the Oakes test (a critical assessment tool in the Carter v Canada case) to determine whether the restrictions on the three above-mentioned groups are consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Finally, we consult our literature review to propose reasonable solutions that would be more consistent with the Charter.

 

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