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Monday, March 22, 2021

Updates in place for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)

The federal government has now made some of the anticipated changes to the Medical Assistance in Dying law. The challenge has been to make the procedure more accessible to those who need and want it while maintaining safeguards against abuse. Here are the highlights of the changes:

1. There was previously a requirement that the death of the person who wanted to have MAID must be reasonably foreseeable. That pretty much restricted it to people who had a terminal diagnosis of one kind or another. That requirement has been removed.

2. If the person's death is reasonably foreseeable, there is no longer a 10-day waiting period. 

3. Also in the case where a person's death is reasonably foreseeable, the witness requirement (to the consent) has been reduced from two witnesses down to one.

4. If the person's death is NOT reasonably foreseeable, he or she must speak with care providers to ensure that he or she is aware of other options for relieving his or her suffering. 

5. Also, if a person's death is NOT reasonably foreseeable, there is a 90-day waiting period after he or she is first assessed for MAID.

6. Under the old legislation, a person had to give final consent to  MAID immediately before accepting the procedure. The change to this provision is that now if a person has given consent to MAID but later loses capacity to give that final consent, the original consent is not removed. 

7. Currently  a person who suffers only from mental illness and no physical illness is not eligible for MAID. This part of the legislation is still in progress and we are told that we should see something in this regard within 24 months.

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