The federal government is looking for public input as they prepare to put new assisted suicide regulations into place.
“On September 11, 2019, the Superior Court of Québec found (Truchon v. Attorney General of Canada) that it was unconstitutional to limit access to [assisted suicide] to people nearing the end of life,” the Department of Justice said.
“The Court’s ruling will come into effect on March 11, 2020, unless an extension is granted by the Court.”
As a result of this ruling, which only applies in Quebec, the Canadian government has said they will work with other provinces to redesign the rules around assisted suicide.
To receive assisted suicide, which the government calls “medical assistance in dying,” Canadians need to pass several eligibility criteria and pass certain safeguards which the system uses to avoid abuse.
In order to consult with Canadians, the government has created a survey to ask the public how they feel about current assisted suicide safeguards.
The survey asked Canadians about current requirements like psychological evaluation and the 10-day reflection period prior to assisted death.
The survey also asks for one’s opinion on a hypothetical situation where a person is unable to give final consent immediately before the procedure, but had given consent at a previous date.
Assisted suicide laws in Canada are relatively new, with the practice only becoming legal in 2016 after the Supreme Court ruled that the prohibition on assisted suicide violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The legitimacy of the ruling that legalized assisted suicide was put into question in November 2019, when it was alleged that the judge who decided the case at the provincial level was connected to one of plaintiffs in the case.
It was also alleged that then-chief justice Beverley McLachlin had a personal bias in favour of legalizing assisted suicide.
When activist Roger Foley filed these allegations with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court they were dismissed without a reason given. None of these allegations have been tested in court to date.
The Department of Justice says that since the legalization of assisted suicide 6,700 Canadians have committed suicide with the help of a doctor or nurse practitioner.
The consultation survey closes on Monday, January 27.