Medical assistance in dying: Independent reviews
Find out about Parliamentary and expert reviews commissioned on medical assistance in dying, and access reports.
In collaboration with Indigenous Peoples, Health Canada has begun a multi-pillar engagement process on MAID, supporting both Indigenous-led engagement and federally-led activities, including an online engagement tool opening August 17, 2023. Learn more:
The eligibility date for persons whose only underlying medical condition is a mental illness has been postponed to March 17, 2024. Learn more:
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There have been several reviews on topics related to medical assistance in dying. Some of these were required by MAID legislation. These reviews have been conducted by special parliamentary committees and by independent expert groups commissioned by the Government of Canada.
Special joint parliamentary committees have been appointed to conduct specific reviews focused on issues of public importance related to medical assistance in dying.
Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying
In April 2021, Parliament established a Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying made up of Members of Parliament and the Senate. The Committee reviewed the law's provisions and application, as well as important related topics, such as:
- mental illness
- palliative care
- advance requests
- eligibility of mature minors
- the protection of people with disabilities
On June 22, 2022, the Committee released an interim report on medical assistance in dying and mental illness. The Government of Canada issued a response in October 2022.
The Committee's final report was tabled in Parliament on February 15, 2023. The Government of Canada issued a response to this final report in June 2023.
Learn more about:
- Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying
- Medical Assistance in Dying and Mental Disorder as the Sole Underlying Condition: An Interim Report (June 2022)
- Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada: Choices for Canadians (Final report) (February 2023)
- Government Response to the First Report of the Special Joint Committee on MAID (October 2022)
- Government Response to the final report of the Special Joint Committee on MAID (June 2023)
Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying
After the February 2015 Supreme Court of Canada decision in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), a special joint committee was established to:
- consult with the public, experts and stakeholders
- make recommendations on the framework of a federal response on physician-assisted dying that respects:
- the Constitution
- the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- the priorities of people living in Canada
- review the report of the External Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v. Canada and other recent relevant consultation activities and studies
The Committee produced a report with 21 recommendations.
Expert reviews provide independent advice and recommendations on important topics.
Expert Panel on MAID and Mental Illness
As part of the changes made to the legal framework for medical assistance in dying in 2021, the Government of Canada was required to establish the Expert Panel on MAID and Mental Illness.
The panel was asked to make recommendations on protocols, guidance and safeguards to apply to requests for medical assistance in dying by persons who have a mental illness in preparation for such time that eligibility is expanded to this group. This work will help ensure that practitioners can:
- assess these requests safely and compassionately
- base assessments on consistent clinical standards and legal safeguards
The panel's final report was tabled in Parliament on May 13, 2022. Their recommendations will help to develop guidance and resources for safely providing access to MAID for persons with a mental illness.
The temporary exclusion of eligibility for medical assistance in dying when a person's sole underlying medical condition is a mental illness lifts on March 17, 2024. Until then, persons with only a mental illness as their underlying medical condition are not eligible to access medical assistance in dying.
Learn more about:
- Expert Panel on MAID and Mental Illness
- News release: Government of Canada tables the final report of the expert panel on medical assistance in dying and mental illness (May 13, 2022)
- Government of Canada outlines progress towards recommendations made by the Expert Panel on MAID and Mental Illness in their final report (July 26, 2022)
- Medical assistance in dying: Updates to legislation
Council of Canadian Academies reviews
On December 13, 2016, the Government of Canada asked the Council of Canadian Academies to review specific types of requests for medical assistance in dying. These issues were brought up for debate when legislation on medical assistance in dying was being considered by Parliament.
The issues included:
- advance requests
- requests by mature minors
- requests where a mental disorder is the sole underlying medical condition
The Council reviewed evidence including:
- conversations with Indigenous Elders
- Canadian and international academic and policy research
- written submissions from organizations affected by, or involved in, assisted dying
On December 12, 2018, the Council released 3 final reports. These reports do not include recommendations, but continue to help foster an informed, evidence-based dialogue between the public and decision-makers.
Learn more about:
- Reports: Medical Assistance in Dying (Council of Canadian Academies)
- Date modified: