Medical assistance in dying: Legislation in Canada

The history of Canada's law on medical assistance in dying (MAID) and how it is changing.

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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Canada's law on medical assistance in dying

In February 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Carter v. Canada that parts of the Criminal Code would need to change to satisfy the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The parts that prohibited medical assistance in dying would no longer be valid. The Supreme Court gave the government until June 6, 2016, to create a new law.

In June 2016, Parliament passed federal legislation that allows eligible adults to request medical assistance in dying.

Canada's law on medical assistance in dying legislation has continued to evolve since then.

We're working with provinces, territories and health care professionals to make sure:

Carter v. Canada

Updates to legislation

Former Bill C-7

On October 5, 2020, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada introduced former Bill C-7: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying) in Parliament. This bill proposed changes to Canada's law on medical assistance in dying.

These changes were introduced in response to the Superior Court of Québec's 2019 Truchon decision. The decision found 2 areas of the original 2016 law to be unconstitutional:

The changes were also informed by:

On March 17, 2021, changes to the legislation took effect that:

The revised law also contains new safeguards for eligible people who request medical assistance in dying and whose death is not considered reasonably foreseeable.

Department of Justice: Canada's new medical assistance in dying law

Eligibility of mental illness as a medical condition

On December 15, 2022, the Government of Canada announced our intention to introduce new legislation related to medical assistance in dying. This legislation would seek an extension of the temporary exclusion of eligibility for persons whose sole underlying medical condition is a mental illness.

On February 2, 2023, the Government of Canada introduced this legislation (former Bill C-39), and on March 9, 2023, the Bill received Royal Assent. The temporary exclusion was extended until March 17, 2024, which will allow more time:

Learn more:

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