Policy Bulletin 694

Policy Bulletin

Number: 694

In Effect: 2022-11-21

Related links:

Guidelines (GL) 800-9 – Medical Assistance in Dying

Policy numbers and titles:

Guidelines (GL) 800-9 – Medical Assistance in Dying

Why was the policy changed?

On March 17, 2021, Bill C-7 received Royal Assent, requiring changes to the Criminal Code of Canada’s (“Criminal Code”) provisions on medical assistance in dying (“MAID”). The changes pertain to who is eligible to receive MAID and the assessment process. 

What has changed?

(a) Paragraph 14(b)(iv) of GL 800-9, requiring an individual’s natural death to be “reasonably foreseeable” in order for them to be eligible for MAID, is repealed (consequently, the definition of “grievous and irremediable medical condition” in Annex A no longer includes the criteria stated in paragraph 14(b)(iv));

(b) As of March 17, 2023, individuals whose sole underlying medical condition is a mental illness will be eligible for MAID if they meet all the other eligibility requirements;

(c) The requirement for two (2) independent witnesses stated in paragraph 11 is replaced with one (1) independent witness;

(d) The requirement for a minimum 10-day reflection period between the approval of a MAID request and receiving MAID for individuals whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable is repealed;

(e) MAID may be provided to an eligible individual whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable and who has lost the capacity to consent before MAID is provided, on the basis of a prior written agreement the individual entered into with the practitioner;

(f) For individuals whose natural death is not reasonably foreseeable, there must be a period of at least ninety (90) clear days from the date of the first assessment where the person is deemed  eligible to the day that MAID is provided to them; however, this period can be shortened if the individual is about to lose the capacity to make health care decisions.

How was it developed?

The Guidelines were updated by the Health Services Sector in consultation with Legal Services and the Strategic Policy Division.

Who will be affected by the policy?

Staff and contractors involved in the MAID process or in providing health care services to individuals requesting MAID.

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