Medical assistance in dying will be extended to people not at the end of their life
Published Tuesday, January 21, 2020 2:41PM EST Last Updated Tuesday, January 21, 2020 5:33PM EST
MONTREAL -- The Quebec government says it will comply with a court decision striking down parts of the federal and provincial laws on medically assisted death that were deemed too strict.
Quebec Superior Court Justice Christine Baudouin last year invalidated the "reasonably foreseeable natural death" requirement of the Criminal Code and a section the Quebec law that states people must "be at the end of life," which prevented access to medical assistance in dying for some.
Quebec Health Minister Danielle McCann and Justice Minister Sonia LeBel say they won't make any legislative amendments to the provincial law, instead simply dropping the problematic sections.
The province had said it wouldn't appeal the ruling and McCann told a news conference today that eligible patients must still meet five other criteria to qualify for assisted death.
Last September, the court invalidated parts of the federal and provincial laws as unconstitutional and gave governments six months to remedy the situation before the judgment took effect.
The federal government has launched public consultations on how best to respond to the ruling, which takes effect March 11.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the government accepts the Quebec court's ruling and will amend the federal law accordingly.
The case was brought by two Quebec residents -- Nicole Gladu and Jean Truchon -- who did not meet the criteria and had their requests for assisted death turned down by doctors.
Both suffer from incurable degenerative diseases, and lawyers argued the condition that a person's natural death be "reasonably foreseeable" before they can receive medical assistance in dying was overly strict.