Patients might have to wait up to 2 years for advance MAID requests
It could take two years after the adoption of Quebec's bill on medical aid in dying (MAID) before advance requests can be made, meaning people diagnosed with Alzheimer's will have to be patient.
Minister for Seniors Sonia Bélanger explained that time was needed to bring the new version of the bill in line with other legislation.
"We have to do things properly. We have work to do within our government and our ministry to support people properly," she explained. "Of course, we would have liked it to be quick. We understand that some people may be disappointed."
The detailed study of the bill on medical aid in dying has been completed. Parliamentarians still hope to have it adopted by the end of the session on June 9.
"I am confident that the vast majority will be in favour," she said.
DEPENDING ON PEOPLE'S WISHES
The bill will also amend the original MAID Act to allow people to receive end-of-life care wherever they wish.
This amendment follows revelations in 'La Presse' about funeral homes offering assisted dying.
Section 4 of the Medical Aid in Dying Act states that a person may request end-of-life care "in a facility maintained by an institution, on the premises of a palliative care home or at home."
The term 'institution' includes "any institution governed by the act respecting health services and social services that operates a local community service centre, a hospital centre or a residential and long-term care centre."
"We are adding a fourth option: according to the wishes of the person," the minister explained.
However, this practice will be regulated.
The bill now stipulates that "no person may promote or advertise a good or service provided as part of a commercial activity by associating it directly or indirectly with medical aid in dying."
Nor will it be possible to charge fees -- for example, for hiring a room -- to offer MAID.
In addition, the chosen location will need to be approved by a director of professional services or the director of nursing.
PQ MNA Joel Arseneau, for his part, still has reservations about the idea of allowing MAID to be offered in any location.
"I'm uneasy about the fact that we were unable to hold full consultations on this issue (...) It's a minimum, but we'll have to remain vigilant because there is indeed an opening," he said.
Quebec Solidaire's Christine Labrie said she was deeply uneasy when she learned that the MAID could be offered in funeral homes. She now says she is satisfied with the amendments.
"There are some important safeguards that have just been put in place, notably that no one is going to make money out of this," she said.
Liberal MNA Elisabeth Prass said she is comfortable with the framework, but was critical of the time limit for early applications.
"So there are people who are fit today who, in 24 months' time, may no longer be fit and therefore will no longer be able to make an early application. There has been a certain amount of disappointment in this regard," she said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 31, 2023.