On September 11 2019, a Quebec judge ruled that parts of both the federal and Quebec assisted dying laws are too restrictive and violate people’s rights. Specifically, Quebec Superior Court Justice Christine Baudouin struck down the controversial “reasonably foreseeable” rule in Canada’s federal assisted dying law, as well as the “end of life” clause in Quebec’s own law. That means that, unless the decision is appealed, these problematic restrictions will no longer be in effect as of March 11, 2020.
The historic decision came after two Montrealers with severe, chronic illnesses challenged both laws for infringing upon their right to access assisted dying. Both had been told that they did not qualify for medical assistance in dying because their natural deaths were not “reasonably foreseeable.”
Thanks are due to the many CUSJ members who worked to improve the existing laws!
- March 4, 2013: Québec tabled historic legislation, Bill 52, in support of better end-of-life care, including the right to medically assisted dying for the grievously ill.
- June 2014: Unitarian Ministers of Canada approved a Policy Statement on the right of a person who is mentally competent and terminally ill to choose the manner and timing of their death and to ask for assistance.
- February 2015: The Supreme Court of Canada in a unanimous decision overturns the law prohibiting doctor assisted death for mentally competent, terminally ill adults, and CUSJ launched a lobby campaign of its own.
- May 2016: Bill C-14 was successfully passed in spring 2014, and CUSJ President Margaret Rao wrote an open letter to CUSJ activists, urging them to write to their MPs to request amendments to the Bill.
- Sept. 2019: The amendments were granted and the legislation vastly improved! Give yourselves a pat on the back!