Lawyers push national body to pull support on expanding assisted dying eligibility

OTTAWA — Some lawyers are pushing their national advocacy organization to withdraw support for an update to Canada’s medical assistance in dying system.

The change scheduled for March is set to expand eligibility to people whose only medical condition is a mental disorder.

The Canadian Bar Association previously argued that excluding such patients could violate their rights, but its members are set to debate a resolution next week that seeks to rescind that position.

The Liberal government is facing a decision on whether to forge ahead or try to pass last−minute legislation to delay the expansion, which would earn Conservative and NDP support.

A similar one−year delay was legislated last year to prevent the changes from taking effect, with the government saying medical providers and provinces needed more time to prepare.

Some provinces say they’re still not ready, and Liberal ministers say they plan to take their cues from a parliamentary committee that is set to deliver a report on the issue this week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 29, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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