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Liberals set to introduce law delaying expansion of medically assisted dying regime

Extension of eligibility to people whose sole underlying condition is a mental illness at issue
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The federal government is introducing a law as early as this week to delay the expansion of its medically assisted dying regime to people whose sole underlying condition is a mental disorder. Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti rises during Question Period, Tuesday, January 31, 2023 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The federal government is expected to introduce a law as early as Thursday to delay the extension of medically assisted dying eligibility to people whose sole underlying condition is a mental disorder.

Justice Minister David Lametti announced in December that Ottawa intended to seek the delay after hearing concerns the health-care system might not be prepared for an expanded regime, but he did not offer a timeline on the length of the delay.

An update to assisted dying law that passed in 2021 put a two-year clock on the extension of eligibility that runs out in March.

The Liberal government did not originally plan for that law to extend assisted dying eligibility to people whose sole underlying condition is a mental illness, but it approved a Senate amendment to do so.

Senators argued that excluding people with mental illness would conflict with their Charter right to equal treatment.

Conservative MP Michael Cooper says the government’s decision to seek a delay underscores its “reckless approach” to expanding the regime, and he says Liberals should scrap the expansion entirely.





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