It was expected that the program eligibility would be expanded to include mental illness on March 17, 2023.
However, on December 15, 2022, the Canadian Minister of Justice, Minister of Health and Minister of Mental Health and Addictions put out a joint statement announcing that they “believe” the date to include mental illness as the “sole condition” to be eligible for the MAID program “needs to be temporarily delayed”.
The joint statement stated that “There is no doubt that medical assistance in dying (MAID) is a complex and deeply personal issue. We are committed to ensuring our laws reflect Canadians’ evolving needs, protect those who may be vulnerable, and support autonomy and freedom of choice.”
“Under the current MAID law, eligibility for MAID will be expanded to persons whose sole medical condition is a mental illness as of March 17, 2023. Listening to experts and Canadians, we believe this date needs to be temporarily delayed.”
“Delaying eligibility for persons whose sole medical condition is a mental illness would allow more time for dissemination and uptake of key resources by the medical and nursing communities.”
“For these reasons, today we are letting Canadians know that our government intends to work with our parliamentary colleagues in the House of Commons and the Senate to negotiate an extension of the March 17, 2023 eligibility date. This will require the introduction of legislation when the House of Commons and Senate returns in January.”
They ended the joint statement stating that they “remain committed to ensuring that any person who meets the eligibility criteria is able to have their MAID request considered in a fair, safe and consistent manner, no matter where they are located in Canada.”