Canada delays approval of euthanasia for people with mental illness by one year

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (REUTERS/Blair Gable) (BLAIR GABLE/)

The Canadian government announced Thursday that will delay the extension of euthanasia for one year so that people who exclusively suffer from mental illnesses access to death with medical assistance.

Canada’s Minister of Justice, david lamettijustified the decision today during a press conference by stating that the Government needed more time to “get it right” on an issue that is “sensitive and complex.”

Lametti added that the delay will allow the completion of various studies that are being carried out to assess the consequences of euthanasia in patients with mental illnesses.

The Government’s decision means that the Canadian Parliament has to approve the modification of the law that currently regulates death with medical assistance, or euthanasia.

The Executive is sure that the new law will get the support of the majority of Parliament.

Canada's Minister of Justice, David Lametti, justified the decision (REUTERS/Carlos Osorio)
Canada’s Minister of Justice, David Lametti, justified the decision (REUTERS/Carlos Osorio) (CARLOS OSORIO/)

The law in force states that theto people who exclusively suffer from mental illnesses, and who meet a series of requirements, could opt for euthanasia as of March 17, 2023. Now, that date has been pushed back to the March 17, 2024.

Canada’s Minister of Health, Jean Yves Duclossaid in a statement that the delay will allow people who advise the application of euthanasia, and those who have to put it into practice, “are prepared and feel comfortable with euthanasia for people living with mental illness.”

Medically assisted dying, or euthanasia, was initially approved in Canada in 2016. But three years later, courts struck down the legislation because it limited euthanasia to people whose death was reasonably foreseeable.

In March 2021, the Canadian Parliament passed a new law that removed that limitation and noted that in March 2023 euthanasia would be available to people suffering from mental illness.

(With information from EFE)

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