7.5 Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) in Canada

Meaning of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD)

According to the Canadian law (n.d.-a), MAiD is the process whereby a person seeks and obtains medical assistance in ending their life. There are two legal forms of MAiD, both of which involve a medical practitioner (i.e., a physician or nurse practitioner):

Clinician-Administered MAiD: A medical practitioner administers the substance that results in death (e.g., injection of substance).

Self-Administered MAiD: A medical practitioner prescribes or provides a substance that the person then takes in order to end their life.

Click the following link to learn why we use the term medical assistance in dying in Canada:

Language Matters: Why We Use the Term ‘Medical Assistance in Dying

Canadian MAiD Legislation

A photo of the Supreme court of Canada building in Ottawa. No people are present in the photo.
Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa.

On June 17, 2016, Bill C-14 received royal assent, making medical assistance in dying (MAiD) legal in Canada (Canada, n.d.-b). This legislative change was the result of the Supreme Court of Canada ruling in Carter v. Canada (2015). In their ruling the Supreme Court stated that Canadian “law must permit some form of physician-assisted dying” (Canada, n.d.-b, para. 6). The Court gave the government 12 months to rewrite the law. In January 2016, that deadline was extended by four months. At that time, the Supreme Court also granted an exemption that allowed people to access MAiD by applying to the Superior Court in their jurisdiction, until the new law came into force (Canada, n.d.-b).

Various amendments have been made to the MAiD legislation since enacted. The most recent changes occurred on March 17, 2021, when the Parliament of Canada (2021) passed  the revised MAiD legislation. The key changes in the new legislation relate to: eligibility criteria; the assessment process; procedural safeguards; advance requests; and reporting/monitoring/analysis (Parliament of Canada, 2021; Dying with Dignity Canada, n.d.-a).

Click the following links to learn more about MAID in Canada:

Canada’s New Medical Assistance in Dying Law

Get the Facts: Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying Law

Medical Assistance in Dying


Click the following link to learn about opposition to Canadian MAiD legislation: 

How can Canada Safeguard those Marginalized by Society as MAiD Expands?



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On Death and Dying (Original) Copyright © 2022 by Jacqueline Lewis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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