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Canada: 16,000 petitioners demand advance requests

The Canadian House of Commons was presented with a petition sponsored by MP Brendan Hanley and containing 16,000 signatures demanding recognition of advance requests. As the Canadian population ages and the number of dementia sufferers increases, so too are the demands for advance requests. Indeed, the Alzheimer Society of Canada estimates that by 2030 the number of dementia sufferers will increase by 51% from 2020.

According to a July 2023 Ipsos poll conducted on request by Dignity with Dying Canada, 82% of Canadians would support advance requests from those who are diagnosed with an irremediable condition. Dying with Dignity Canada CEO Helen Long said, “The advance┬árequest lets you say, ‘I know I’m going to get there eventually, but I’m not there yet. But when I get there, that’s what I want to happen.”

Canada currently does not recognise the right to MAID via advance request despite a parliamentary Special Joint Committee on MAID in February 2023 recommending that the Government of Canada allow advance requests, “following a diagnosis of a serious and incurable medical condition, disease or disorder leading to incapacity.” In June, however, the health ministers said that before considering adoption the issue needed further consultation. Currently, Canadian legislation allows someone to request MAID if their death is “reasonably foreseeable” or if they suffer from a “grievious and irremediable condition”.

Read more: Should dementia patients be able to make advance requests for medical assistance in dying? | CBC News