After the Quebec Tribunal in September declared the requirement in the Canadian Criminal Code, that there must be a reasonably foreseeable natural death, unconstitutional, the Quebec government says it won’t appeal to this court ruling.
In a decision rendered last month, Quebec Superior Court Justice Christine Baudouin ruled in favour of two Quebecers struck by incurable degenerative diseases who had argued both the federal and provincial laws were too restrictive. Baudouin ruled invalid the Criminal Code requirement that a natural death be “reasonably foreseeable” before someone can be eligible for assisted death as well as the provincial requirement that people “be at the end of life.” The plaintiffs in the case, Nicole Gladu and Jean Truchon, had argued the provisions led to their requests under the law being denied. Baudouin suspended the application of the judgment for six months to give federal and provincial legislators a chance to modify the laws, granting an exemption to Gladu and Truchon to seek medical aid in dying during this period if they satisfy other legal conditions. The judge wrote that the laws in place had deprived them of the right to have “a dignified and serene death.”
In a news conference on the 3rd of Oktober, Justice Minister Sonia LeBel and Health Minister Danielle McCann told they have not decided whether the contested section of the Quebec law will be redrafted, adding that the government will separately study broadening access to the procedure.
Statement of Quebec’s physicians college
This news came after two days earlier Quebec’s medical professionals (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, notaries and social workers) asked the government not to appeal the landmark ruling that would expand patients’ access to medically assisted death. “We must move forward for the good of the patients”, said Mauril Gaudreault, the president of Quebec’s physicians college, in a statement released Tuesday the 1st of Oktober.
Both Quebec and Canada have 30 days after the ruling to appeal the decision. If they don’t, they’ll have just over five months to amend the Criminal Code and provincial legislation to strike down ‘foreseeable natural death’ as a prerequisite for medical assistance in dying.