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Quebec bill to expand MAiD tabled but not passed – The World Federation of Right to Die Societies Skip to content

Quebec bill to expand MAiD tabled but not passed

Minister tabled Bill 38

On Wednesday May 25, the Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé tabled a bill (38) that would allow people with Alzheimer’s, for example, to make an early request for medical assistance in dying (MAID). Bill 38 is called: An Act to amend the Act respecting end-of-life care and other legislative provisions. The long-awaited bill takes up most of the recommendations made last December by the special all-party commission on the evolution of the Act Respecting End-of-Life Care.

But it contains a provision that was not included in the commission’s work: the extension of MAID to people with severe neuromotor impairment, such as quadriplegia. “With neuromotor disorders, there is also the question of suffering,” said Dubé in a press briefing, saying that he wanted to harmonize the Quebec legislation with that of the federal government.

This last-minute addition has “complicated enormously” the adoption of the bill, Parti Quebécois (PQ) MNA Véronique Hivon warned Wednesday. She believes that the minister is opening up “a whole other area” that has never been debated in Quebec, and that it will be difficult to debate it properly with only nine days left in the legislature. “This is not a trivial choice for the minister, and I must tell you that I wonder, really, why he came up with this.”

Minister removed section on severe neuromotor disabilities from Bill 38

On Thursday May 26, Christian Dubé announced that he was withdrawing the section concerning the eligibility of people with severe neuromotor disabilities, such as quadriplegia. This change comes less than 24 hours after the bill was introduced. The minister explained that he had heard the concerns of the opposition parties, and that he was withdrawing the section on disabilities in order not to cause the bill to “slip.”

Minister decided that adopting the bill now is too early

On Thursday June 9, minister Dubé held a press conference at the National Assembly flanked by members of the opposition parties, who all agreed not adopting the bill in its current form was the best decision. “This is so critical when you deal with life and death,” he said. “We made a good call today. This is the important call for Quebecers and we will be back with the bill.”

With one day left in the parliamentary session, the Quebec government is not moving forward with its bill to expand access to medical assistance in dying (MAID). The opposition parties had accused Health Minister Christian Dubé of dragging his feet by tabling the bill so late in the parliamentary session without adequate time for proper debate on all the complexities of the proposed legislation. 

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