March 2012, as part of a comprehensive report on Dying With Dignity, the all-party committee of the Quebec National Assembly issued their full report (English version), including recommendations to allow legalized end-of-life choice for individuals suffering greatly at end-of-life.
The government then appointed three expert lawyers to a judicial panel to make recommendations to the government on how to proceed with implementing these recommendations. Their report moves the province one step closer to legalized medical aid-in-dying by the summer of 2013.
The panel recommends that Quebec introduce new health care legislation that will allow specific exemptions to the Criminal Code for doctors who provide medical assistance for someone to die. Any exemption will be contingent on doctors following a strict set of guidelines so that the weak and vulnerable will also be protected.
The guidelines are very similar to those made in the Dying With Dignity Report.
The government of Quebec has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to allow medically-assisted dying following the report of the commission that has been supported by all government parties.
They are now one giant step closer.
The Ménard Report is now on the desk of Québec junior health minister, Veronique Hivon. She says she hopes to draft legislation for medical aid in dying and put it before the Québec National Assembly before summer.
According to the Montreal Gazette Hivon explained Quebec is dealing with death as a medical issue, falling within provincial jurisdiction over health care, and said palliative care, offering end-of-life care and drugs to ease the pain “is the best solution for most people.”
But Quebec will set the rules for patients, who must give their consent before refusing medical treatment, interrupting medical treatment or seeking medical assistance to die.
AQDMD published their position in this paper.
Further useful comment by Michael Cook in Bioedge.org.