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Government submits bill to delay the expansion of assisted dying

The federal government is seeking to delay the extension of eligibility for assisted dying for people whose only condition is a mental disorder until March 17, 2024.


Justice Minister David Lametti introduced a bill seeking the extension in the House of Commons this morning.


The Liberal government agreed to extend eligibility in its 2021 update to the assisted dying law after senators amended the bill, arguing that excluding people with mental illness would violate their rights.


The Liberals will now have six weeks to pass new legislation that would add another year to the delay.


Lametti had previously said that he hoped to reach an agreement with other parties and parliamentarians to pass the bill in that short period of time and today he finally announced that thanks to those talks they had the support to pass a one-year delay. Let's listen to Minister Lametti justify the delay of the entry into force of assisted death for people with mental illness.



It is clear that more time is needed for us to get things right and that brings us to today's decision to introduce Bill C39, which proposes the need to delay the expansion of the law by one year so that we can cautiously move forward on this sensitive and complex issue in a prudent manner. It will give us time for our partners in the provinces and territories and specialists in the medical and nursing community to prepare to provide assisted dying in these circumstances. It will also provide time to complete studies on the risks and complexities involved in providing assisted dying to people whose medical condition is mental illness. Protecting the safety of vulnerable people and supporting autonomy and freedom of choice are essential to the assisted dying regime in Canada. We know this is very complex and personal, so it is no surprise that it generates so much debate. Seeking assisted dying is not a decision that is taken lightly.

The justice minister recalled that the law on assisted dying was passed in 2016 after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2015 that it was a right

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