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Ottawa Must Allow Advance Requests for Medical Assistance in Dying



Quebecers are in favor of advance requests for medical assistance in dying, and the College wishes for the federal government to authorize them due to the widespread consensus on this matter in Quebec. 

Dr. Mauril Gaudreault, the College’s president, shares his perspective on the subject.

What Are Advance Requests in Quebec?

"In Quebec, there is consensus regarding advance requests that allow individuals suffering from cognitive diseases leading to incapacity, such as Alzheimer’s, to record their wishes while they are still able. To this end, amendments to the Quebec law on medical assistance in dying were adopted nearly a year ago. Making an advance request for MAiD and defining the criteria under which it will be administered is a matter of dignity for the vast majority of patients. These requests aim to reconcile the capacity to consent with the wishes and rights of the individual."

What Is the CMQ’s Position on Advance Requests?

"Our mission is to protect the public by providing quality medicine. Advance requests for MAiD represent a significant step forward for Quebec society, but this mechanism is not currently authorized under the Criminal Code, which falls under federal jurisdiction. It requires amendment."

Why Does the Criminal Code Prevent This Mechanism from Being Implemented in Quebec?

"Under the Criminal Code, a person must be capable of providing consent to receive MAiD just before its administration, unless they have previously benefited from a waiver of final consent. Additionally, the person must suffer from a disease, disability, or condition causing persistent and intolerable physical or psychological suffering that cannot be alleviated under acceptable conditions.

Amendments to Quebec’s law on medical assistance in dying allow for advance requests. When making an advance request, a person diagnosed with a serious and incurable illness leading to incapacity will not need to already suffer from the persistent and intolerable effects of the disease. However, they must specify the circumstances under which MAiD should be administered when the time comes, as well as the degree of physical and psychological suffering to be considered."

Read the French version.

Portrait de Mauril Gaudreault

Dr. Mauril Gaudreault,
College des médecins du Quebec's president

In the course of his duties, he represents the College to political bodies and various partners to ensure its visibility. He ensures that law enforcement services accurately reflect its mission, which is to protect the public by providing quality medicine.