Adoption of the revised Act respecting end-of-life care: expanded medical assistance in dying in Quebec

The National Assembly adopted on Wednesday by a majority the overhaul of the Act respecting end-of-life care, which will make advance requests for medical assistance in dying legal. Be careful, however: eligible people may only have access in two years.

The parliamentarians spoke in the morning on Bill 11 of the Minister for Health Sonia Bélanger, which makes sure to revise the Quebec provisions governing end-of-life care, nine years after the adoption of the first law. in this sense. Only two elected members of the Liberal Party opposed its adoption: Filomena Rotiroti and Linda Caron. Liberal MNA André A. Morin abstained.

The revision of the Act respecting end-of-life care follows the tabling, in 2021, of a transpartisan report encouraging Quebec to admit advance requests. Once in effect, the new legislation will allow Quebecers who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to request assisted death care before their cognitive abilities deteriorate. It will also make people affected by a “serious physical impairment resulting in significant and persistent disabilities” eligible for such care.

Introduced at the last minute, the 24-month deadline granted by Minister Bélanger to set up an advance request process remains. The elected representative of the Coalition avenir Québec, however, clarified on Wednesday that it was a “limit” and not an “objective”.

“I have already stated my desire for a very rapid action plan for implementation,” she told the parliamentary press a few minutes after the adoption of her bill. “We’re going to get into work mode. I really made that promise, and we’re going to get there as soon as possible. »

Last week, the minister explained these new deadlines by saying in an interview that Quebec should align itself with the federal government and the Criminal Code before moving forward. The opposition parties in the National Assembly had in turn reproached him for hiding behind Ottawa.

This time, Ms. Bélanger avoided naming the federal government when asked to list the reasons behind this deadline. “We have to meet the professional orders […], we have to put in place the training programs, we have to train the competent professionals and we have to train them properly,” she said. “We must also create a national register. […] We have a series of clinical tools to develop. »

Relaunched on the need to “tie up” with Ottawa, as she said last week, the minister refused to answer.

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