A recent article written by Kathleen Harris with the CBC – “Frustrated widow wants Liberals to expand assisted dying rules 2 years after landmark decision” – outlines some of the challenges to Canada’s new assisted dying legislation. It highlights the case of John Schreurs, who travelled to Switzerland to end his life because he did not qualify under Canada’s new law.
Mr. Schreurs had suffered from Huntington’s disease for more than 6 years at the time of his death. He did not qualify for assisted dying under Canadian legislation because the law requires a “reasonably foreseeable” death. Instead, he travelled to Zurich, Switzerland where he died on September 8, 2016, with the assistance of Dignitas.
As the article notes, Canada’s legislation limits assisted death to mentally competent adults who have serious and incurable illness, disease or disability where death is imminent. The law excludes some of the most controversial recommendations from a parliamentary committee that studied the issue, including extending the right to die to “mature minors” and the mentally ill, and allowing advance consent for patients with degenerative disorders.
Julia Lamb, a B.C. woman with spinal muscular atrophy, and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association recently launched a legal challenge of the new law, arguing it is too narrow; too many Canadians are excluded because of the requirement that a person’s death be reasonably foreseeable.
The full article can be found at – http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/assisted-death-carter-schreurs-1.3970804.