To link to this article, copy this persistent link:
(Jun 25, 2013) On June 12, 2013, the Parti Québécois Government of Quebec introduced draft legislation entitled "An Act Respecting End-of-Life Care" (Bill 52, 40th legislature, 1st session, Assemblée Nationale Québec). Bill 52 aims to redefine the rights of patients who have serious illnesses and their options for end-of-life care treatments. Among the treatment options, the bill proposes including the right of a patient to receive terminal palliative sedation (id, § 25) and the right of a patient to obtain medical aid in dying (id. § 26).
According to some commentators, if the draft legislation passes, it will essentially legalize euthanasia in Canada and provide patients with "the most radical end-of-life options of any jurisdiction in North America" (Quebec Tables Euthanasia Bill, THE GLOBE AND MAIL (last updated June 12, 2013)).
The draft bill was presented to the National Assembly of Quebec on June 12 by its sponsor, the Minister for Social Services and Youth Protection, Véronique Hivon. Following the granting of leave to introduce the bill by the leading opposition party, the President of the Assembly confirmed that the draft legislation will be introduced in the Assembly (Votes and Proceedings of the Assembly, 43:65 JOURNAL DES DÉBATS (HANSARD) OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY (June 12, 2013) [in French]).
Proposed Amendments of Current Law
If adopted, the proposed legislation will amend certain provisions of four key pieces of
- Civil Code of Quebec (R.S.Q., c C 1991);
- Medical Act (R.S.Q., c M-9, Sept. 20, 2012);
- Code of Civil Procedure (R.S.Q., c C-25); and
- An Act Respecting Health Services and Social Services (R.S.Q., c S-4.2).
The most notable provision that the bill will affect is section 31 of the Medical Act. Currently section 31 defines the practice of medicine as consisting of "assessing and diagnosing any deficiency in health and in preventing and treating illness to maintain or restore the health of a person in interaction with his environment." Bill 52 proposes to include "administering the drug or substance allowing an end-of-life patient to obtain medical aid in dying under the Act respecting end-of-life care" in the definition of the practice of medicine. (Bill 52, supra.)
At present, under the Criminal Code of Canada, assisted suicide is criminally sanctioned. A person guilty of the offense is liable to be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years (Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46, § 241). Although criminal law is under the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada (Constitution Act, 1867, 30 & 31 Vict., c. 3 (U.K.) § 91(27), reprinted in R.S.C. 1985, app. 11, no. 5), the establishment and management of hospitals are under the exclusive jurisdiction of provincial legislatures (id. § 92(7)). Thus the
Opposition to the Bill
There are doubts, however, as to the constitutionality of the proposed legislation, and some commentators even expect that the federal
In addition to the expected opposition to the bill by the federal
Prepared by Ashley Munro, Law Library Intern, under the supervision of Tariq Ahmad, Legal Research Analyst.
|Author:||Tariq Ahmad More by this author|
|Topic:||Death and dying More on this topic|
|Jurisdiction:||Canada More about this jurisdiction|
Search Legal News
Find legal news by topic, country, keyword, date, or author.
Global Legal Monitor RSS
Get the Global Legal Monitor delivered to your inbox. Sign up for RSS service.
The Global Legal Monitor is an online publication from the Law Library of Congress covering legal news and developments worldwide. It is updated frequently and draws on information from the Global Legal Information Network, official national legal publications, and reliable press sources. You can find previous news by searching the GLM.
Last updated: 06/25/2013