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The expansion of Assisted Death in Canada is Worrying for many

After long years of debates, discussions, and delays, the government of Canada released a new bill called C-7 in 2021. Bill C-7 has legalized assisted death for patients with incurable diseases or patients with irreversible comas. The Bill contained very detailed rules, but this Bill has some things that are worrying many rights groups and mental health advocates.

Worries have been increasing because as of March 17, 2023, the Bill will not only be available to patients with severe, incurable diseases, illnesses, or disabilities, the MAiD process (Medical Assistance in Dying) will be available to people that are struggling with mental illnesses. The allowance of people with mental illnesses to undergo MAID has been getting many mental health advocates and different rights groups quite concerned, and that’s because they believe that mental illnesses can be treated and that many patients with mental illnesses have shown improvement after undergoing therapy, psychological guidance and medications.

Looking at the statistics, Canada has many patients with mental illnesses. One in five Canadians experiences a mental illness. “By the time Canadians reach 40 years of age, 1 in 2 have – or have had – a mental illness.” so, in Canada, mental illness is considered a major social problem. “While mental illness, including addictions, has become more top of mind for the media and Canadians in general over the past few years, it’s fair to say that most people still don’t have a true understanding of just how big, arduous, and potentially damaging the crisis is—on both a societal and personal level. The numbers simply don’t lie.” said The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

Therefore, mental illness is a big struggle in Canada, so giving people with mental illnesses the option of death is quite concerning because as a group of professors from universities across Canada, including Professor Isabel Grant, Professor Archibald Kaiser, Professor Trudo Lemmens, and Professor Elizabeth A. Sheehy have said “Bill C-7 would give people with mental illness a legal impetus to see MAiD as a solution to socially inflicted suffering.” and they also mentioned that “The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and other experts point out there is no reliable standard for determining when mental illness is ‘irremediable.'”.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal has mentioned that “In a survey of consultant psychiatrists, most reported that they find assessment of decision-making capacity to be a challenging task, and training in capacity evaluations was seen as suboptimal.” Many opinions are discussed regarding this Bill. Some people support the idea, while others are against it. This topic has been around for many years, and no one’s hundred percent sure how the public will react after the addition to the Bill in March 2023.


Sources:

– Halla Alhamed, U Multicultural

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of U Multicultural.

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