Canadian Justice Minister David Lametti Thursday announced that the federal government will delay the expansion of its medical assistance in dying (MAID) law to patients suffering solely from mental illness. Enacted on March 17, 2021, Canada’s MAID law includes a temporary exclusion for patients whose only ailment is a mental illness. The exclusion was set to expire on March 23, 2023. However, Lametti said that in order to “move forward in a prudent way,” officials have decided to ask Parliament to delay the change while they consult with experts.The Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying (AMAD) released its first report in June and said, “more remains to be done to ensure that all necessary steps have been taken to be ready” by the scheduled deadline.The Expert Panel on MAID and Mental Illness expressed sustained concerns with medical professionals “establishing irremediability or incurabillity, assessing decision-making capacity of the requester, distinguishing patients who are suicidal from those making a rational and sustained request for MAID, and address the impact of structural vulnerabilities on the motivation to consider MAID.”Lametti did not announce a new date for the expansion but said the federal government will work with Parliament to draft the necessary legislation.

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